My mother’s coat

It’s just a damn coat

A white, grey trimmed rain coat

And yet, this flimsy piece of fabric holds so much over me.

It was my mother’s coat.

My mother dearest.

The biggest bully in my life.

As an act of charity she passed it on to me.

This coat I watched her looming figure in, over the red rocks.

The coat that has the hood that darkened her face to add to her disappointed glare.

This damn coat that somehow didn’t make it to the fire.

The fire I burned when I was told I was not allowed at her funeral.

In the end, no matter how much I served and supported, I was still judged and rejected.

All because I stood up for myself, and refused to sweep it all away.

The practical side of me couldn’t ignore how valuable the coat was.

The penny pincher she taught me to be.

This damn coat screams at me, ‘YOU WERE NEVER GOOD ENOUGH!’

It shows how I couldn’t fit in, couldn’t fit the mould she gave me to fill.

It was her shape of things, not mine.

Finally I found a replacement, and I no longer need it.

This new coat will never force me to think of her.

To try not to look so much like her when I had to wear it to weather the storm.

I do not need her solution to the weather in my life.

I finally realize, I am not her.

I can get rid of this unwanted mantle, and shrug it off.

I found something better to protect me that doesn’t come with terms and conditions.

I can throw away the last thing I have that she ever touched.

And it comforts me knowing that as my skin sheds there will be parts of me she never touched.

And despite feeling guilty, I feel relief and peace thinking about these facts.

I remind myself there will be better things than the hand-me-down problems of my past.

Luckily everything material is replaceable.

And…

After all…

It’s just a damn coat.

*************************************************************************************

I have to be honest and make it known that these aren’t my own words. But I had to share them. The person who wrote them doesn’t have a blog and these words need to be shared with the world. As I read this for the first time I felt chills, because I too had a coat. It was navy, and heavy (literally). Long after I left home I used this coat to brave the elements I had to face while walking to work because I had no money to pay for transport. This damn thing was so thick and heavy but was really good at soaking up all the rain and keeping me relatively dry underneath. But the symbolic nature of the coat was just so overwhelming.

It belonged to HER, and here I was wearing it.

It belonged to HER, and it used to wear me down with the sheer weight of the water it would collect on the long journey to work and back.

It felt too much like home.

And home for me was a scary place.

Eventually I moved on from the crummy place I lived at, and like almost all of the “moving on incidents”, I left in quite a hurry and left the coat plus a few other things behind. But as I sat there thinking of the things I left behind and whether I needed them, I decided that whatever didn’t make it with me on the first trip obviously wasn’t crucial.

And so I let go of the weight of her expectations. While it might seem silly to most, I know many people who will fully understand what that coat meant and what letting go of it meant.

While most people with loving families fight over their parents possessions when they die, I couldn’t be happier to get rid of every single thing she ever bought me. The feeling of slowly replacing everything I owned with everyone I bought for MYSELF, with no strings attached was honestly the best feeling in the world.

If you have a ‘coat’, I hope you have the courage to let it go and be free.

*Initial words written by Rachel L.

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