As every woman I know, I have the type of relationship with my “motha” that makes me smile sardonically when speaking of her and roll my eyes back (far back enough to lose my contacts in my skull) when hearing other daughters bitch and moan. “My life had stood—a loaded gun,” wrote a suffragette nearly two centuries ago. I could easily misquote her, and on the topic of mother say: “My love had stood—a loaded gun.” (Want irony? Mother’s name does indeed translate to “Love” from Russian). Or I could accept that the trials and tribulations woven into my life by my mother’s hands (her hands: always baby-soft, manicured but with a grip) have made my life worthy of storytelling. Our three-decade long love story is one of an absurdist comedy, an exhausting epic, and a heartbreaking tragedy. She is my rock of Sisyphus. My Ariadne’s thread. My Pandora’s box. My cross. My heart. My very Love.
To this day, she sneaks into every character of my fiction whom I adore and despise equality. Every woman of tremendous beauty and charm that I think up (or fall in love with on a daily basis on the street) is—Mother. Before I am aware, I hear her roaring laughter in my pages, her passive-aggressive sigh and overly dramatic delivery. I see her flirtatious hair-flips and shoulder jerks, and the darting of her feline eyes. Her killer sexuality that makes men act like moronic children is not one I could’ve thought up as an author. As I age into my womanhood, I observe her lines come through on my face and hips, like a superimposed image. As I mature as an artist, I accept that she is the main source of my inspiration and work—the very point of it all; and the sooner I surrender to that, the sooner my art will flourish. Mother: had not only granted me my life—she granted me my livelihood.
All this—is just a prelude, my comrades. A little 101 on my Love.
The other day, with mother on a speaker phone in my car, I had to pull off the road; for this rambunctious, loud, dangerously charming woman had me in tears from her bit on dating. Regardless never having read my blog, mother had decided to contribute. Nyet, nyet: More accurately, she demanded her own column! To this wisdom on her dating life as an older woman, I subject you, my readers; for you—as I—do not have a choice to avoid my “motha.” (Although I do wish, you could hear these words for yourself, heavily laced with a Russian accent, directly out of the woman’s gorgeous mouth—and you’d lose your shit as well):
I. “The second you call a man your “baby”—he starts shitting his pant.” Mother was never a nurturing type of woman, as I have learned in my own childhood. She is sort of like Stalin when it comes to love: The more they fear you—the better they love you. It is understandable then that she never catered to her man; and one certain way to make my mother retract her affection or watch her phenomenal hips sway side to side as she walks away and leaves your ass for good—is to act needy. Herein lies the lesson for the mankind: Unless sick or on your deathbed, don’t let a woman see your weakness!
II. More on that topic: “I am not mothering another human being—unless it comes out of my vagina.” In my childhood, my mother had reiterated a few times that I had stolen all of her love. Her love was very tough, but apparently—it was love. Anyway: No man, she said, including my father, could ever claim her heart—for it already belonged to me. Although I have yet to experience my own motherhood, I agree with this unforgiving philosophy: A child should always remain a parent’s priority. Add to that the priority of nurturing and perfecting the self, and I predict that when a mother, my hands will be full. However, this is not a single-edged sword because I will demand the same from my man: When raising a child together, grant most of your love to our offspring—and take care of your own shit (for I have neither the time nor the patience to do it for you).
III. “It’s too late to be switching to mineral water—when your liver is falling out.” Like mother like daughter, I too possess high expectations when it comes to my man’s health. However, my opinion had to be developed with time; and as my last love story proves, I should’ve listened to my mother sooner. Unlike hers, my belief has little to do with the man’s appearance though, but everything—with his longevity for the sake of our children (and consequentially, for the sake of our partnership): One’s health is one’s own responsibility.
IV. Finally, because mother was never the one to beat around the bush, here is the best summary of her high dating standards: “If he gave me a tub of borscht in wartime, I still wouldn’t fuck him.” Clearly, authentically and to the point—that’s the gist of mom. I wish I could think this shit up on my own, my comrades, but because I can’t, live and learn from the woman: Do not lower your expectations, for if you do—you alone will suffer the consequences.
She is good, ain’t she? But as I have learned for myself, mother is good in small doses. So, process these four bits of enlightenment for now, my comrades; and start jonesing for her return.
(P.S.: Mom! If you’re reading this, don’t call me with your edits! I’ll call you.)