I live with a maniac.
She also plays the piano, has a lovely laugh, will find the cure to cancer one day, and makes the world smile when she smiles. She is a sweet and kind and smart and talented person, but a maniacal one, nonetheless. I'm not sure what to do about her. I'm not even sure if I should do anything about her at all...
My mother is the type of woman who is predictably unpredictable. By this, I mean that it is no surprise to me or my father or my brothers when she transforms. Yes, that's right, transforms. Like a werewolf, kind of, but not really like a werewolf at all. She can go from sweet, joking, and playful directly to the kind of disaster that is a massive hurricane on a small oak sapling at the sight of a misplaced sock or a drop of disrespect.
But her transformations, though drastic, do not occur suddenly. (This is one reason why she really is not like a werewolf) They occur gradually, allowing the people surrounding her to take cover and prepare for the storm ahead.
It starts with a flicker of displeasure. "Why don't you put your plate away when you're done eating, Mary?" The flame rises as these sentences of unhappiness string together to form lines and lines of headache-inducing droning of complaints to herself. "I'm itchy!" "You'd better put that away because I know that you weren't planning on doing it on your own." "Without me you'd be nothing!" "This house is a mess!" "FIND MY GLASSES FOR ME!"The sentences become more confusingly foggy and self-contradictory as she begins to lose her sanity and fall into the nightmare that is Hurricane Joy.
The roaring fire of what we others in the family refer to as a "rampage" is awful. The hurricane whirls through the house in a loud, obnoxious mess of negativity and insults in no particular direction to no person in particular. It spews hatred and not a spot of the previous love can be found. At this point, it is not surprising to hear words such as "Go to Hell!" spoken with indignation found nowhere else, as she cleans the house. You would think that at this level of intense concentration and focus on the task of cleaning the house, that things would at least look neater after the rampage finished. However, most times, the room she leaves looks not much different- sometimes worse- than when she first arrived.
But this is not the worst of it. Oh no, there is one more level left.
Full blown hurricane.
This is when she begins to bang on doors, scream with no regards to the time, and order people around as though it, no, is NOT midnight. In addition, she may take it upon herself to tear people's souls apart. For example. I have but two- plus one new one- three friends. My mother feels it is appropriate to tell me that every one of them is sleaze, scum, and a bad influence. She takes it upon herself to inform me that I have become an awful, lazy, disrespectful daughter. That I deserve to die and burn in Hell. That she's never buying me any of those clothes that I never asked for. That I'm hiding things on my phone. That I am stupid, that I am dependent, and that I am NOT going to my friend's house for that party. That party she speaks of is a figment of her imagination. Needless to say, she is psychopathic.
I don't know why it bothers me that she says these things to me. I know that she is mentally afflicted. I know that not a word she says is true. I bring back nothing but high marks in school. I work and study all day, every day for the sole purpose of pleasing her and my father. I am kind, and I take precious time out of my day to spend with my family as my grades slip, forcing me to study late into the wee hours of the morning to compensate. I know that my friends are all of faith. I know that they are not perfect, but I know that they are kind, respectful, and are not sleaze. I know that I never asked for new clothes, or a new anything, for that matter. And I know that I am not hiding anything on my phone.
Maybe it bothers me because she's my mother. Because she's supposed to love me. Because she says she does, but an hour later she yells at me that she hates me.
It makes me cry. It makes me cry a lot. I'm not sure why.. I don't know why her approval matters to me. I know that she isn't in her right mind when she's a hurricane. I know that despite her enormous pride and that she will never apologize for what she's said in the past, that she doesn't mean what she says. I should just try to please myself. But somehow, it isn't enough. Over the years, I learned to control the retorts and the smart comebacks. They only feed the flames. But sometimes it's too difficult for me to hold in, and they all spill out. God tests me, and I fail. Miserably.
I want her to love me, I want her to care! I want her to love my friends as much as I do! I want her to realize that I never ask for anything or burden her with any of my problems because I know she crashes under the weight of her so-called problems and becomes the monster that I hate. The monster that I hate so very much. She doesn't know this. She thinks I'm just that piece of trash who talks trash to her sick mother. Except, very much like a werewolf, she forgets this when she isn't transformed. I don't even know if they're the same person- Hurricane Joy and my loving mother Joy. When the hurricanes hit, it's like a demon has taken my mother's heart and infected it with the worst disease of the heart. It makes her change. But does she change? That can't be the same, sweet mother of mine. Is it? I doubt she even knows herself.
It's amazing how much I care that this woman should care about me. For the simple reason that she is my mother, I care about her approval of me. When she's a hurricane, I know it will never come.
When the hurricane dies and my mother returns, I smile and feel relieved. I wipe away the pain and forget that I deserve to die. I forget that my friends are pieces of dried dung and I forget that she hates me. I wash my face and go to her and be my respectful self again. I don't know why; I get five minutes of love, zero minutes of apology, and a second of a breath of relief as I hug her soft body and try to forget. Try to forget for a moment, that I'm just waiting for the next hurricane to begin all over again.