An Open Letter to My Mother

By: Anonymous

To my Mum,

Mama, we have known each other for 16 years, 11 month and 3 days on the day I am writing this, or 6183 days. In 6183 days you brought me up the best way you knew how, in 6183 you loved me unconditionally, you have cried for me, with me and because of me. I was your first of three, the first girl to come out from between your beautiful legs gasping for air, for my first inhale of oxygen that was not yours, followed by a scream, and here I am today 6182 days later- your little baby is almost 17. I love you so much, and I know I do not say it enough, nor do I show how much I love you as much as you want me by giving you hugs and kisses, but trust me when I say it I love you so much. You were and are the first human I ever fell in love with in this pathetic world.

You cared for me while doing your thesis, when I cried late nights and would never let you sleep, I was a touch child you said. 

You brought me up and tore me down simultaneously, never noticing that you are tearing me down, that you are breaking your baby, never noticing how weak it made me. From a very young age I was told I was too big- my body was taking up too much, my voice and laugh too loud, my mouth too big. Simply put: I was too much and quite frankly I still am. You tried to shrink me in every sense of the word in size and personality- I lacked the shyness you said, I definitely lacked the body and the only thing you managed to shrink was my self-esteem. 

I do not remember a time where I was not on a diet, I did not always follow it ofcourse, but I was expected to. I was put down when my thighs got a bit bigger, and applauded when my stomach got a tad flatter. The first time you ever saw my stretch marks, you told me I was too young to have them, to young to be this big. I needed to lose weight. Disappointment was painted all across your features from your troubled eyes to your flat mouth. You will not fit into clothes you said, you are fatter than all your friends you would point out, you would be way more beautiful if you didn’t have all this extra fat lying around you repeated. I remember going shopping and loving all the jumpsuits but never getting any of them because you thought I was too fat for them, I remember 8 year old me crying in the store only to be told to shut up or she will not be allowed shopping with you again. You promised me if I lose weight you would buy me one, so I starved myself only to gain all the weight I have lost in the blink of an eye. Mama, why did you not see how damaging it was to shove beauty standards in the food I was eating and the clothes you were buying for me.  

The beauty standards you so eagerly tried to enforce on me destroyed me for a very long time, I would stare at my reflection in the mirror and all I would see staring back at me was a blob of fat, coloured with imperfections. My thighs and breasts covered in stretch marks too prominent for me to not see, my cheeks were too chubby, and when I ran my hands along my sides I could only feel the curve above my waist that was prodigious. I hated my body. I despised my breasts and curves. I despised them. I cried myself to sleep sometimes thinking about how much I lacked the things you wanted me to have by having too much of them.

Mama, you told me I was too loud. Whenever I laughed you would call me out and whisper in my ears that I better keep it down because I am embarrassing you. When we went over to visit people you said I talked too much and you would slowly pinch my hands motioning me to shut up, to keep my tongue in my mouth, and it seems you wanted my mouth to be a both way closed gate, nothing coming in and nothing coming out.

I am stubborn, loud, energetic and too much. I do not think this was what you were thinking of when you decided to bring me into this world. I am not the ideal child I know that, you remind me of that more often than not. When I upset you you would run around screaming at me, and unleashing hurtful phrases at me each of them whipping my heart, breaking my bones, and tearing my soul. You are the reason of my misery you would say with tears running down your eyes, and I used to cry until I didn’t. I became heartless, and emotionless immune to your now-frequent unleashing anger you thought, but everytime you would scream I would wait till everyone sleeps and wrap myself up in my blankets only to start crying uncontrollably. 

I remember times when I hid in the bathroom sitting in the corner wishing I was smaller, wishing I could disappear with tears soaking my shirt that I would have to change it when I came out, only because I was scared of the words you will throw at me, tired of you pointing your gun at me, exhausted from not saying a word. But, slowly I grew up even more, and my stubbornness came into play and I used your own weapon against you, and when you would scream at me, my loud voice was my only shield. I would look you straight in the eyes and tell you I didn’t like you and tell you to leave me alone, only for you to become even louder and angrier. You would cry saying I was impolite, saying that you failed to raise me, but failing to realize that I only became that way because of you and I only learnt anger from you.

I have anger issues and I find them hard to control. Sometimes I became even louder than your little girl who used to be loud because she is ecstatic, but now her loud voice is because she is angry. I am sorry for sometimes exploding at you like a bomb, unable to control myself, hurting you and hurting myself. But, in the middle of the night when you are not up anymore I go back to my old habits, and I start weeping till I cannot breathe, soaking my shirt and skin in salt water only to wipe them of myself, because I had to learn to make myself stronger. 

Do you remember around 2 years ago when you walked in on me with tweezers in my hands pulling my own hair like a lunatic, keeping it away from you. The same disappointment came down like a curtain- the same troubled eyes and straight lips, but this time I saw horror in your eyes as you laid them on my bleeding bits, my sore swollen skin. I felt horror too. You promised me to not tell my dad if I stop and you threw all the tweezers away. I told you I searched it up, and it was a disease- something starting with the letter t. You heard me but you did not listen to me. You helped me but not enough for me to never go back. I never spoke a word of it again. 

So, now when I have a bleeding scalp I do not know how to bring it up so instead I dig my nails into my hands scarring my tissue, and wipe the blood off my scalp hoping you will not see it.

Mama, I am sometimes so scared of you, and sometimes scared for you. I am scared of how would you react if you know all the things I have kept from you.

Six thousand one hundred and eighty three days later and I am one of the strongest women I know and I want to ask you if you are proud of who I have become? I want to ask you if you regret breaking my bones and hurting your baby’s soul? Mama, please tell me I am not a disappointment because sometimes I cannot help but feel like one. Mama, I wish you could hold me and let me cry in your arms with no judgement of the things I would tell you, because I cannot remember the last time we talked about something that was not school, or my body. I do not remember the last time we sat down and talked, or the last time we went out together.

With love,

Your baby

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