Hi, I don’t use my birth name anymore so just call me “Socially Awkward” and it’ll be fine. I’m so happy to share some of my experiences here at ASMB. (Adult Survivors of Mother Bloggers) Clearly anyone who had a mother with a Mommy Blog knows the joys and pitfalls affiliated with the fad that almost broke the internet at the turn of the new century. I have returned to life outside the cave I found so comforting and am here to tell my story. Starting up this support group truly freed me to be me, and to accept my mother’s difficult choices. I am one of the lucky ones.
Mom and I have worked through most of our stuff and are rebuilding our relationship every day. She’s even allowed unsupervised visits with her grandchildren now. As long as she turns in all cell phones, cameras, pads, laptops and recording devices before passing through a metal detector. The fact that she is willing to change because of the court order is huge.
Now that I too have become a writer, I have great sympathy for how difficult it is to produce good work on a regular basis. It can be daunting. So I understand why my mother did whatever it took to be successful in her trade. She rose to fame in a field so competitive, it is a story of triumph like no other. She truly did what she had to do, to separate herself from the pack.
Some of her stories weren’t all that uncommon. Walking in on my parents having sex was somewhat traumatic, but not unusual. It was such an innocent mistake…following that trail of Reese’s Pieces to the cracked door of their bedroom with a full bag in sight just beyond my reach. I was so young I didn’t think it even had any impact until the featured movie at a friend’s sleepover was E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial and I ran vomiting from the room during the iconic Reese’s scene. What a disgusting movie. Who would show that to a bunch of kids? What kind of parents did they have?
While it is still unclear how my head ended up in a shit-filled toilet, or how Mom had her camera ready in that harrowing moment, I was okay when it went viral. I’d never seen Mom happier. She even took me to McDonald’s and didn’t pull out her cell phone for a picture once. As it turns out, I still love having my head shaved and prefer wearing it that way to this very day. In fact, I never feel like it is quite short enough. I love a clean-shaven head so much, sometimes I make my scalp bleed. I am a little OCD, but that’s perfectly normal. Everybody has their little quirks. So what if I use bleach instead of shampoo?
But the moment that really defined Mom’s career, was the video of me sucking on a used tampon. She was giddy with how fast that one shot around the world. You would think it would eventually fade into obscurity, but I guess a classic is a classic. I didn’t mind changing schools every other year, and I don’t really need tomato juice or tea. Life is quite sublime without either of those revolting drinks. If a person orders one in my presence, I simply excuse myself and empty the contents of my stomach in the restroom. More room for lunch, I always say!
And I really didn’t mind Mom dressing me up as Miley Cyrus for my kindergarten Halloween party. I just wish she had found a nude bodysuit for me instead of having to actually sit naked on a silver Pilate’s ball. I’m from the Midwest, and it is cold in late October. A sheepskin saddle would have helped. But apparently that really got her blog traffic up, so I can be proud. And I did get a signed picture from Jared Fogle out of that post, so it wasn’t all bad. The irony of both a wrecking ball and her being connected to my life went completely unnoticed.
I knew she was under a great deal of pressure. It wasn’t easy blogging in an overly-crowded, fiercely competitive arena. Traffic and numbers meant everything. That’s why I knew she didn’t mean to hurt my feelings when another blogger’s kid-quote ended up winning a weekly shout out to funny moms, and my mom slapped me hard across the face, screaming, “Why can’t YOU say shit like that?” Sometimes working moms crack under pressure.
Or the time I ran home to show her I had just made the honor’s club, and might be in the running for class valedictorian, she smiled and said, “That’s great, honey. Now put on that goth crap I got you, cut yourself with the razor blade, and roll your eyes for the camera. I have a deadline to meet.” I knew she was proud of me, but there is nothing worse than writer’s block. She did what she had to do, and I was her palette. Some kids never get the attention I got. I was lucky she loved me enough to put me front and center on her blog.
If there is one life lesson to be had from all this, it is that a mother’s love can never be replaced. And I will always remember her for the love she shared with the world. I’m working on forgiveness, and that’s where my book comes in. Sharing what growing up with a Mommy Blogger was like for me, has been absolutely empowering. I love being able to return the favor for all the wonderful publicity Mom gave to me. Writers know it’s all about finding your voice, and I want mine to be the voice heard ‘round the world.
Thanks for making me who I am today, Mom. I love you and look forward to hitting the talk-show circuit to share the love…just as you worked so hard to share with such unparalleled success.