She stands in 50’s clothes
With one roast chicken, whole,
Balanced in her hands,
Her head just tilted to one side,
Questioning the look I have
Plastered on my face.
It’s far from natural, this change in mood,
From dark and cloudy
To a perfect housewife with
A beaming perma-smile.
I just watched Revolutionary Road with Kate Winslet and Leonardo Di Caprio. There was a scene in it where they have had a massive fight and the two of them are in a huge emotional mess. But when the morning comes, Leo’s character comes downstairs and she just asks him how he wants his eggs for breakfast.
She is perfectly made up and calm and the model 1950’s housewife. It’s really quite creepy, but I think that it felt more so, for me, because it reminded me so much of my mother.
Whenever she fell out with one of us she would disappear or not talk to us for weeks and then one day we would come down to breakfast and everything would be back to normal. She wouldn’t talk about what had been wrong and we were expected to just play along.
Normally I was too frightened to ask what had happened, so I would just not talk about it either. It was the most unhealthy way to deal with problems, but I went along with it out of fear.
Later in life, when I finally went to therapy I would speak about those moments and I would refer to them as ‘roast chicken moments’. They were the moments when mum would return to being a Stepford wife and we’d just pretend that it was fine.
Watching the film reminded me of this and it brought me chills. It was made worse because I think we’re meant to think that it’s unnatural and yet I felt like that kind of behaviour was normal until I was well into my thirties.
It got even worse because *spoiler alert* she ends up killing herself and that was always what I was terrified of when my mum would disappear. I was so worried that she would die and everyone at the funeral would tell me how bad I was because my mother had killed herself because of me.
Now that’s so dark, I think I’d better leave it there. I suppose I should be thankful that I at least now know that it’s definitely not normal!