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Mother and Child: First Toxic Relationship

No. 036

Size: 13" By 19"

Printed on Beautiful Archival Acid-Free Watercolor Paper


Mother and Child: First Toxic Relationship

Even though the relationship with my mother was my first toxic relationship and, as a teenager, I was angry at her for never giving me a birthday party and telling me that I was ugly and stupid and teaching me not to like myself for being Puerto Rican and female, I realize that poverty and a lack of education had much to do with this. Leaving Puerto Rico for New York City, where she faced discrimination and had a hard time speaking the English language, and with a husband that verbally and physically abused her, I saw that my mother must have been bitter and felt hopeless. I saw that my mother was a child raising six children in New York City, where it's generally tough for even those that are very well-educated and wealthy. Now, when I talk to my mother on the telephone, we have a reverse role of mother and child. I tell her about my accomplishments and how I have struggled and achieved and I can hear in her voice that she's excited and proud. At other times, I tell her that my struggle is becoming difficult and I feel like giving up and she becomes sad and tells me how she had a dream where she saw me as a well-known artist and that I looked beautiful in her dream. This is her way of telling me that she loves me and not to give up. I realize that my success is her fairy tale ending to the hard life that she has led.

Soraida Martinez 1993

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