My friend and I took the train into Chicago on Sunday to see Giselle on Sunday performed by the American Ballet Theater at the Auditorium Theatre in Chicago.
My mother got me interested in seeing ballets when I was 6 years old. The Nutcracker performed by the Joffrey Ballet at Arie Crown in McCormick Place was the first ballet I ever saw. I was immediately entranced. I still see at least one ballet every year nearly 25 years later. Almost all of the ballets I’ve seen have been with my mom with the exception of the time I was away at college. This Sunday was different: my mom and I saw the same ballet but we sat 5 rows apart and the only time we spoke was in a public restroom at Macy’s Department Store.
I’ve written in other blog posts that, as a child, teenager and young adult, my mom used to be my best friend and in recent years I’ve become estranged from both her and my dad. I love my parents but I feel much better when I’m not around them for multiple reasons. Something happened right before Christmas and I decided it was time to detox and take some time away from my parents. I haven’t seen them since before Christmas at which time my mother was yelling at me over trying to give their dog a bone. It is as ridiculous as it sounds. The detox from them was the best thing I could’ve done for myself.
Part of me was shocked to see my mom this Sunday because I hadn’t seen her in several months. However I knew it was a possibility that I might see her given that she and I always saw the last ballet of the two week run on Sunday at 2pm, always took the same train into the city and always used the public bathroom at Macy’s after we got off the train. The run-in in the bathroom was short and awkward. It was like getting a shot in the arm: quick with a little bit of a pinch and then it’s over quicker than it began. She said hi to my friend and told us to have a nice day and then walked out. After she left, I started crying and my friend hugged me because she understood my pain.
My mom was with me all day: she took the same train into Chicago, saw the same ballet I saw and sat 5 rows down from us, she walked back the same way we did to the train station and took the same train ride home yet the only time she actually talked to me was in the bathroom.
After being taunted by my mother’s coldness all day I realized that the detox had done me some good. Even though she was pretty much everywhere we went, she had a nice day alone and I had a nice day with my friend. The detox has put me in a better frame of mind. I pulled myself out of the negative environment that my parents create and surrounded myself with a more positive crowd of people. I have a very hard time handling rejection from my mother and I get paranoid when she picks at me about anything from the clothes I’m wearing to my weight to my life choices. She and my dad are both very critical people. By only speaking to her less than a minute that day, I realized she wasn’t going to have the chance to pick at me and I never had the chance to get upset about it.
I’m grateful to my parents because they gave me life and there are times, like Sunday, when I miss the relationship I used to have with my mother. I also realized though that getting away from them or a bit let me grow and flourish on my own. It gave me a chance to develop some new friendships with people that don’t judge me all the time and pursue interests that I’d like to pursue just because I want to. That’s one of the perks about being an adult!
The only time I cried was in the bathroom when my running buddy hugged me. That’s a big step for me. My mother not wanting to spend the day with me, before the detox, is something that normally would’ve crushed me and ruined my entire day. The coldness that she showed me in the bathroom would’ve been something that would’ve had me in tears on and off all day and was something that I would’ve normally let ruin my day. But not this time. I wasn’t going to let her have that satisfaction of doing that to me. And I wasn’t going to do that to myself.
Being in a different frame of mind and looking at the picture from a different perspective was the best thing I could’ve done for myself.