Dear Mom & Dad,
Last time I wrote one of these letters, your life was turned upside down. Your eyes were opened, and you claimed your reputation was ruined. You replied with such anger towards me, and it seems the last letter I wrote was the end all of our relationship. This time, I promise you, I come to the table with less hate in my heart and a more open mind.
Do you realize it’s been over a year since our last positive interaction? Over a year. Doesn’t that seem like forever? The only times we’ve spoken over the past twelve months, we’ve lashed out at one another. We’ve pointed the finger and placed blamed. We’ve cried. We’ve yelled. We’ve spit venom. Years of built up animosity at each other had been spewed out like a fucking fire hose over the course of the last year. It’s as if we had gone to war. War. Who says that? Who goes to war with their parents? Why did it have to come to that? And when does it end?
In the past few days, I made the conscience decision to hear you out. To listen to what you had to say. I know you had asked me a time or two before, but it’s as if my mind wasn’t ready until now. I wish I could say it was impulsive and randomly came to the forefront of my mind. Unfortunately, the lack of relationship we’ve had is always on my mind, but I could never get passed the anger to allow myself to work through it. I’ve had so many unanswered questions, and really wanted to gain some perspective. I wanted to know why you never reached out to me in a positive light. I wanted to know why you always took each other’s sides. I wanted to know if you were growing or making steps towards a positive change. So, I requested that we meet up for lunch. Never in a million years did I anticipate what would happen…. (Dad, I wish you could have been there, too.)
Mom, you look tired. You look worn down and utterly defeated. You truly look as though you’ve gone to battle and barely made it out alive. I observed you throughout lunch, and I could see the wheels turning in your head. You looked scared of me. Scared of what I might say. Scared of what I might do. Scared that this lunch wasn’t a step forward, but quite possibly another step back. I could see you trying so hard to say the right thing and act the right way. I could see the life had been sucked right out of you. You didn’t look like “you” anymore.
I’m so incredibly sorry for my part in this battle. My intent was not to hurt you, age you, or to bring you down. My intent was not to change you or force your hand. My intent was not to prove a point or to humiliate you. My intent was merely a cry for help. I merely wanted the relationship itself to change by all parties. For us to walk away from the negative path we were heading down and towards a path that brought out the best in one another. Let’s be honest. The familial relationship was headed to a deep, dark place… and it was taking a toll on all of us.
During that lunch, I want you to know that my guard was up. My guard was so far up my own ass that I came across as cold. Harsh. Displeased. I could feel the energy I was sending out across that table, and I couldn’t stop myself. I didn’t know why my body was reacting that way, but my brain and heart were not working in unison. I want you to know that in my heart, I was longing for affection. For positive change. I was ready to hop back into the swing of things like we had never missed a beat. I wanted to scream out how much I need my parents in my life. Now more than ever.
I went to therapy on a regular basis over the course of the last year to assist in my need to seek change. I continually told myself in therapy that I don’t need parents. I don’t need a mother. I convinced my therapist that this idea of needing a mother in my life is all socially learned and pushed by the media. I told my therapist that if you say something to yourself long enough, you’ll force yourself to believe it. I’d been told my whole life how much I needed a mother, but in that moment, I wasn’t convinced it was true. When people make the statement, “She’s your mom,” I would give this lengthy explanation as to why humans biologically don’t really need to have a mother in their lives, and that merely an idea of a motherly figure would suffice. It’s almost as if I was suppressing those feelings or attempting to convince myself that those feelings aren’t real.
But here’s the thing… those feelings are real… and that shit isn’t true. As humans, we biologically need parental figures in our lives. We long to have that parental relationship, and I didn’t have one these past twelve months. I longed to call my mother and brag about the awesome yoga move I just nailed. Because let’s be honest, no one else in my life fucking cares. I longed to call my Dad and scream about the Buckeye game. Parents are these people in our lives that continually grow with us and teach us over time. I want to believe you both can fill that role. I just worry that you haven’t learned how to grow in the parent-adult child relationship, and you’ll continue to treat me like I’m your child. Maybe it’s something we can work through?
It’s been well over a year since you both have been a positive influence in my life. But not a day goes by where I don’t wish for the war to end. I know in my heart that my life experiences over the last year have forced me to have a different outlook on my life. Those same life experiences have forced me to grow, to change, to be a different person. To be a stronger person. I can only expect the same from the both of you. Regardless if you were intending to change, or to become different people, this battle we’ve fought together has forced those changes upon us. I have hope in my heart that it was for the better. But, sometimes I worry what other people will think. Will people wonder how I went from hate to reconciliation so quickly? Will people be judgmental? Will I lose friends or hell, will I even lose family?? Was this battle about choosing sides and making a stand for what’s right?
And then I step back, collect my thoughts, and say fuck them. No, seriously. Fuck ’em. It’s no one’s fucking business how I choose to live my life. It’s no one’s fucking business who I allow in my life and who I cut myself away from. The purpose of the relationship being put on hold was due to the constant negativity surrounding it. I felt like we were continually heading for a dark place and something needed to change. We both took the opportunity to seek that change. Whether the space was chosen by one or both parties is moot. At the end of the day, you’re my parents. My children’s grandparents! I don’t need to convince anyone of my decision. It’s no one’s fucking concern. If people are judgmental… if people choose sides… if I lose friends… or if I even lose family over my decision, they weren’t welcomed in my life in the first place.
I know this isn’t your preferred method of communication, but for me, there has been no better therapy. These letters were never created as an attack to hurt you, but rather as a form of healing myself. Allowing myself to sit down, slow down, and process out my thoughts and feelings has done wonders for my mental health. Knowing I don’t have to hold it inside and can let the world see my pain has been utterly freeing. I look forward to continuing to embrace my freedom while working towards mending the relationship we once had. I don’t anticipate forgetting the past, but I want to look forward to the future and learn from the changes we’ve both created.
Your Loving Daughter
Because I knew you… I have been changed for good.