Dear Mom

27 Aug

Sometimes I still think about what if things had been different.

It’s stupid to think about that kind of thing, I know. Because things weren’t different. Things are the way they are and to think about them changing? To think about what ifs and different paths and what might have beens? It’s stupid and worthless. Thinking those things won’t get me anywhere and I know that. I know that. But I still sometimes look back on the past, and I see the instances where I could have chosen a different path and I didn’t. I see those instances and I think what if. What might have been.

I know that I wasn’t happy back then. Nobody was. It was one big clusterfuck of unhappiness. Everyone’s lives were nearing bottom – or at least that’s what it felt like. What did any of us have to live for? My life was failing. I was so young, but it already felt like I was failing as much as a teenager possibly could fail. Sure, every teenager says that at one point. Everyone goes through their period of teenage angst at some point or another, their period of thinking that their lives are spiraling downward and that things couldn’t get much worse. For me, it was because I was failing school. Because I wasn’t sleeping. Because I wasn’t eating that much either and I didn’t have any friends, didn’t have anyone to talk to or relate to, except my dog and whatever friends I managed to find on the internet. I think I had a grand total of two. And you know what? It was those friends. It was those friends that helped pull me away from committing suicide, because I honestly
would have. I honestly would have killed myself if I hadn’t had SOMEONE to talk to. SOMEONE to say they cared. Well, them, and my dog. Because I knew she needed me.

Unlike you.

You said that you needed me, during those times when you realized you were losing me and you wanted to hold on for all that you had. You gave me all those sob stories about how I was your “right arm,” how you needed me and loved me and cared about me, but you didn’t, did you? You didn’t care about me at all. All you cared about was the dollar sign, was the child support money that you were receiving and that you used to buy stuff for yourself. I never really did see that money. Sometimes, sometimes you would buy things for me, but those instances were few and far between and never came without a slew of insults in my direction for even daring to ask. I was the greedy one in those instances. The selfish, spoiled bitch who only ever thought about herself, right? Oh, how you wished you could have a kid like my cousin. How you wished I could be more like her, and my aunt was so lucky. Then again, that was because my aunt didn’t know all the things my little cousin said and did
behind her back. For years and years, as far back as when she was in fourth grade and I was in fifth, my aunt’s baby girl cussed her out behind her back and rebelled in every way possible. I never told, because it wasn’t my business to tell. But man, it’s great when you’re told you’re not as good as someone else when that someone else is worse than you ever were.

But you know what the worst part is? The worst part is that now, years later, I remember the good times in the most random of moments. I hate that. I hate how that old saying “distance makes the heart grow fonder” is true, because it’s absolute bullshit. I don’t want to remember the good times, because the good times were so few and far between in comparison to the bad. There’s no way that I could have stayed there with you. You bought me the game system, yes (years after spending the money Dad had sent to pay for half of it). There were times when you were nice to me, yes. But for all the times you hurt me? For all the times you cussed me out and told me I was worthless and said that you wished you had aborted me?

For fucksake, Mother, there’s no way I could have stayed there for that. I was ready to kill myself. I don’t know of any plainer way I can put it than that. I held out for as long as I could, out of . . . guilt? An overdeveloped sense of responsibility? Perhaps. I felt like I had to stay there. Like there was no other choice. And when I finally snapped and said I wanted to leave, you not only argued with me for a good three hours, but then you decided to pick up smoking again and blame that on me too. As if I didn’t already have enough riding on my shoulders. As if you didn’t already make me feel as if I was balancing the entire world on my back, a modern-day, teenaged girl version of Atlas, no matter how overdramatic that sounds.

I don’t think you really noticed what you were doing to me. Or maybe you did, and you just didn’t care. But I think that with everyone bound there, tightly wadded into that little ball of agony, no one really noticed the pain of the others around them. My sister and her boyfriend were always constantly wrapped up in their own little drama saga, spiraling out of control with their kids along for the ride. Everyone who wasn’t directly involved with their story was always just a little pinprick on the edges, the white spots dancing on the edge of the movie screen, warning them that it was time to change reels soon but that they still had a few seconds left. They acknowledged that I was there, but it wasn’t like I was part of their little knot of unhappiness. And since I wasn’t part of the knot, they never really saw. Or maybe never really cared.

And you? Oh, you. You were always about you. It was always about your job, your tiredness, your bills to pay. You, you, you. What you wanted, what you needed. Even right there at the end, when I said that I had to move to live with dad for me, you were making it all about you. What were you going to do without me? How were you supposed to live? You needed me, even though you didn’t really. It didn’t make sense for you to need me, anyway. I was another mouth to feed, another source to put money into. But then, my presence in your “home” put money into your pocket, didn’t it? Because so long as I was there, you were receiving five-fifty each month for child support. Without me, that source of income went away and you were five-fifty shorter each month.

God, this sounds so angry. I don’t want it to sound angry. It wasn’t supposed to sound angry, but I guess when it comes right down to it, I still am angry. I’m still angry about everything, even though I don’t consciously feel it. Even though I shouldn’t consciously feel it. It’s been four years now, Mother. It’s been right around four years since I last talked to you. And you know what? I don’t regret it. I guess part of me wonders what you’d say, what I’d say if I was put on the phone with you. Part of me has imagined you spontaneously showing up one day courtesy of my sister, and my reaction to that. You know what? Each time I imagine it, I imagine myself flipping out. I imagine myself screaming at you and rejecting you and slamming the door in your face. Maybe even attacking you. Somehow exploding all of my rage all over you so that you can see how much I don’t want you in my life. How much I want to stop thinking about you every now and again, how much I
want to pretend that you never even existed, because that’s how much of a negative impact you had on my life during my teenage years. Because that’s how much rage I never fully got to express before, and I feel that if you somehow appeared in my life again – in person or over the phone or otherwise – it would all come out.

I’m not like my sister. I can’t be fake and talk to you again, or pretend like it never happened. She’s a lot like you in that regard, I think. Like how you used to talk all nicely to Dad on the phone, yet would then turn around and rant about how he left you after twenty-two years of marriage the next morning while you were sitting on your bathroom sink caking your face with various foundations and creams and make-up. She can talk to you all kindly on the phone and seem to forget about all that you did to her, but I can’t. And I think, when it comes right down to it, that’s what it comes to.

I can’t forget what you did to me. I can’t forget the nights I spent crying because I wanted everything to end, because I wanted my life to end because I was so miserable. I can’t forget the times I held that knife in my hands, thinking about how stabbing it through my chest or stomach or neck would end it all, or with those pills in my hand thinking that whether I choked on them or swallowed them I’d still die and how no one I lived with except for my dog would really miss me. I can’t forget the times you tried to hit me (only missing because I was quick enough to duck or dodge), or shoved me into walls, or told me how much you wished I was someone else’s kid to deal with, or how you wished you’d aborted me, or how I was such a selfish, stupid bitch. I can’t forget the times you threatened me, threatening to break my arm or smack the shit out of me or, hell, the time you held the knife at me when I came into the kitchen. I can’t forget your rantings about how I
did nothing but make your life more difficult, or how you wished you didn’t have to deal with me. Most of all, I can’t forget all the times when I felt that you really didn’t love me, despite the times when you actually said you did, despite the good times that we did have. I can’t forget thinking about how my own mother didn’t love me, and what that said about me.

I can’t forget any of that, and I can’t forgive you, either. I can’t forgive you for hurting me. I don’t like to hold grudges. I don’t like to hate, because it’s stupid and petty and childish and wrong. Only children hold grudges. After all, what do grudges do? Nothing. Nothing at all. And hate? Hate only breeds more hate, and this world has enough of that already. But, Mother, I can’t forgive you. I can’t forgive you for hurting me, even if you’ve conveniently forgotten all the times you did. Even if you only remember the good times, or only want to remember the good times, or are only claiming to only remember the good times. I remember all the bad, and I can’t forgive you for them. It’s not a matter of won’t, it’s a matter of can’t. I would say I’m sorry, but the truth is that I’m not. You deserve this, Mother. There are only so many times you can kick a dog before it either attacks or runs off. I guess I did a little bit of both, and you deserved
it. You deserved every bit of it, as spiteful and vindictive as that is of me to say. The sad part? I don’t want to be a spiteful or vindictive person. Truly, that’s not who I am.

You’ll never read this. You barely know how to use a computer, and I know there’s no way that you would ever find this website, know how to navigate through all of the anonymous letters, and find the one that most resembles this situation. Besides, by now? By now, you know me even less than you did then, if that’s possible. You’d never recognize my writing, never recognize my voice. Then again, that might not matter, because I think that deep down, you already know all of the contents to this letter, even if you’re loathe to admit it.

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2 Responses to “Dear Mom”

  1. A September 1, 2009 at 10:00 pm #

    wow, incredible letter

  2. ihatemoths November 8, 2009 at 6:06 pm #

    Amazing writing.

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