Compare/Contrast: My Mother and I

Since this is a thing I’ve been hearing about for a long time, I’d like to mull over the similarities and differences between my mother and I–the good and the bad. There’s some stuff I like and some stuff I really hate, but it all makes me who I am and I want to fully acknowledge as much of it as I can think of. The many times I’ve been derisively compared to her, it has been a completely incorrect correlation and I want to cover that stuff as well.

I’ll begin with the similarites–the things that make me miss her; the things that make me sad we can’t have a relationship; the things she taught me to do and to love.

Compare

We both have a love for Greek and Roman mythology. She would read to me from the Iliad when one of her classes was covering it.

We both have a love for language. I took French instead of Spanish in high school thanks to her influence. I still love French, though I haven’t been practising it much in previous years. I should get a bunch of French music and watch films en français… This general love for language and my interest in linguistics hasn’t abated since I stopped talking to her.

Seriously, I’m interested in learning Na’vi. Also, do not get me started on Christopher Paolini’s made-up languages unless you’re ready for some words. Lots of words.

We are both non-Christian, that I’m aware. I know she used to wear a pentagram pendant and she thoroughly enjoyed owning many versions of the Bible and taking classes like “The Bible as Literature”. Mixed messages, and I wasn’t into that stuff as much (or at least, not comfortable with talking about it publicly) when we still spoke.

I occasionally have incredible bursts of productive energy like my mom did, except hers were fueled by manic-depression. There are some things that I’m very picky about being orderly as well.

We both have promiscuous tendencies. I used to be really pissy and slut-shamey about her behaviour, and now identify as poly. (If not behaving that way, at least identifying.)

We both have mental illnesses, although I got mine from my dad and not her.

Contrast

Speaking of mental illnesses, I don’t let mine rule my life. My mother’s manic-depression is probably the most fundamental characteristic of her identity, at least in that she lets it influence all parts of her life and actions. I continue taking my pills when they make me feel better, and actually try not to let my illness dominate my life.

I will never get into physical fights with a partner. That shit is unacceptable and is something she got into many times. I will also never emotionally manipulate people, and will certainly not inflict any of those behaviours on children.

I intentionally avoid conflict wherever possible. This isn’t really the best alternative to flipping out at everything, but it’s a deeply ingrained behaviour and it stems from a fear of conflict and anger. I can’t stand it when someone is mad at me, and often go to great lengths to avoid those situations entirely. When they do happen, I mostly find myself silent or crying. There are few times when I’m the angry one, but I tend to keep that in and not say anything. (That, plus I generally feel bad/wrong at the end of an argument in which I was the angry one.)

I do not intentionally hurt people’s feelings. I go to great lengths to avoid causing people pain or discomfort, and will alter my behaviours to accommodate others. Often up to and beyond the point of actually having to sacrifice something for myself to achieve those ends.

So, those are the major ones. This has been sitting in the drafts folder for a really long time. I have no idea how long, but it’s been totally done so HERE IT IS.

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