Friday, October 21, 2016

From Afar

You get angry. You lash out. You throw things around. You say things- things that may be true, things that may not be, either way they are things meant to hurt us. You pretend to be strong, standing all by yourself, but your solitary image just looks pitiful from where I stand. I know better than to believe the brave face you put on. Years of having one-sided conversations with you have taught me that you are far more vulnerable than you'd like to admit. I know because I listened. Now, if only you knew how to do that. If only you did not allow a mere number like age become such a great divide between us.

You are the woman who never asked me how I was doing no matter how dreadful I must have looked. And, so you are a woman we never asked about because by never asking us that question, you never gave us permission to ask it of you. You live on pride and you believe in a rigid hierarchy. So much so that asking that simple question can be misconstrued as an affront to you. Regardless, I know how you are doing. Or, at least, I know as much as what I can glean from your actions, your words and the feelings you try to hide.

You are the woman whose silent cries move me to tears even if my own tears never seemed to move you. Life is harsh, with numerous obstacles in the way. Humans were not made to live life alone. Yet, you seem to keep trying to do this. You boast about the things you've managed to do on your own and claim that you need no one. But in the solitude of your room, you hunch your back- weighed down by the world- and shed quiet tears. I am sorry. I understand your struggles but I cannot share them. Our inability to level with each other makes it impossible to share burdens. And, in the end, I struggle tremendously under the weight of your accusations of my indifference, the pressure to make something of the life you so "generously" gave to me, and my own need to become who I was meant to be.

You are the woman who never says 'sorry' and 'thank you' but always forces those words from us. What has the world come to that now gratitude and remorse are things that are demanded from people? Are these not feelings that need to be born of sincerity? We've argued this to you, of course, but you just raised your voice higher as if being louder means you are right. Do you not hear the contempt behind the words we grudgingly mutter? Have you become that indifferent or do you just not know sincerity? Humans are imperfect. Everyone makes mistakes. But you never admit to yours because you believe that to fulfill your role you must be irreproachable. I keep saying that you are not, but I don't get to say that, do I? Because I am lower than you.

You are a woman whose self-centered words make your selfless acts meaningless. You insist you are self-sacrificing, yet in every opportunity you get you demand that we pay you back for the career you could have had, the blissful single life you could have enjoyed. You say you did everything for us in the same breath that you admit that you wish we hadn't been born. You are lost in your own pool of regrets and, with no one else to blame, you blame us. You say I am a child- ignorant of the world. But I know this thing- they are not really sacrifices if you have to keep demanding us for the cost of what you lost. And so, your continuous nagging make it almost impossible for me to feel grateful to you.

You are a narcissitic perfectionist. You need everything to be perfect and done in the way you would do it- because in your mind, your way is the best way. You have so much confidence in yourself- your abilities, your knowledge. You think you are superior to everyone. It must be the god complex doctors have. So, you micromanage everything and then claim that you are exhausted, not realizing that it was you who overexerted yourself. You don't realize the difference between things you must do and things you do because you cannot bear to see someone else do it in a "substandard" way. If only you can let go of the reins just a little bit, you would not feel as weary as you look.

You are the woman who, according to this blasted thing called a birth certificate, is my mother but I never felt that you were one. You are my biological mother but you did not raise me. Based on conventional roles, I would label you more as a father- the provider, the disciplinarian. Regardless, I am connected to you by a bond I cannot sever. It is a curious connection. After all, it is one that demands that I love you even before I was old enough to utter the word. But it does not make me automatically like you.

You are the woman I am most indebted to. In my calm and composed state, I am able to recognize all the things that you have gone through for us and I will always be grateful for that. But when you speak to me and you say things you need to say to feel better about yourself, I can feel bits and pieces of myself being chipped off. You make me feel small to make yourself feel strong. You make me doubt my self-worth to reinforce yours. And, until we can talk on the same level and come to an understanding, I can never like you.

In the end, all I want to say is that I love you. Neither one of us is perfect and I know that. I'm waiting for the time that you acknowledge that, too. I will always love you. But, I need to love myself, too. You know all the chinks in my armor and you insist on shooting at them. You so easily break down the barriers I thought were impenetrable. So, I'll go far away from you. Because distance is my last defense. I will keep loving you from afar because that is the only way I can also still love myself.

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