Marijoinlah & My Mother – A Daughter’s Story


A Marijoinlah Moment With My Mother


It’s 8:30am, I’m still half-asleep, I can smell the scrambled eggs my mother is making. There are about 8 of us sleeping all around the small but comfy cabin – my boyfriend and I are on the balcony, right next to the makeshift kitchen. I peep inside to see who else is awake to find my mother’s best friend rolling a fat one and my heart drops. Last night’s fuzzy details came rushing back to memory as I shift my glance from my mother, unaware and minding her eggs, to Aunty Lang blissfully grinding and tapping the good stuff not 5 feet away from my mom. Well… – FUCK.

The night before, my boyfriend and I had a cheeky lil’ smoke when we thought everyone had already gone to bed. As we were passing the fat one back and forth , Aunty Lang plopped down next to us with a sly grin and pulled out her stash  pouch. Without missing a beat, I extended my roll-up and she took a drag. We exchanged a knowing glance and an understanding was established. Somehow, over the course of our session, she came up with a plan for me to come out to my mother the next morning.

So that is where we are now, the morning after. At this juncture, I am going to delve a bit into the unconventional, sometimes dysfunctional but mostly loving and supportive dynamic of my family. Without giving too many specific details – imagine a liberal, open minded, no curfew-no rules household but driven with values and encouragement to become the person you were meant to be. We’re pretty chillax, to say the least. My mother mentions Marijoinlah in passing – how she had friends who are connoisseurs, maybe she might have been a connoisseur herself in her younger days but nothing specific.

Back on the balcony, Aunty Lang passes me the roll-up and I nonchalantly take a drag – like it is the most normal thing to do on a Sunday morning. I can feel my mother’s eyes upon me, but I do not dare to match her gaze.

“What.The.Fuck Lang. WTF – WTF -WTF -WTF”

That was all she could blurt out. We burst out laughing on the floor. And it happened guys - I passed my mother our inaugural roll.

People ask me about this experience a lot and the answer to it remains true now – roughly 2 years from that day. Since then, my mother is a regular Marijoinlah buddy of mine – a special mother-daughter relationship that I realize is truly rare and unique, at least amongst my peers. Every session is an opportunity to learn something I never knew about her. The conversations are more honest, most probably because inhibitions are down on both sides. Barriers that were previously taboo are now being dipped into and explored. There were many questions that I once thought were too scary to know the answers to, but now are just in plain view and the “norm”. No more tiptoeing on hairy topics.

It has forced me to see my mother in a different light. She is my superwoman and saviour; it is difficult for me to not have biased goggles on. Through our sessions, I see glimpses of a woman carrying feelings and thoughts, disappointment, pride and hopes like mine. And just as how I had leaned on her all my life, she had also wanted to fall into me for a hug. An embrace that sometimes only her daughter can give. Real talk, this would have been hella awkward for me in the past, but now, it feels like the most natural thing to do.

I want to put it on record that this shared activitiy is not a magic pill. My relationship with my mother has always been tricky and while we may have stumbled upon a new path – building and maintaining a connection still requires navigation and conscious effort. My advantage is that I now have a hobby that I share with my mother. Something that we can do together, and both enjoy. If you are in a position to do this with your mother, this activity comes highly recommended with a two thumbs-up from me. Shoot your shot.

But hear me out here one last time, you DON’T need these sessions to have a meaningful relationship with your mother – you just have to start somewhere with something, anything. Text her “I Love You”, give her a call and tell her about your day, send her a GrabFood delivery. Doesn’t sound like something you would do? We have been fighting an invisible virus for 7 weeks and counting now – the world is in a weird place. Take this opportunity to be “weird” and spontaneous, you might be surprised with the outcome.

Show up, Big ups, Roll up Marijoiners.

And Happy Mothers’ Day to the queens out there.

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