I Look Like Her

I do not look like my mother.

But ask anyone else and they would disagree with me. Oh my God! You look exactly like her, they say…. I’ve tried, but I have never seen my mother in the mirror……………….. And I have many mirrors. Truthfully, I’ve always fancied myself my father’s daughter……………… both in appearance and overall disposition. However, in recent years, I’ve come to the conclusion that as far as disposition is concerned, I am neither parent.

I march to the beat of my own drummer………….. my temper is neither his nor his, maybe a blend of the two…………….. My coping mechanisms are much different. My approach to problems, vastly different. My view of the world…………….. different.

My sense of humor is neither his nor his……………. In fact, as sad is this may sound, I don’t recall either parent ever making me laugh out loud. I don’t remember much joking going on at all in our house. That might explain why I overcompensate in the humor department………………. I like to laugh, and I have a pretty loud laugh.

Just ask anyone who knows me.

Physically, I always thought I was my father. Big lips, brown hair……………….. wide feet.

It actually bothers me when people remind me that I look like my mom. I have no idea why, I almost find it irksome………….. I don’t look like her, I think to myself when people make the comparison…………… I can’t really explain where this contempt stems from, except to say that I’ve sort of always viewed my mother as weak. Fragile. Never one to take risks or follow her heart. Never one to pursue her dreams. She is dying now and I know that she never accomplished one of her goals……………………… She would always say, “I should have gotten my degree, so I could teach Spanish…” or “If I had started working on my degree when we lived in Iowa, I’d be done with it by now…” My mom had earned her college degree……………….. in Ecuador. She needed to take more classes in order to teach here in the U.S. She never realized that dream. I suppose there was always something…………………. isn’t that how life operates? There’s always something to keep you from doing what you want to do……………………. Instead of going to college, she taught privately at night to school teachers here in Phoenix who needed to learn Spanish and worked as a school secretary. I don’t think she was especially happy about her lot — she always seemed anxious or nervous; she was a hypochondriac. There was always something when it came to her health…………. maybe she knew all along that something was wrong……………….. nobody would have figured out, not until she was too far along to do anything (if anything were an option) about it.

I don’t know what my mother was like before she met my dad……………………. I have a photograph of her from when she lived in Louisiana (was she this world traveller? Is that where my itch to see the world came from?) and on the back she had written a note professing her love………………….. to another man. After living in Louisiana, she moved to New York City (like mother, like daughter I suppose) where she worked as a secretary. I have no idea why she went to Gotham………… all I know is that she lived in Corona………… a neighborhood in Queens that is still popular with the Ecuadorians. Someone in Corona probably knew my mother……………. what she was like, what she aspired to do and be………………….. my mother’s past is shrouded in mystery. I don’t even think my own dad knows that much about it……………………

I suppose it is because I don’t know her………… I don’t see the resemblance. We’ve always been different she and I…………… I often wondered if she thought she had done something wrong in raising me………………… why is she like that? 

It doesn’t matter because it doesn’t anymore.

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