When I was an infant, my mother leaned over my crib while I was sleeping and held a mirror under my nose to see if I was breathing. If she didn’t detect nasal fog, she’d pinch me until I cried. When I was a toddler we lived in Boulder, Colorado. My mommy liked to dress me up like a mini Mae West – complete with false eyelashes, acrylic nails and lipstick.
My perfect blonde hair was shellacked with enough Aquanet to destroy what was left of the ozone layer. I looked like a cracked-out-midget-drag queen. She’d parade me around in trailer trash baby beauty pageants like a sideshow freak.
When we lived in a beautiful home in Brentwood, I found out that I was adopted. What a relief! I was ecstatic that my rage-aholic, movie star mom wasn’t my birth mother. We weren’t a family – we were a publicity stunt. Mommie Dearest used to storm into my room, in the dead of night, screaming like a banshee. Her face was smothered in a thick mask of cold cream. With her shoulder pads and giant red lips, she was a tranny Kabuki shrew-witch.
“No wire hangers in the closets!” she’d bellow. Then she’d rip my beautiful dresses out of the closet and beat me. I thought she was rehearsing to be in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, but she wasn’t, because it was the 1940s and that play wasn’t written until 1962. Mommie Dearest was always getting her thong in a knot. But I knew I’d get my revenge someday and when I grew-up, I wrote a tell-all book and Faye Dunaway played her in the movie. Take that, Mildred Pierce.
When Hitler invaded Poland the Gestapo rounded us up and shoved us in a train bound for Auschwitz. I was so scared, but at least I was with my brother and my mother (who looked like a young Meryl Streep). My first train trip turned out to be my last. I still can’t believe that my own mother handed me over to the Nazis instead of my brother because he was a brat. I will never, ever, EVER forgive her for making that lousy choice. She could never make up he mind. Father would say, “Sophie, what’ll it be? Spaetzel or sauerkraut?” and she’d say, “Spaetzel… No, sauerkraut! No, spaetzel! Never mind, I’ll have egg salad.” By the end of the war Mother was a bona fide nutbucket, even though she still looked like Meryl Streep with bad caps.
By the time I was a teenager, she was a brand new kind of crazy and was getting her Jesus Freak on – 24/7. She was convinced that I was The Evil Spawn of Satan because I had awesome telekinetic powers. It was cool, except the kids at my high school treated me like I had herpes. Even John Travolta was a douche. And Steven Spielberg’s and Brian DePalma’s future ex-wives were total C. U. Next Tuesdays. Mama was always locking me in my prayer closet – like that’s normal. All Moms lock their daughters in a prayer closet, right? Actually, it was the only time I got a little peace and quiet. My life sucked. When I got my period for the first time in the shower in the girls’ locker room I thought: WTF??? Was I a hemophiliac? I thought maybe it was a stigmata punishment for praying to the Holy Virgin Mother to become an orphan. OM Jesus G. It was like having a brain hemorrhage out of my vagina. And at the prom, when they dumped pig’s blood on me? – I snapped. I’ll never forget what I wrote in my Gratitude Journal that night — nothing.
When we lived in Mexico, we spoke Spanish with subtitles and Mama said, “Tita, the only reason you were born was so you could take care of me for the rest of my life. Now go make like water for chocolate.” I still have no idea what that means. I was not allowed to have a boyfriend, or get married while she was alive. I had to do all the cooking plus breastfeed my sisters’ baby. That’s not even biologically possible. I was on this Earth to be everybody’s bitch. My food was magic, but so what? I had to wait forever for my mother to die and to finally lose my virginity. I would have preferred to spend my life in the bedroom, not in the kitchen. By the time I got married, my husband was so old, he had a heart attack and died on our wedding night.
I will never forgive her for ruining my Sweet 16. She was drunk, as usual, and danced bare-assed in front of my friends. I’m not kidding! She was giving the boys and girls lap dances. She is a full-blown Narcissist and attention whore and though sometimes I sort of love her, I really hate her. No wonder I do drugs and have my own parking space at rehab.
So, in case you have a Mom who was hung-over the day they handed-out the angel wings – don’t feel bad. Maybe your mom was never on time to pick you up. Maybe she flirted with your boyfriends. Maybe she called you and your sister “The Slut Sisters of Beverly Hills.” There will always be worse Moms than your mom. There are worse things than your mom telling you that, “You have lousy taste in men.” Or, “Do something about your hair.” Or, “don’t walk like a duck.” Or, “that top makes you look pregnant.” And you tell her, “Mom, I am pregnant and my due date’s next Wednesday.”
Look at the bright side. You could have a Mom who handed you over to the Nazis, or locked you in a prayer closet, or told the authorities that you were stolen by wild dingoes. And who wants a Mom like that? Daughters don’t torture their moms – because that’s a mother’s job. Sons murder their moms – because it’s man’s work. It’s time to celebrate the woman who gave you life and made you the woman you are today. And remember – someday, you’ll be able to write a book about your mom and there’s nothing she can do about it – except give all her jewelry, including your grandma’s diamond bracelet, to the maid.