“You talk too much,” my mother said, one arm on the steering wheel, the other holding the rim of the window. “People just aren’t interested.” Wind smeared hair in my face.
I did not realize how deeply her words sank in until I told a new therapist that I shouldn’t have told my stories. Though in college I nearly had a nervous breakdown trying to figure out how much to say to whom in a futile effort to honor my mother. I chose a graduate school where my poems about virginity were mocked. I copied lines until my writer’s block cracked enough for the next line. My therapist said, “You’re uneasy because you come from a silencing family.” I typed forty pages the next day.
But the silencing sank so deep I didn’t ask my aunt what she meant when she hinted at family stories that might have unlocked secrets that dogged me, the secrets worse than whatever stories the secrets covered. It sank so deep I had no bounce back when I sent out my poems and they met with rejection. Ironically, once I figured “You talk too much” was a lie, I stopped spilling my stories to any listening ear, from a child who cried too much, who played the victim, who needed her to say yet again how special I was. My mother just wanted some quiet.
I’m Katie Andraski and that’s my perspective.