Tuesday, December 13, 2011

A Letter #1

Dear Mama:

I hate you. I hate you for marrying him. I hate you for staying married to him. I hate you for knowing what he did to me and doing nothing. I hate you for allowing him to hurt me. I hate you for allowing him to touch me. I hate you for not protecting me. I hate you for lying and protecting him when I finally told the police what had been happening for the last 10 years. I hate you for telling social services that I “misunderstood” his hands on my body almost as much as I hate them for believing you. I hate you for lying for him. I hate you for telling me I was more important than him only to sell me out to the authorities. I hate you for taking the easy way out instead helping me. I hate you for telling me he was a good man until I came along. I hate you for telling me day in and day out how much you despised him and I hate you for staying with him anyway, no matter how often I begged you to leave and take me with you. I hate you for not caring enough to make an effort. I hate you for not coming to my high school graduation because you “didn't feel like it.” I hate you for forgetting my birthdays. I hate you for not even getting me a card the times you did remember. I hate you for hoarding.  I hate you for making me live in filth.  I hate you because I couldn't allow anyone in the house and constantly had to lie to my friends as to why. I hate you for never giving me a home I could feel calm and safe in. I hate you for screaming so loudly and so constantly that I swallow my own anger out of fear of becoming you. I hate you for making me so afraid to speak up and express myself. I hate you for teaching me to put myself last. I hate you for teaching me to never ask for or accept help. I hate you for making me so fucking codependent. I hate you for screaming at and belittling me constantly. I hate that I couldn't even accidentally knock over a glass of water without getting the full force of your wrath. I hate you for screaming so constantly that loud noises scare me and it took 20 years to stop flinching every time anyone touched me. I hate you for screaming at and hitting him because it made me pity and defend someone who destroyed me. I hate that when you found out I was making myself throw up in elementary school you simply told me to stop and never mentioned it again. I hate you for knowing he taught me how to shove my fingers down my throat and doing nothing about it. I hate you for telling me, at six, that I was the only reason you didn't kill yourself because it made me feel responsible for you for the rest of your life. I hate you for crying over his death when you knew all the horrible things he'd done to me. I hate you for mourning him when you'd spent my entire life wishing him dead.

Oh god, I'm sorry. I'm sorry for my anger. I'm sorry for my resentment. I'm sorry for your mental illness. I'm sorry you were depressed your entire life and never got help. I'm sorry you didn't think you were worth helping. I'm sorry you spent so many years wanting to die. I'm sorry you felt, for whatever reason, that you had to stay with him. I'm sorry you stayed at jobs where you weren't respected or appreciated. I'm sorry you were to afraid to go after what you wanted. I'm sorry you didn't think you were deserving of happiness. I'm sorry you had to deal with your husband committing suicide. I'm sorry you refused to talk to the therapists at the hospital, no matter how many times they tried. I'm sorry I had to leave you. I'm sorry you were alone. I'm sorry I couldn't afford to stay. I'm sorry I didn't call you more often. I'm sorry I couldn't hold you when you died. I'm sorry you hurt so badly for so long. I'm sorry your impending death scared me so much. I'm sorry I wasn't a better daughter. I'm sorry I didn't do more with my life. I'm sorry I didn't do anything to make you proud of. I'm sorry I couldn't save you.

I love you. I do. I love you for those moments that were sane and quiet and calm. I love you for all the books in the house. I love you for loving and accepting me when I came out. I love you for telling me you were proud of me even when I couldn't see why. I love you for the millions of times you helped me dye my hair even though you hated doing it. I love you for taking care of me physically when I couldn't take care of myself. I love you for having better intentions than your actions would show. I love you for teaching me how to give to others. I love you for thinking I was worth so much more than you were capable of giving me. I love you for loving me the best you could.

I need to forgive you.

I need to forgive myself.

Because I can't move forward until I let go of this anger and guilt that's weighed me down for decades.

And this? This is a start.

I love you,
Heidi

18 comments:

  1. That is one of the most gorgeous, raw, beautiful and true things I've ever seen you write on this blog. I hope writing it brought you some peace.

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  2. So many layers there. It's the first step in a long journey to recovery, but you will get there. ((((((((((HUGS))))))))

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  3. I'm glad you've gotten this written down and begun to work through your feelings!! I'm so proud of you.

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  4. -I think you should print this out and show it to your therapist.

    -it's okay, you'll be okay, you're good at feeling and at writing even when it hurts, and you're going to feel better. You know what to do, you know it's okay to get angry and you know it's okay to care and to ask for help. No one's all good or all bad.

    -he didn't destroy you, you're STILL HERE.

    -not even related to this post, but I've spent some time reading http://childrenofhoarders.com lately and it is a good site.

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  5. What an incredibly painful thing to do!! You are so brave and so much stronger than you think you are. I wish I had the strength to say some of the same things to my own mother....

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  6. That was beautiful, Heidi. I don't know if it was an exercise in dealing with your feelings and thoughts but it was such a gutwrenching and moving testimony. You are on your way to a much better life. Keep on working it.

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  7. I think you're so brave to delve into the dark and painful memories and experiences that have shaped you into the person you. Just know that your friends are rooting for you and that we're all proud of you for doing whatever it takes to be healthy.

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  8. Just read it all, twice. Chills. And to you Heidi, love and hugs! - Lisa in Orange County

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  9. I feel almost as though I am intruding by having read this, but there are some things I think you ought to know.

    1. This strikes me as one of the most healthy mind-purges I have ever witnessed. I hope you got some peace of mind from having let it all out.

    2. You are one fucking amazing writer. I can honestly say that I know what you are going through NOT because I have any personal experience, but because you achieve such extraordinary telepathy with your words.

    3. I hope you will be able to use this gift to communicate happier and happier memories as time progresses. And I hope that, no matter how down on yourself you may feel, you never forget that there are about a bazillion of us out here who wish we could do what you do even a fraction as well as you do.

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  10. have you thought about writing something for the 'it happened to me' section on xojane.com?

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  11. that's one very powerful letter. it's ok to be angry at your mom, to feel it and express it. it's truly ok. because without feeling it you can't let it go or shift it to helping you find ways of acting to make your world a better place.

    the "i'm sorry" paragraph did bother me some. in so much of it sounded like you felt responsible for her inabilities and actions. you aren't. she is. if the paragraph is a way of expressing sympathy and empathy, i understand it. you can't take the blame for the actions or inactions of other people. they might blame us for it, but that doesn't make the blame correctly placed.

    you're taking such huge leaps forward. i stand in amazement of your strength, even if you don't see it now. i'm humbled by your ability to be open and ask for what you need when you need it. lean on your friends. that's part of what friends are for.

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  12. ♥ This was very powerful to read and I can relate to a lot of it.

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  13. "it's okay, you'll be okay, you're good at feeling and at writing even when it hurts, and you're going to feel better. You know what to do, you know it's okay to get angry and you know it's okay to care and to ask for help. No one's all good or all bad."

    I want to second that. When I read this post I thought, "Wow, look at her go. She really is going to be okay."

    Your ability to feel, to express, and to ask for help when you need it are your superpowers in this shitty kryptonite-filled morass you've found yourself in.

    You have got one fucking badass survival instinct, and holy shit, you've got internal resources.

    Brava, diva.

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  14. "it's okay, you'll be okay, you're good at feeling and at writing even when it hurts, and you're going to feel better. You know what to do, you know it's okay to get angry and you know it's okay to care and to ask for help. No one's all good or all bad."

    I want to second this. When I read this post I thought, "Wow, look at her go. She really is going to be okay."

    Your ability to feel, to express, and to ask for help when you need it is going to be your superpower arsenal in this shitty kryptonite-filled morass you've found yourself in.

    You have got one fucking badass survival instinct, and holy shit, you've got internal resources.

    Brava, diva.

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  15. You can finally let it all out. I do believe your mama went with peace, knowing you could close the chapter and be set free. - Sara

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  16. Oh, Heidi, I identify so much with what you've been carrying around inside you, with the horrible conflict that all that love and hate creates. I know that degree of emotion...I know that anguish. Thank you for being an amazing writer, and amazing person, and sharing your efforts to understand and heal. I hope I can get to a place like that someday. ooxo

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