Yes, It’s True: You Are Becoming Your Mother

It’s moments like this that made me realize I was undeniably and wholeheartedly becoming my mother.

I am 16 years old standing outside a Starbucks in a snooty town with people who, for the most part, I wouldn’t call my friends.

One girl is bragging about the 20-something-year-old trainer at her gym that totally wants to take her to dinner. Everyone’s virgin eyes glow with boy-crazy admiration, though I am already more than sure she is lying.

A man approaches us with a smile and his hands in his pockets.

“How are you ladies doing tonight?” Most of the group chuckles and repositions their legs and arms to seem cooler than they are.

The gym vixen responds in a too-high voice that we’re “just chillin.”

The stranger then asks, “Do any of you girls have a phone I can borrow? I’m trying to find my girlfriend, but my phone is dead.”

 

  Illustration and feature illustration by Angie Barry.

Illustration and feature illustration by Angie Barry.

Suddenly everyone is silent and seemingly no longer flattered by the guy’s presence.

I roll my eyes and decide to lend him my phone, as I’m the only one without a smartphone and with an indifference towards his Depp-esque jaw line.

“You can use mine,” I say, “as long as you don’t run away with it!”

I say it in a startling tone, facetious enough so he doesn’t think I’m fully accusing him of creeping or intended theft but also serious to the point that he knows I’m not a fucking idiot who actually trusts his intentions are what he says they are.

“I won’t!” he says with a charming smile.

He takes my phone from my hand and pretends to sprint down the sidewalk.

Unfortunately for him, I’d already punched his heart with the heel of my hand before he could even get a full stride away.

He rubs his chest awkwardly while he calls his girlfriend, who actually showed up a few minutes later. When he reassures me, “Whoa, I was just kidding,” I simply reply, “uh-huh,” without the slightest crack of a smile.

I was not amused, though the girls I was with were equally horrified and in awe.

It’s moments like this that made me realize I was undeniably and wholeheartedly becoming my mother.

I started seeing signs of my transformation in late teenhood: newfound fascinations with Stevie Nicks and David Bowie, comfort in having a limited number of friends and a complete lack of patience for stupidity.

At the beginning of my adolescence, being even remotely similar to my mother — let alone her replica — was a petrifying thought.

I did my absolute best to be everything she hated and hate everything she loved at all times. From boyfriends to music to attitude, I made a sincere effort to be unlike my mother in every way. And if she tried to set me straight or prove me wrong, I found a reason to invalidate her.

“Ugh please, mango smoothies from Panera are not a waste of money.”

“You hate my boyfriend? Well you’re a feminazi, Mom, of course you hate my boyfriend.”

“Of course you don’t trust me; you don’t trust anyone and that’s why all of your friends are in Texas or made up.”

“Sorry, Mom, my boob hickies are none of your business.”

Yep, that was a bad one.

Lo and behold, she was typically right about everything. Panera smoothies are tragically overpriced. Feminism and man-hating are not interchangeable. Most people can’t be trusted. Boob hickies are always a mom’s business when her daughter is 15 and an asshole.

I’ve spent most of my young adulthood apologizing and regretting how nasty and dumb I was; I wasted so much time trying to prevent the inevitable.

My mother wasn’t perfect and definitely contributed to our rocky relationship for a long time. Nevertheless, the longer I’m alive the more similar I realize we are — and that’s no longer something I dread to admit.

For instance, both our wardrobes consist almost entirely of black and gray clothes, we share a hatred of celebrity gossip and people who don’t know how to cross the street properly, and have no patience for cutesy group activities.

When a customer mistreats me at one of my multiple jobs, I need to stifle my inner mother circa-1988, a Bronx-born cosmetics store manager who threw a lipstick at a rude guest while yelling, “Drop dead!”

When a severely misguided stranger hits on my mother, I am the first to receive a text message of the exchange. She always wins.

My mother lives on in me through my road rage, potty mouth and soft spot for pets and potato chips. Perhaps those similarities were always present and they’re what caused so many rifts between us in the past.

But I’ve matured and since learned to be open to what makes my mom my mom. Just a few weeks ago she ranted violently to me about a woman on Facebook who pokes her every single day, even though she never pokes her back. I’m at a point where I attribute this to my mom being hilarious rather than an antisocial freak. And honestly, I’d probably hate that woman, too.

I’ve come to empathize with my mother so much that I can understand her obsessive privacy. My mother has two Facebook accounts, both of which do not use her real name because she doesn’t want people she doesn’t like to be able to find her. One account is for my sister and me to be friends with, while the other is for the rest of the world, most likely to showcase pictures revealing her secret life of partying and debauchery.

Like, understand this, please: my mother has literally denied friend requests from her daughters and created a whole other account to keep us quiet.

But instead of telling her she’s crazy, I let her do her — much like she lets me do me.

Once I stopped resisting my fate, I was able to laugh along with her stories instead of criticize them, share ideas instead of trying to prove her opinions wrong and make both of our lives easier and more connected.

So here’s my advice to others who are struggling with accepting the inevitable truth that they are unavoidably going to become their mothers: take every one of her “I told you so” moments with grace.

Do that long enough and your mom will accept your friend request on both of her Facebooks.

Maybe.