Just Like Me

“Remember she may share very similar traits with you, but she is not you.”

Told by a friend, these words moved me unexpectedly physically as it did emotionally. I felt the muscles in my shoulders stiffen immediately and defensively, my throat narrow as I tried to swallow the emotions that were arising within me. It was denial at first, then guilt. My vision blurred as my eyes felt damp. I allowed myself to take a deep conscious breath. I nodded and lowered my face. I felt ashamed.

Struggling to process these feelings alongside an assault of images like a flashback scene in a movie. How did she know? Why did she say that? What does this mean? What can I do differently? What have I done? I am so sorry. I feel awful. I feel sad. I feel like I’ve failed. I should change. I want to change. I want to be more aware. I need to be. I need to keep myself in check. I will start today. I am sorry, I did not realise. How could I not have realised?

It felt like exhausting hours passing in mere minutes. I was relieved to be interrupted hearing her reassuring words “It’s ok. She’s fine. And you will be too.” She smiled and I absorbed the kindness in her eyes. I welcomed another deep breath.

I could hear voices entering my head again. The chatter of self-disappointment, berating commentary. I straightened my slumped posture and energetically pushed the negativity aside. I opened my eyes with a new resolve, strengthened by trust. Encouraged by my friend’s courage to be honest with me. My dear friend was a messenger, a reminder that struck me hard.

This aspect of my relationship with my daughter continues to be one of my constant challenges. I instinctively make assumptions about my child’s actions, reactions, motivations and intentions. I assume she knows certain things. I do not always take the time to labour my explanations. Perhaps, I even speak to her the least. I dare not calculate. I cut her off when she starts her sentences or wants to explain how she feels with a dismissive comment that implies “I know.” I expect a lot from her. As I do of myself.

I drive her hard without always compensating with softness. I get annoyed when she displays certain traits, because it reminds me of the parts of me I struggle to accept.

While she bears the curse of being most like me, my inspiration is to set her free.

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3 thoughts on “Just Like Me

  1. Valerie says:

    Oh, this one hit home!!!! No truer words have been spoken- thank you x
    I have been feeling this for a long time- time to start listening and being open and responsive, not dismissive and hard, not so driven without the softness and not so frustrated at her 9 year old antics- thinking she should be acting more mature
    Thank you for your honesty and the beautiful way you seek to find strength in yourself and inspire others to be true to themselves xx

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