WE ARE Narcissus

I have tried to write my story many times and have never been able to get far. I always go over my words again and again, editing and polishing and getting caught in the obsessive intricateness of arranging lyrical phrases. I am hoping that writing this online and posting as I go will keep me pressing forward.


5. About The Cover Image

 the following are emails sent from my mom to me and from me to my mom during the year that i was eighteen, while i was living in a college dorm. i have omitted correspondence between the first and second emails from my mom. we made small talk from september to november, which would not be very interesting to read. this chapter has no opening photo because it doesn't need one.


Thursday, September 22, 2011 2:16 AM

  Hi Courtney, 



It seems you aren't interested in communicating, but it makes me wonder what you will do for vacations. Do you have a plan?  It feels like we are completely cut off so I am wondering if that's how you really want it. Let me know or I will assume the worst. 


Brittany left for Spain this morning.  She was definitely stressing out and getting cold feet about her adventurous plan, but she went and hopefully she will enjoy it once she gets settled. 


Aunt Alejandra had surgery yesterday on her ovary. She dropped all her classes so she could take it easy and recover.  I think she is doing okay. 


I wanted to let you know that someone got our credit card number and was charging thousands of dollars to our account so USAA cancelled the account. Your card from us won't work, it will get declined if you try to use it. They are giving us a new account and new cards. I don't know if this is a problem for you or not since I know nothing about your life. 


Dad is very hurt/angry that we haven't gotten even an email hi. 


I hope you are happy and things are going well. I pray for you every day. 


 Love, Mom 


Wednesday, November 23, 2011 2:11 AM



Hi Courtney. Aunt Julie called me today. She called like a hundred times and was really worried about you. She seems to want me to do something, but I told her you cut me out of your life and there is nothing I can do because I am completely shut out. I feel like you are still living this crazy don't tell my mom or she will be mad at me and somehow ruin my life. I look back over my relationship with you and feel like I spent 18 years giving so I don't get it. When have I ever been mad at you. The only time I can think of is when you asked me to pay for your dress and all your accessories and you promised me you wouldn't be drinking and I went out of my way to make sure you had everything as you wanted and then you drank and told lots of people how great it was and not to tell your mom and it got around to a mess and I destroyed relationships because I refused not to trust you. I wouldn't be human if I wasn't a little upset. How have I so badly ruined your life? I think I will never understand.


Anyway, don't think that I am sitting here imagining that everything is going great so as long as you keep me in the dark about your eating disorder, and your roomate kicking you out, and your tatoo ...... as long as I am in the dark I will just keep paying your tuition. I am not an idiot and never will be. If anything I am assuming things are worse than they are. Sometimes I just pray that you aren't a skeleton, dying alone on the street. I pray for you all the time. I have to cover my pain and hurt by imagining our relationship someday in heaven. So many people at Church ask me about you and they look at me like I'm insane when I say that I don't know because she doesn't talk to me anymore. It's funny -- I think of you most often everyday when I am listening to Shelby. She still tells me all the random stuff no one else will listen to even for a second and I listen as hard as I can and I think about you.....


You cutting me out of your life is not hiding anything and it is not protecting you from some horrible thing you think I will do to ruin your life. It is alienating you from your family and forcing me not to be able to help you in any way. It is forcing me to be a mother who abandoned her daughter. The choice is yours so I have to accept it. I can tell Aunt Julie can't understand why I won't try to fix your whole life for you. She has only young children so she thinks moms can make all the decisions. It's funny that she thinks that while I know that an 18 year old who wants nothing to do with me is not someone I can help and yet you tell her all your woes and shut me out. She is the type of person you are so afraid of that would make your decisions for you. I have never been that person.  I don't know what glasses you see me through. I will never understand -- never. I told her today that when children turn 18 all you can do is offer to help if they want you and pray a lot alone when they don't.  She doesn't get it. I listened to what she had to say and told her I would pray harder for you. She was frustrated.


I hold on to this --- I know that absolute truth --- I am one of the only people on the planet who would give my life for you without hesitating a second. I get absolutely nothing from you except to be treated like a worthless pain in the neck who can't even know you because I might hurt you if I did.  At least I know that you help me to know that I can love unconditionally. Actually I have several kids who help me in that department.


I feel sad that your college experience has been painful, but  I am proud of how hard you are working to hold it together even if I don't get to know about any of it.


Ashley turned 21 and Alex turned 16.  Big moments going on around here. You wouldn't believe Jamie. She doesn't crawl anymore. She is learning a lot about obedience and she seems a little happier each day. God put a few special babies in my life to help me when I had to face a mountain of teenage sorrow. Stephanie and Jamie are really sweet.They keep me going.


To all the people who ask me what you are doing for Thanksgiving I say -- I have no idea. For all the people who ask where you are going to live over Christmas vacation -- same answer. How would I know.


Thanks for making me feel as low as humanly possible. It feels great to be treated like this...


Love, Mom


Wednesday, November 30, 2011 1:49 AM



I want to let you know that I forwarded your letter to Dad. He is sad that we never hear from you and that you don't seem to love us. Now that I know that I have been the entire destructive force in your life I just want him to know so he can make sense out of everything and so the two of you can have a relationship without me if you both desire. I definitely don't want to stand in between you two.

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