When I was younger, I was just like everyone else. Everyone’s moms controlled them, picked their outfits, brushed their hair. We were all exactly what our moms wanted us to be, on the inside almost as much as on the outside. As we grew older other girls began making their own choices, but I was still a robot, unable to separate from my controller. They listened to the radio stations they wanted to listen to, wore the clothes they wanted to wear, and started to develop their own person. Most of all, they made vital life decisions on how to act. I stayed robotic, with my mother picking out my outfits, choosing what music and radio shows I listened to, small things like that. But it wasn’t only the small things. I remember in third grade I was having friend troubles, just little fights here and there, same as everyone else. When I told my mom, she gave me some advice, and just like a robot I followed that advice and proceeded to tell my three best friends that I could no longer be friends with them. They were great people and of course that didn’t last long but if they hadn’t been so forgiving then I might have really lost my closest friends! But even after that the robot still controlled me.
Throughout middle school I stayed robotic. I dated a couple boys and befriended people that my mother would have approved of. I got good grades and the classes that weren’t As or Bs I worked even harder and stayed after school for. I never talked back to teachers, even if they were rude to me. There was no “me”, there was only “Mini-her”.
By ninth grade I learned it was best to act nice in front of her, but I acted how I wanted when she left the room. I learned how to control my self so I looked like a robot on the outside, but I was a full on rebellion on the inside. I’d sit up straight, act normal. Remember my “Yes please”’s and “no thanks you”’s. It was weird because most people described their home a place to be themselves without a fear of judgement, when my home was just the opposite. When I’m home, I’m a scarecrow, and my mom is the farmer. Let me tell you just how uncomfortable that pole is.
Last summer, my mom made the worst mistake yet. She sent me away to camp for 5 weeks. The controller couldn’t connect to the robot from two hours away. I befriended this girl named Zara. She is a hippie from LA. She was so knowledgeable without being snobby about it. She offered different points of view and taught me not to judge so fast, or even at all. She helped me discover ‘me’ by asking me simple questions on my views. We sometimes disagreed but we would try to look at things from the others point of view. She had a strong opinion and she looked at things simply, but absolutely; things are either right or wrong, black or white.
I came home that summer with a different look on life and a newfound love for The Beatles. My mom thought that something was wrong with me. Again she tried to reason herself out of the blame; lack of sleep, not used to parental control, she continuously said “give it some time and she’ll be back to normal”. But what she doesn’t know is that I will never go back to “normal”.
I kept in touch with Zara through letters and began to incite mini-revolutions against my mother. I bought black combat boots, studded jeans and spiked necklaces. I began to wear dark black eyeliner. I continuously hung out with my gang of friends from last year. I continued to discover myself in many ways; what music I liked, my hobbies, my beliefs. I got really into painting, mostly on canvases. I was now a full on rebel, and I was just about to win the war.
Then one day I told my mom that I was on my way to go hang out with the gang. Instead of the usual “okay” I got an “Umm, I’m not sure you can hang out with them anymore.”
I felt like I was flat lining. One long, lifeless beep. My rebel-self had been too focused on the little battles I was winning to notice that my mother was preparing to strike a final blow.
The fight that followed was intense. It ended with me being banned from sleepovers, banned from the boys of the gang, and my mother looking at other schools for me to go to. She said that she didn’t like the influence that these boys were having on me. But it’s too late now. I am no longer and will never once again be the robot. This war is still going on and I know that there can be no real winner. But I also know who I am now. I’m no longer “mini-Cathy”, I’m Lex. I listen to and respect my mother, but I cannot let her control me forever. I will not follow her on this subject, this time. I may get moved to another school, I may not have the freedom I used to have, but I am no longer a robot, and that alone makes it worthwhile.