Letter #7

Dear Mom,

My tattoo started a conversation.

Last night, you caught a glimpse of it as I was changing out of a dress that you were going to alter. I guess it was naive to think I could hide my body from you. We share too many intimate moments.

I had my defence ready – I was an adult; it is only a small, inconspicuous one; everyone has one nowadays. But what I really meant to say was getting a tattoo was not an act of rebellion. It was a way of reclaiming myself, a simultaneous act of strength and solace in the wake of the madness that is 2016.

I told you how your neediness was smothering me. It was callous, but I couldn’t lie anymore. For all my talk about inspirational women, girl power and what not, I wanted my mom to be someone I could emulate. I wanted you to show me that our worth is not valued by the perception of others, even if I already knew that in my heart.

It was an hour of verbal diarrhoea. I took my glasses off, partly because they were foggy from my tears, but mostly because I could not bear to see how my words cut you. I paced the room, back and forth, up and down, because if I kept still for one moment my thoughts would collapse as easily as a house of cards. I gasped for air between words.

You were mostly quiet through my tirade. After the whole episode, you told me you loved me no matter what. I was confused. How could that be your only response, when I had pretty much just said you were not enough? In that moment, I truly appreciated the depth of mama bear’s love for me.

There I was, being selfish. All I could think about, all I could say, was me me me. I felt this, I wanted that, I need you to be like this. Yet all you wanted was for me to know that I was loved, regardless my thoughts of you.

It was never your own need that you cared for. It was your way of protecting my fragile ego. In that moment, I realised that while I was resenting you for your lack of courage, you were the one who has all the grace.

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