This first line in This Be The Verse, a famous poem by Philip Larkin.
An ex boyfriend of mine exposed me to this work after a discussion about having children. Those were the heady days when I didn’t have any intention of having children. They were the days when I thought I couldn’t have children and I’d accepted this as fact.
That wasn’t the case and now I have three. Three lovely horrors I get to fuck up in new and interesting ways. Three cute monsters who are already showing symptoms of my issues.
I grew up thinking that it was my parents’ divorce which had made me the stupid, pathetic shell I was during my childhood. I was the kid always willing to lie down and play the victim. I was that snotty kid crying in the corner. That one they all hated. The easy target.
I’m bitter about the waste. I wasted what should have been the best years of my life by burdening myself with everything. I missed out on so much because I was sensitive and ashamed of myself.
I thought it was a combined effort, until I heard myself repeating things I’d heard growing up. Things that I realised had cut me. These words my mum spoke were dangerous knives, and I caught myself saying them to my daughter.
I don’t like people saying horrible things about Mum. She did the best she could for us. It was hard for her so when I think about the things that hurt me, I think about what I did to deserve them.
There are moments when I was horrible to everyone. Mum won’t let me forget them. The shame wants me to forget, but I can’t. It’s not her fault, though, it’s all mine.
And me saying those things to L?
That’s my fault too.
They fuck you up, your mum and dad.