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Sisterhood Struggles Part 2: Sometimes I feel like a Motherless Child

By Felicia Clark

Sometimes I feel like a motherless child…
Sometimes I feel like a motherless child…
Sometimes I feel like a motherless child…
A long way from home, a long way from home…
As I listen to Odetta belt out those heavy, soulful lyrics, I am suddenly catapulted into a plethora of emotions...memories. Forcing me to not only sympathize with her but also understand. I understand the sadness, confusion, the feeling of being lost and lonesomeness that comes from being a long way from home...away from your mother.

Although I live near her, I feel so very far from my mother. I often yearn to be close to her. You want to know what’s odd? I feel this way even though I may be in the same room. I look at her...to her and see myself. But, does she see the same? Why doesn’t she see the same? These are questions that have asked myself over the years. I often feel as though I’ve fallen short of the grace of my mother. Even in the times I have my idea of what her expectations would be for me, she still seems not to notice.

She does notice when I talk back; defending myself from the insults that she tends to hurl effortlessly. But at the same time, she has my back one hundred percent. If anyone dared to harm me, whether it be physically or mentally...without hesitation she is there. Once she’s done counseling, defending and mending, she attempts to scold and correct.

For the most part, no matter what, daughters are forever. We never stray too far away from our mothers, even if we don't feel seen in the relationship.

It is my thought that, for this reason, daughters are often taken for granted by mistake. In the sense where a lot of mothers don’t mean to harm, but are causing harm. For example, the way in which daughters are spoken to, with regimented distinction. The way that we are expected to be poised, dutiful, calm, chaste, intelligent, courageous and but certainly not sassy. The way that we are supposed to have a relationship of trust with our mother, but we are most definitely are not FRIENDS with our mothers. Michelle Obama years ago bravely identified this. She said, " We love our boys, and we raise our daughters". Why do we do this?

As a teen, I remember my curfew was 7:30 PM, at 16 years old I was required to be in the home and in bed by 9 PM. My brother, who was 4 years younger, had to be in by 9 pm. The reason? He was a boy. It was also understood that as a girl I was required to help cook, clean, and manage the household, which was not the same for my brother.  

Maybe the toughness is due to some kind of fear that mothers have. Wanting our daughters to be self sufficient. To not struggle and hurt like some of us did. So we hold on, engulf them even if it’s toxic. We remember the mistakes we made, but not the hurt and anger that was felt when it was done to us by our very own mothers...damage recreated. And for us that remember, we somehow don’t recognize the connection. Leaving a trail of motherless children. So, yes I feel ya, Odetta. My mother and I feel ya.

Comments

  1. Interesting consolation for those who feel the same way. My thoughts on this are growing up, I always wanted to please my parents in anyways necessary. My biological unit of siblings grew up with my mother's sister children. Being that my mother unselfishly wrapped her arms around the two unconditionally raising them as her own. I didn't understand why my mother effortlessly gained custody of her niece and nephew. All the while it was out of pure love for them to have stability experiencing a two-parent household. As time had gone by, I began to feel neglected, emotional, selfish because I wondered to myself if pertinent circumstances would've been different if it was just the 3 of us children. I tried gravitating more towards my mother in a sense of believing don't forget about me, mom. Admittedly she said she pushed me away not wanting me to become too attached. Her reason for this was in case a dire situation had occurred I wouldn't be strong enough to cope with it. The word hunger can mean the painful sensation caused by the want of food or a strong desire or craving. That was me in a nutshell. I never suffered from malnutrition only I feel like a Motherless Child.

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