There are so many things I wish I could say to you. First and foremost, I still love you.
My heart is broken in places I don’t think I’ll ever understand. And I can’t even begin to comprehend how you could do something like this to us. To me. I am your daughter, but it’s like you don’t even know that anymore. You say you’re proud of me. You say you’re happy for what I’m doing, but you can’t even see that you took something from me and I’ll never be fully whole again for it.
You broke my dad’s heart. You and your craziness and your fears and your psychosis. You broke his heart. He still loves you. He’s still in love with you even after all of this. He’s waiting for you. But you don’t consider him to be anything other than a fly on your windshield. He’s something that you can just push aside without a second thought. He’s something you can just shove under the rug and forget about because you have other things and people that are more important to you than him. He’s your husband and you didn’t have the decency or presence or elegance to tell him that you needed help. You just left him. And in your leaving you broke his heart. It’s gonna be years before he’s truly happy again. It’s gonna be years before he can really trust someone again. he’s not gonna go looking for anyone else to marry or whatever because he can’t. He’s still in love with you and he will wait, come what may, till his dying day.
I used to think that you were someone I could trust and look up to. I was blinded by my childhood fears into thinking that you were somehow part of the answer to taking care of those fears and pains and making them go away. But now I see that you were the cause of so many of those pains and fears. I can’t open my heart to anyone anymore because I don’t want them to stab me in the heart like you did. I play on the safe side of life content to let things go because I don’t want to grab hold of anything only to let it disappoint me like you did. I’m scared of wanting something because I’m afraid that it’ll turn in me into an unquenchable ambition that becomes a wedge twixt me and those I love ultimately driving us apart and I end up alone.
I can’t end up alone. I can’t. I couldn’t when I was three and I can’t when I’m 22. I can’t when I’m 50 or 75 or when I die. I can’t be alone. I need those I love. And I’m willing to give up my dreams and my goals and my desire to have people I love in my life. I’m willing to give up myself that those around me, those I love and adore, would be happy and content to stay where they are: with me.
I wonder how I came to this conclusion sometimes. Is it my personality or did I learn it? Is it in my culture or was I born with it? Even after so much time spent on wondering where it came from all I know is that it’s there. I don’t care so much where it came from now. All that matters is that it’s there and that I need to care for those I love. I listen to them. Put their needs first. Whatever I need doesn’t matter so long as they’re ok. That’s the only thing I do for myself: care for them.
You never did this. Not willingly at least. You always made it a point that we knew how much you were sacrificing to care for us. What dreams you was giving up. What hopes and goals you would never attain to. You always made sure we understood that this wasn’t what you wanted. You never wanted to be a mom. You never wanted girls. But that’s what you got. And you tried to make due with it. But we weren’t what you expected or wanted. You didn’t know what to do with us. You didn’t know how to handle three girls growing up in a world vastly different from yours. And you didn’t care to. You had to be in control because if you were in control then maybe you could still somehow achieve something of your dreams. If you couldn’t get what you wanted first, you’d get what you wanted second. And we were never it. We were never what you wanted. You never once told us that you wanted us. You just told us that once you had us you couldn’t think of giving us up or killing us. Is that supposed to make a child feel wanted? Cuz I didn’t. It never made me feel like I belonged in your arms or your house.
Then came the day that I didn’t want to. I didn’t want to belong to you or to your house. Cuz even though dad was the man of the house, it really belonged to you all along. He was too afraid of losing you when he shouldn’t have been afraid. You had too much control. You had too much power in the relationship. And you made it solely your household. He was at your beck and call and so were we. You flinched we came running. And it was all for nothing. So I decided that I didn’t want to belong to a place that didn’t want me first. That’s always been my problem. In order for me to open up to people, I need them to prove to me again and again that they want me to open up to them and that they want to care for me unconditionally. Because you see that’s exactly what you didn’t want. You didn’t want to care for us. You didn’t want to hear our problems or our concerns. You patched us up when you wanted and then you pushed out the door and told us that falling down and picking ourselves up by ourselves was just a part of life. You left us on our own. And so in my heart I left you. I left that household a long time ago.
I left it in my stories. In my poems. In my imagination. I was always someone else’s kid. I was adopted and then found by my real parents. Parents who cared to ask how I was doing. Parents who thought that what I had to say mattered. A mother who wanted to rock me to sleep again when the monsters came out. A mother who wanted to make me a peanut butter and jelly sandwich when I came home from school. A mother who wanted to tell me stories about lands far and near. And a mother who wanted to tell me that she loved me and that was all.
I dreamed of these things. I dreamed of what it was like to be loved. Loved with no strings attached. Loved with no expectations involved. Loved with all concentration and all adoration. I dreamed and longed for it. It colored my dreams at night. It was in the tone of voice in all my characters in my novels and short stories. And because I wanted it so badly for myself, it became a part of me in a sick and twisted way.
I have to relearn how to love people. Because the way you taught me to love is wrong and warped. I wanted so badly to be loved unconditionally that that is how I thought I should love others. But when this love is spawned out of the desire to possess it rather than the enjoyment and saturation of having it, it becomes mutated and disgusting.
I hurt others because of the expectations, hopes, goals, that my love for them puts on them. I don’t even realize that I’m doing it until they’re gone. Not totally out of my life. But they seem to go from the center to the periphery very quickly.
I try so hard to hang on to love. But it seems to always backfire and elude me. I know that this isn’t completely your fault. But you have to realize that there is some responsibility that falls to your door.
Responsibility because you won’t acknowledge it. You say that this isn’t your fault. You aren’t owning up to any of the pain and hurt that you have caused to me over the course of my lifetime. You say that’s life. It’s a bitch. But I say that you are wrong. You hate hearing that you are wrong. You hate it when people disagree with you. But I will do exactly that.
I’m dirt tired of hurting because of you. And I’m tired of you refusing to take responsibility. I’m tired of being the adult in this relationship when you are my mother and you should be the adult.
But there’s nothing I can do to change you. I can’t even tell you all the things I want to say because you told me that in order for me to have contact with you I need to be “light and encouraging”.
I will never be “light and encouraging” when it comes to having a relationship with you. There is a wound there that has been opened time and time again. I don’t know how long it’s going to take for it to heal. I don’t know how long it’s going to take for it to become a scar. But I will say that wounds are hardly ever “light and encouraging”.
And since I can’t be that, then I can’t see you or talk to you. All I can do is write this letter and never send it to you. All I can do is pray that one day your senses return and you realize how much you have hurt me. And how much you have not loved me though you say you do.
But I will say this to you. For the words flowing from my lips are like oil and wine on my wounds: they work to heal my own wounds more than any words from your mouth could.
I love you. Mother, things have changed between us. And I don’t think I will be able to trust you for a very very long time. But…
I love you. I love you though my heart is broken and smashed into a thousand tiny pieces that no one can see to put back together. I love you though my heart bleeds as the words are released into time and space. I love you though I don’t know why.
I love you.
Your daughter since I was born in 1988 until the day I die.