(the misadventures of an expatriate corporate dropout)

Thursday, February 5, 2009

is this every woman's destiny?

how ironic. another twisted little surprise that the universe bestows upon us.

there I was. sat in the coiffeuse' swiveling chair. I had just returned from a nice relaxing shampoo, rinse, condition and a luxurious head massage. she twirled me around as she adjusted the towel and there, staring back at me in the mirror was ...

my mother.

what THE fuck? no, this wasn't some strange hallucination where I was visited by maternal guilt and had some sort of flashback of my mother, lecturing me like the evil stepmother in Snow White.

nor was it one of those odd occasions where we are up close, examining each facet and feature for a line ... a flaw ... a change, while we hear our mothers' voice in our heads (see I TOLD you to start with the face cream in your 20s...).

no. this was a horrendously surreal, out-of-body experience where I gazed upon my very own reflection and did not recognize myself. No, instead I saw my mother's visage looking back at me. I did a few Patty Duke exercises (she smiles a like, she frowns alike) ... and I swear to fucking christ I did NOT see myself in the mirror. I saw my mother. It was horrible. just horrible I tell you. This realization lasted at least 2 or 3 minutes as I sat there, speechless ... eyeing the stranger before me.

Growing up, in my family of mostly women my mother was the pretty one. Long blond hair, blue eyes, and a very petite frame ... she was a looker. In fact, my mother ALWAYS had a better figure than me.

Except for a few years here and there, she was always slimmer. and more put together. Granted, my face didn't scare children or anything. But I was always more round. Which altered the shape and look of my face. No one ever said (as many do about mothers/daughters) "she looks JUST like her mother!". Always felt a bit competitive when we went barhopping together (a whole OTHER blog post there) and inevitably seemed to be competing for the same guy. (I know ... weird, huh?!) but anyway. Given this, one would think that staring into the mirror and seeing her face wouldn't necessarily seem a bad thing.

But of course. It wasn't her young face. It was her 40something face. Not a horrible face. But... a face that could lead me down the path of her face now. which of course is quite a bit further down the road past 40. the fact that we're estranged (my choice) and now I have to see her ghost in the mirror ain't helping things either.

Or the fact that, like many women, I have spent more years than I care to mention SWEARING I would NEVER turn into my mother. And yet. apparently I have. or I will. despite all of my careful efforts.

I have always screened myself for tell-tale signs. The sound of my laugh. (is it like hers?) Phrases and mannerisms. Little pet annoyances and habits that betray my lineage. Upon detecting them, I launch my counter-campaign to attack and destroy all evidence.

But how can I attack and destroy my changed looks? I attribute this new discovery to my recent weight loss, which has apparently peeled away my cloak of secrecy and exposed me for what I am. my mother's daughter.

I know this post is somewhat humorous. amusing, even. But I am truly distraught.


JouJou Loves You said...

Okay...seriously..I do not mean to laugh....but I have to admit I did belly rolls to this post. You are too funny!!!

It sounds like being your 'mother's daughter' isn't so bad ;)

softinthehead said...

I could really relate to this post, like you was always a bit more round than my mother who was to put in mildly "a bit of a dolly bird" in the 70's when I was in my late teens early 20's and I constantly heard the refrain, OMG you could be sisters. Very galling!! However, nowadays I see my dad in the mirror more than my mum LOL and everyone says my dad, my brothers and I have taken on the same mannerisms and expressions which is weird as my parents divorced when I was in my early teens and I didn't spend a lot of time with him. I guess the genes will always tell. Great post :)

La Framéricaine said...

Don't panic, Baby!

So far, you're just at the acknowledgment stage. You have recently shed some psychic and physical weight; you're in a very vulnerable position of being at a fucking French hair salon for chrissakes (I can't even go in an American one without getting the hives.); and you're having a visual sighting of the Ghost of Mother Past.

However, I am here to reassure you. You are NOT her. You are a grown, experienced, unique woman and mother in your own right, who just happens to share some never-to-be-denied DNA with la mère.

The mind and heart inform the visage, the smile, the gait through space and yours are quintessentially your very own.

Enjoy the pampering, the new do, and have some French wine, cheese, and friendship to remind you that you are not just a doppleganger for an important woman in your life.

We must talk later, when we are both safely in France, about the competition for the same men, the bar-hopping, etc. I know I'll be able to keep up with, if not surpass, your mother stories!!!;>D


Michelle said...

the fact that we're estranged (my choice) and now I have to see her ghost in the mirror ain't helping things either.

Spooky! Are you me some sort of off kilter, parallel life?

I also see mine occasionally in one of my daughters (the one who, until recently has been the 'troublesome one').Seeing THAT face was very destabilising at times, I tell you!

Non Je Ne Regrette Rien said...

joujou~ you mock my irritation?! well, okay ... it probably serves me right.

softinthehead~can't fight mother nature. sigh. ;P

laF~can't wait for that talk ...

michelle~the life of a woman is a strange and miraculous ride, isn't it?

Non Je Ne Regrette Rien said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Felicity said...

What is it with french hair salons. Soooooooo identify with that moment. Heartstopping. Definitely needed to give myself a serious talking to about being my own person after that. Now I just worry about whether her dementia is as hereditary as her face and mannerisms - ho hum

Mrs C said...

Happily, I look nothing like my mother. It would freak me out if I did because the last time I saw her, I could see that time was being unkind with her.

And given your estrangement and the one I'm currently nurturing with my own mother, I can understand why this would upset you so.

No. Thankfully, I look like my dad. I sometimes look at myself and see his ghost. If he has one.

Dude, my wv is 'puslity'. I'm trying to decide what that could possibly mean.

Rigsby said...

The answer to the question is of course, No!
From a coaching viewpoint you should concentrate your thoughts on what you want and avoid giving any thought room to what you do not want. The brain doesn’t compute the don’t in our self-talk. i.e. it would read “I don’t want to become my mother” into “I want to become like my mother”

Anonymous said...

I think I've come to terms with it, after 23 years, one should have come to terms with it, right? But so many of my peers just don't get it. How could you not have a relationship with your mother who is still alive? It's for my own mental health I say. As a child I had no choice, as an adult I did. I chose with no regrets to haunt me. But, like you, fear becoming her and check for signs, bite my tongue, put money away for therapy or college for my daughter, whichever is the more critical need. Because I know I can't escape it completely. Perhaps it takes a bit longer for the true damage to be undone? I get your angst, I truly do.

Randal Graves said...

You're going to look a bit like your mom. It's genetic. Doesn't mean you are her. I look like my pop but he's a goddamn hardcore wingnut and I'm a commie pinko bastard. En plus, it's not like you're unattractive, duh, so revel in the Incredibly Shrunken Ass of you as your own person.

Too Stuart Smalley?

Jackie said...

I do the same thing sometimes. Sucks, doesn't it?

Non Je Ne Regrette Rien said...

felicity~god I hope DNA isn't all inclusive!

mrs c~ gross! i wish we could invent our OWN word verifiers...mine would be much sexier! lol. thanks for the support!

yes, dear rigsby, but of course you are spot on. back in the box it goes.

anon~my decision was also a positive step for me, although you are right that few see such a thing as positive. I do and therefore good for you! if we don't watch out for us, who will? for some of us, it certainly won't be our parents. and I have no regrets. but now, a few nightmares (given the sudden turn of events with my visage!) thanks for sharing your common experience...I can tell you truly understood where I was coming from.

rg~not one bit too SS. merci bien, mon ami!

jackie~major suckage. oui.

Riana Lagarde said...

hey hope you are feeling better after the "sighting." i hate it when i hear my mothers voice coming out my mouth especially at my daughter. grrr. make.it.stop.

Hill Country Hippie said...

I had the exact same experience, right around my 40th birthday, also at a hair salon. I immediately got contact lenses, changed my hair color, and let it grow out way past any length my mom would ever be caught dead wearing!

Anonymous said...

you are both beautiful, and bama loves you, and so do I! xo johnelle

Anonymous said...

Might be time you rang her maybe.


Anonymous said...

"I did a few Patty Duke exercises (she smiles a like, she frowns alike)"

Not a bad line.