You’ve always been with me. A constant presence in my life that I could not do without. The one who I follow around at every party where I see strangers I am related to but I don’t know. The person who gives me delicious food everyday, even though I may not fully appreciate the greens. You called me your sweetie, your smart princess. The one jewel you loved over all other.
But amma, when did I stop being that to you?
I used to love dressing up and showing you just so I could hear “pretty” from your lips. But now everything I wear is either slutty or old-fashioned. Suddenly my dresses make me look young, some make me look old and others make me look oddly thin. Some are too boyish, others are just ‘wrong’. Amma, why do I now have that one moment of fear before I show you the clothes I like? And even when I succumb to your wishes and wear something I hate to see myself in, why do you not call me “pretty” anymore?
Amma, it means more to me from you than from anyone else.
You used to hug me quite fiercely when I was younger. Even after the worst tantrum, you’d hold me close and coo into my hair. When did we stop doing that? Why do you pretend not to notice now, when I’m feeling overcome by my demons again, and I come to you for an embrace? Amma, I do have a lot of friends I turn to, male and female, but the safest I’d felt was always in your arms, even though now I’ve only got fading memories about that.
Amma, why do you not trust me anymore? I’ve always told you every embarrassing detail about my experience with love. I’ve named all those I’ve spurned, all those I’d loved. And because you raised me that way, I’d never gone past the limit you put on me. But even with all this transparency,why do you still think I’m going astray? Why do I find myself wanting to do something bad, just to give substance to your insinuations?
When did I stop trusting you? Amma, do you remember that evening, when I broke down and told you my deepest secrets? How I was molested by a relative, how I was bullied in school and how I’ve taken the razor to my veins twice? You got angry at me for keeping it from you. You asked me whether I was blaming you, you taunted me for being weak, and you explained that I might have misunderstood some actions.
Amma, I decided I couldn’t trust you the moment you took his unspoken word over mine. The moment you took your image of him over my honest tears. That belief only solidified every time you called him a “good boy” and a “model student”. And when you recently told me to “forget” it already, because he obviously had, and even got a girlfriend.
As much as I hate to use that word, Amma, I was the victim. And it’s harder for me to forget how my body was invaded sans consent than for him to forget one moment of pleasure.
And now our relationship is a mockery of what it was in the past. A bond so fragile that I have to tiptoe around my issues and feed you fake smiles and stories just to keep it going. I’ve started keeping secrets, Amma. Because that’s the only one way I’ve found to stop having these toxic battles with you which always leave me curled up on my bed, stuffing my knuckle into my mouth and biting into it just so I wouldn’t cry out. Hearing you say you hate me isn’t something I can ever get used to.
Sometimes your words cut deeper than those uttered by my own demons, and that’s frightening. You tell me you hate my hair. That it shames you to be seen with me at times. You talk about all those friends of yours with amazing daughters, beautiful nymphs who do no wrong. You call me over confident, you tell me I have a personality that will end up making everyone hate me. You tell me that I’m the worst daughter you couldve ever got, and tell me you’d trade me in a heartbeat.
Sickening, incompetent, lazy, vain, ugly, sharp-tongued shrew of a girl whom no one would love.
Amma, recently these names have increased. And I think I know why.
Before, I would listen to whatever you said without question. I let you decide my looks, my personality and even my words.
Now I’ve started expressing my own opinions, haven’t I? Amma, are you scared that I’d change too much, and that nothing would be left of that little girl you raised?
Or are you just miffed that you’ve lost a willing puppet?
Amma when I think of you in my darkest hours, what you said about my inability to love anyone rings the loudest.
But I still believe that I, like an idiot, continue to love that mother in my memories. And like an idiot, I continue to let that love burn me.