Send Me A Savior
Oprah had my mom's attention every weekday at 4pm. This powerful woman, who seemed to rise out of nowhere with the message that anything was possible, became my beacon of hope as day after day she brought healing and change to ordinary lives. To me, she felt like the closest thing to God and I desperately needed God or Oprah's help. I spent many moments as a child hiding on my hands and knees begging God to let me die. It was one of the many secrets I held, I wanted out through death or a savior but either way I couldn't stand living with my mother anymore. Years passed and Oprah never did come to the door with a vision board outlining her plan to adopt me and God didn't take my life. I kept my secret and my family's secrets for years until I moved away to college and the silence started to eat away at me like rust on a car.
It was evident, based on our library of self help books, that my mother knew something was wrong. I remember her many therapists and the different medications but nothing seemed to stick and in fact she seemed to get worse year after year. Her emotions were completely unregulated and we were at her mercy. I heard whispers from members of my family that she might have Borderline Personality Disorder but no one was willing to say it out loud or do anything about it. In my twenties, having moved over 1000 miles away to New York City, I was beyond weary of her on again/off again relationship to her illness. The last straw was when she called me after trying AA for a week. She had decided it wasn't for her and that she could manage on her own. I could have written the script on this one but the hope always overshadowed what I knew in my heart to be true. She wasn't going to get better and this time, somehow I knew it. I was done. I hung up the phone and almost 14 years later, I haven't spoken to her since.
A few years after ending my relationship to my mother, I still believed that Oprah could somehow save me. I wrote a letter to her show asking them to do a story on Borderline parents. I was desperate for someone to start a conversation about this disorder and its effect on families. BPD was still widely misunderstood and my childhood felt like a bad dream that no one would believe. I was looking for validation and for an advocate but as it turned out, O magazine had already done a small piece on BPD. They wrote me a nice letter explaining that because of this, they weren't planning to do a show on it anytime soon. I was deflated and felt so stupid and naive for believing that Oprah or anyone at her show would see my letter and find it important enough to rally the cause. It was then that I realized I was never going to be "saved" from my mother and I had better get started saving myself.