Day -16: I have been a living a lie.

Yeah, you read it right – my life is a lie. 

 

No one ever wants to wake up in the morning to find out their entire life is an intricate web of deceit. Well, that’s not true. I’m sure there are those – like drug dealers and fresh graduates buried under a pile of student loans, that wish they could start their day learning that they in fact are meant to inherit millions from a Nigerian prince. 

 

Sadly, in my case, I did not discover that my mother is in fact the Queen of England.

Instead, she decided to drop the mother of all bombs on me. 

Image

Allow me to paint a vivid picture of my childhood. 

Remember that student in school who always sat in the front and wrote copious colour coded notes? The one always buried in a book and didn’t learn how to shave her legs till she was 14? The quiet one easily persuaded to “help” her “friends” write their 12 page term papers on rocks? 

That – my friends – was me, a mere bi-product of the purposeful love making between an accomplished engineer genius and brilliant doctor. 

They should have just made me in a test tube. 

I was the genetic progeny of Academic Gods. 

Or so I thought. 

 

I grew up in a household where mental math was a game played over dinner and my achievements were marked in numerical values only to be analyzed when I was very, very good – for fun of course. 

 

Studying was to be done between the hours of 4am to 6:45 am – strategically designed for when the child brain was most absorbent for abundant knowledge overdose. 

And I did it, I committed to academia, because I wanted to bask in the glow of being a super genius – just like my mom and dad. 

When I was a child, I was fondly told stories of how my parents were the picture of success – earning GPAs that were simply unheard of. Grades so astronomically and consistently high in every subject – that their teachers didn’t believe their eyes. 

When the truth was that I shouldn’t have believed my ears. 

 

A few days ago, my mother took me out for donuts. 

Donuts – which I can no longer eat any more – so thank you mother for taking those away from me too. 

 

Coffee in hand, she turned to me, her gaze warm, and said, “You know honey, when I was young I was pretty sure I had A.D.D.”

Kaboom. 

Silence. 

I stared at her, no, I gaped at her, no, I glared at her. 

I slowly placed my donut back onto the table. 

“What?” I asked, drawing out each sound from the word. My tone was eerily hushed. 

“No mom, no, you didn’t.” A side note if I may, a parent that confesses having A.D.D. is eerily similar to one who comes out of the closet 30 years and three children into a marriage. One can’t help but wonder just how attention deficit could you be if your profession is DOCTOR – very much like how gay can you be if you had three kids.

“Yeah, I did have A.D.D. You know when I was in Middle School my grades were so low, my parents were so worried I wouldn’t get into med-school,” she says this humorously. Like I should laugh with her or something. 

I need a moment to take this in. 

What?

Is she trying to tell me what I think she’s telling me? 

Was I paying homage to false idols?

Is she trying to tell me that I wasted my designer labeled high school education at boarding school? 

Where instead of reciting Le Petit Prince in my perfect over pronounced French accent- I could have been smoking pot in the forest? 

Or instead of practicing pretend dissections in the library for study hall, I could have been having unprotected sex like everyone else? 

Does my mother realize what I missed out on? All those morning after pills, all that alcohol poisoning, and potential illicit student teacher relationships. 

We all know they happen Mrs. Robinson. 

 

My mom’s expression rapidly changed to one of concern. 

“Do you need your inhaler darling?” She asked innocently. 

I was rendered speechless. 

All those years I thought I wasn’t good enough, wasn’t smart enough, or didn’t score high enough – I was really within my genetical range of acceptable. Did I even dare do the mental math of how many days, hours and minutes I could have wasted doing something mindless – like – I don’t know – whatever people do in their free time when they aren’t trying to achieve academic dominance. 

But then – she used the super power all mother’s encompass.

“I just want you to know that I am so proud of you.”

And just like that, I couldn’t be mad at her anymore. 

Because the truth is – I wouldn’t change a thing. 

No, that’s a lie. I would have changed a lot. 

But I still love you mommy. 

 

Sweet Dreams World. 

 

 

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115 replies

  1. This was so much fun that I think I’ll celebrate by focusing on just one thing today. I don’t know what that one thing is, nor do I know how long it will take to sort through the countless things in my head to find the object of said focus. Just know I’ll try…and visit here again.

  2. You are brilliant. I empathize as both mother and daughter. I worked hard in school. Needed more time. Excelled at most things not math or physics. My daughter now struggles…. borderline ADD… she knows it, throws in the towel sometimes b/c of it. Gets the same grades whether its in regular or advanced classes… and unlike the rest of the still hasn’t found her passion. You can not know how releasing it is for me to read the inside of a daughters mind to know her mother was not perfect, her mother may not have achieved things the way she thought. THANK YOU, Renee

  3. And then there’s young MIss Robinson chasing after old Mr. Teacher, aka my best friend since our teen years in the 1980s who married our social studies teacher. They got divorced within five years, but their son is now a history professor.

    There’s my slight non-sequitur for the day. 🙂

  4. OMG! I totally thought you were about to find out you were adopted! I was actually working out how to help you when I fast forwarded to the ADD! I don’t think there is a person in the world that doesn’t suffer from something! So enjoy your smart mother, enjoy your smart father, and if that’s the worst thing that you hear in your life ( other than we’re moving to Saudi Arabia) consider yourself blessed!

  5. Beautiful, truly, you have great parents who constantly took care of you and made sure that you took the hard way so that your future can be fruitful. God bless

  6. nicely done, no matter how hard, if there’s good to remember, we seem to always keep it in our hearts for our parents, they do the best they can, and there’s no parenting manual. Well done, It made me smile, and be sad for a moment 🙂

  7. I have had a few regrets but never for working hard. We just have to have some fun along the way.

  8. This is why I burned my report cards when I left home. 🙂
    Loved the revelations and your reactions. Thanks for visiting my blog.

  9. Thank you for sharing your touching story. Thank you also for visiting my blog. 🙂

  10. Thank you for liking my blog post! I suppose you can relate, in a way, as a child striving for academic excellence (and beyond). My parents were not quite so academic, although close, but excellence was considered the only option in our household. At times it was a lot of pressure, and at other times it felt like an honor to never doubt your own intelligence. I was raised to believe that I was smarter than most people, and that can be a boost to one’s confidence. It also made me terrified of failure, but that’s a blog post for another day. Awesome blog, you’re a new favorite of mine! Thanks again!

  11. Your writing is very deep and made me want to read on and on to see what your mother was going to tell you and there it was. Life explained over a donut moment. I appreciate your willingness to accept this as they are, realize moms aren’t perfect but they are our moms and love us. So happy you stopped by our blog or we might have missed out on such great stories like yours. Keep writing. It’s definitely a gift. hank you also for staying connected to our online beauty store posts.

  12. I often feel the same way about my youth, but what’s done is done. Sadly. Depressingly. Ugh.

  13. Gosh, you freaked me out at the start, I thought you were going to say you found out you were adopted and I became very worried for you! Wow, I’m speechless, this was so well written! Thankyou for stopping by my blog and leading me here 🙂

  14. I enjoyed this bit a lot! I can relate to a good amount of, in my case, real or imagined pressure to be amazingly talented, always told I was gifted and going to do great things. I so wanted to please my parents that I just was the student you described. Then in high school I found out my mom smoked a lot in her younger years, and that neither one would care if I drank underage on occasion, responsibly of course. WHAT???? In my significantly sheltered world, that blew my mind, and was a turning point for starting to see my parents as just a pair of humans too. Thanks for stopping by my blog! Glad it led me to yours.

  15. Thanks for visiting my blog, so glad I clicked on yours. Funny, funny. Great story. I can imagine the story my 15-year-old will tell now that I have told her my sister and I have different fathers. And that I have never met mine. I did not purposely tell her that story, she caught me off guard. So kudos to your mother.

  16. You are an amazing writer! You can really bring out emotions in your writing style. I think you bare a genius! :). Congratulations on a brilliantly written post!

  17. Isn’t it fun wehen we find out our parents aren’t perfect after all? …And somewhat vindicated in a way. Awesome article!

  18. Great article. I’m a sucker for the build up of a great story. I’m launching a project that will be showcasing fellow entrepreneurs and creatives, and would love to interview you for a piece. Shoot me an email at natashatemmanuel@gmail.com if you’re interested. And thanks for the view. I’m always looking to connect with creative thinkers like yourself.

  19. This reminds me of a conversation I had with a friend over the weekend. We were discussing the difficulty that my oldest son has, finding friends who are, kind of, “on his level.” “Oh, he’ll find someone,” she said. “After all, we were both smart kids once right?” I just had to laugh…I still don’t feel as intelligent as he is some days 😉

  20. That girl you described at the beginning was sooo me. 🙂

  21. Just have to smile at the way we jump to a conclusions as readers and actors in life. Play on! And thanks for stopping by my blog today. Your friendly astro-numerologist…

  22. Thanks for liking my post. And I just loved the way you churned out every single word to make your readers go on reading and reading… Great work! keep it up! And yes, its such a (hugely) great feeling, when your parents tell you that they are proud of you! Even if its about you being able to properly tie your shoe’s laces as a kid! 🙂 Good Luck 🙂

  23. thank you for your likey likey Shareen…greatly appreciated….keep smiling, writing, reading and eating cake!!!

  24. Brilliant but oft underacheiving (ADD)— that mental math being more interesting than life wayyyy too often.

  25. THIS was great reading for me, thoughtful and insightful writing for you! You sucked me right in and I hung on every word!

  26. I love this post too. EEKing

  27. Well … ultimately, your actions live up to only your expectations, and not really your mom’s. So whether you were smoking pot or achieving academic dominance, – and while I know people perceive you much differently depending on which choice you choose – and that changes your life – ultimately, it’s whether you’re happy with your life. Recently, I’ve been wondering if I should just do all the illicit things instead of going to this job xD Even though I really love my job

  28. I love your writing – honest, straight forward and very interesting! And everyone can relate to what you write about. Excellent! 🙂

  29. You write beautifully and are very amusing. I do hope it’s tongue in cheek and you’re not taking yourself seriously. Best from Charmaine Romance/Suspense author

  30. I read your blog its so good and captavating 🙂

  31. I completly understand how you feel.

  32. Holy crap you could read Le Petit Prince – I went to a school that taught French at an early age too – I unfortunately thought it not cool to speak with a proper accent so my prince sounded more like a ‘lee pet it’ prince … BTW, I am soooo impressed by the number of comments and likes you have over here – what gives?? Are you bribing the French to stop by 🙂 JK, but really … how’d you do it??

  33. First time here. I learned a lot about you in one visit. That’s good honest writing in my opinion. My mum told me I was shit and worthless every day of my life until I was sixteen when I stormed out and preferred to be homeless and starving. I can do honest too, so I appreciate it when I see it. 🙂 Good piece.

  34. no, you haven’t been living a lie; the life is a lie when something wakes you up to the scaringly probable fact that you might be delusional… I had to. Although my parents never forced me to study but I myself looked at them and found myself little nothing. My dad’s an electrical engineer with a naturally hight mental acumen and insane determination, and my Mum is M.Phil in economics–a very quiet, very very deep lady who loves grey and its shades. I am electronics engineer who happens to love mathematics more than an engineer is allowed to. And I consider myself delusional ’cause my plans are yet in plans…. But the journey is the reward.. so, you shouldn’t regret a second of your childhood.. smoking pot and unprotected sex would never have allowed you realize that life can be a lie….

  35. Good story. Your mom over came a handicap and achieved her goals. Great job mom!

  36. Oh My Word! Your Writing is PHENOMINAL!

  37. baring your soul drew me in – I laughed in places – and held my breath to find out —-you were adopted! but no, the big reveal was one of those things that rocks our world and gives us a new glimpse of the people in it. Good writing. Thanks for visiting my blog – it led me to yours!

  38. Being from a family riddled with learning disabilities, I’m always surprised when somebody is shocked or offput by an ADD diagnosis. While ADD is difficult to shoehorn into the school system, it also offers energy, creativity and drive. Coping mechanisms can be taught, and in serious situations there is drug therapy. However I’m convinced that the reason it is a problem is because our classroom protocol just doesn’t fit the way kids are built. Really, since when were kids supposed to sit at a desk for six hours a day? (Look deep into our evolutionary past, do you see a school desk?) Your mom clearly compensated and is a success. I don’t think people grow out of ADD. If they’re lucky, and have support with it, they grow into it.

  39. This is awesome!! Your writing is so refreshingly grammatically sound. Hard to find on the internet. I guess it’s all that early morning brain bootcamp. Haha. Hilarious.

  40. Thanks for finding my blog. You’re a wonderful writer and I look forward to reading more!

  41. nice tribute to parents in a very witty and humorous way. two thumbs up.

  42. I found your story, so incredible to read. I love peeking into other peoples lives.
    It is funny…how one persons perceived hardship, can be anothers regret. My mother was concerned only with maintaining outward appearances; lastest wallpaper design, the right sofa, the most fashionable shoes etc. I was never even taken to a museum or offered any form of academia as a child at the hand of my parents. I assumed, until adulthood, that I lacked intelligence, I was unable to form an opinion, and didn’t realise my percieved personality disharmony was just shear bloody boredom! Whilst I don’t envy the 4:00am (argh!) starts I think your mum was awesome in helping to equip you! I was one of the ‘in’ crowd at school. Now I envy the ‘nerds/geeks’ as they are all inventors, CEO’s or floating around in space or investigating a kelp farm. They are changing the world and get to experience the magic/majesty in the real world.
    oh that grass so green….

  43. very nice, i love the humor in it even while conveying a very heartfelt moment in your life. and ty for visiting my blog

  44. And you could also say that you are the living of your parents as I am sure you are. Expectations are funny really. What we expect of ourselves and what we think is expected or us. Be proud.

  45. Mums, what can you do but love them?

  46. You have such a way with words, always makes me smile…

  47. Hi Shareen, Just love the way you write. Do keep sharing what’s buzzing between those two ears. Man love it. Best, Salil

  48. I smiled often while reading your very witty post. You also said the best thing any mom could hear at the very end, I love you! As a mom, i know that being loved “no matter what” is always of the upmost importance.
    I also thank you for liking my post, i look forward to reading more of yours.

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