My Own “Fallible Terms”

Yoni Tree, Fate and me

I leaned over putting my head closer to Jon and read him the quote from Sylvia Plath…“I have often fought, fought and won, not perfection, but an acceptance of myself as having a right to live on my own human, fallible terms.” 

We were sitting in the waiting room at Jon’s eye surgeons’ office this morning.  On the hour-long drive to Albany where his surgeon is I talked about how I feel myself getting stronger each day.  How I’m doing the interior work of freeing myself from the co-dependent and anxiety-ridden relationship with my mother.

She is not involved with the process.  It’s not the kind of thing she is interested in.  It’s work that I have to do on my own, and it comes with an awareness of my own issues around the relationship and changing my obsessive thoughts and with it my behavior.

The more I hold onto the idea that my life is my own to live as I choose the more I trust myself and the less I look to sources outside of me to affirm my beliefs.  Not the beliefs I was taught growing up, but beliefs that I have come to see as my own truth.

And I may be wrong, but I believe that it’s only when I truly understand and deal with my anxiety, co-dependence (the need to put my mother’s needs ahead of my own) and guilt (for not putting my need before hers) can I have any kind of real relationship with her.

I don’t know what that relationship would be like.

The only part of it I can imagine is that I engage in it as the person I have become and don’t fall back into the old habit of subsuming my true self to be the person I believe my mother wants me to be.  That I can live my life by my rules, without feeling guilt and obligation to live by hers.

I don’t want to hurt her, but I don’t want to hurt myself anymore either.

That’s the truth I heard in Plath’s words.  That acceptance of myself and my beliefs, not as someone who is always right, but as someone who is fighting to live on my own “fallible terms”.





8 thoughts on “My Own “Fallible Terms”

    1. Do you mean because of her suicide Jill? There is that, but she was also very thoughtful and articulate about her struggles and I feel I can learn from that.

  1. I don’t want to hurt her, but I don’t want to hurt myself anymore either.

    That sentence really struck a nerve with me. I, too, had a very contentious relationship with my mother, compounded by the fact I was an only child. Her death in 2014 felt as though a weight was finally lifted off of my mind. Isn’t that awful to read? Trying to be the perfect daughter takes its toll. For so long I wished for a relationship with sharing and understanding and compassion, but it wasn’t to be. I grieve, not necessarily for the loss of her being, but of the lost chance to have that special bond. I happy that you seem to have found a level ground.

    1. It’s awful in that it’s the truth, Deb, not in saying it. I know some people, who years after someone dies they’re still trying to get from the person what they couldn’t in life. It’s sad all around.

  2. Oh, Maria! This photo of you, Fate and the Tree, together with the sensitive inspiring words you have written, takes my breath away. How I thank you for this. Annie

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