“The next three years were a constant blur of me fighting to earn one word of praise or respect from her pinched and disapproving lips. Those words never came or, when they did, they were conditional: “You’re such a pretty girl, but you need to lose weight.” “You’re so smart! Why didn’t you ever do anything with yourself?” “You’d be a great catch for the right guy, if you weren’t so damn picky.” Each time she offered the carrot, I trotted after it. Like one of Pavlov’s dogs, I salivated – silently hoping, maybe this time, the condition wouldn’t be attached. But I was always disappointed.
On my 18th birthday, I left. My mother, forever playing the victim, will tell you that I ran away again and left her in a financial bind; but in my mind, I wasn’t running from anything more than I was running to. I didn’t want to be like her. I needed to find out who I was and the only way I could do that was by removing myself from her influence. I wanted so much to find my place, somewhere I felt comfortable and held no ghosts to haunt me – a fresh start. So, I hopped on a plane at Logan Airport bound for San Francisco – just as far away as I could get from the emotional death-grip she had on me – and I never looked back.“