Wow! As I am sat here trying to put my pen to paper (figuratively), I don’t even know where to start. I mean even after years of my commitment to try and understand your approach to this relationship we have, I can honestly say I don’t get it. But I’d be lying if I said I learnt nothing from it.
I remember growing up convinced you weren’t really my mother, to the extent that I had a very vivid dream that another woman came to collect me (your response to this is a story for another time). I also remember you drumming it into my head that “We don’t get to choose our family. We get given what we get given and that’s it”. I know that that was your way of letting me know you didn’t choose me, but that’s alright, I’m still better because I was raised in your house.
All the times you made it clear that you were perfect and nothing I could do could measure up to your standards only made me more self aware; I grew to embrace my strengths and strived to better my short comings. I have always wanted to tell you that I think the way I do because of the way you think. It always felt like I wasn’t there whenever we were in the same room, like nothing was ever about me or my siblings. Now I can’t see a need and not feel like I have to sort it out. I can’t see someone being ignored or mistreated without being angry on their behalf. You taught me how to stand up for the people who are mostly overlooked. You taught me to be a fiercely protective sister and friend.
I don’t think I ever told you how your words made me feel most times, but one thing I can tell you is that they made me stronger and gave me a thicker skin. Do you remember when you told me I was the problem of our house? I can’t even remember what I did that day, but those words really helped me grow a thick skin going into high school. You actually protected me from the hurtful words that stopped right after the other kids realised they weren’t getting to me.
I am extremely loyal because I always remember all the many hints you kept giving that you would leave until you finally left. Because I know the feeling of being left, I know to always be present. I doubt I’ll ever forget every time you remind me that it’s my fault that you don’t have what you used to have or that you’re missing privileges that you deserve because of all the things you gave up for me. But you taught me to know the value of any and everything I have and to only sacrifice what I know I wouldn’t miss. There are no words to express my gratitude for this valuable lesson.
Finally, I have to tell you that I don’t think I could ever have become the strong woman I am without you pushing me to breaking point. I could never have learnt to care for people without knowing what it feels like to not be cared about. I guess you’ll probably never know any of these things, unless you read this, but I would like to say thank you. Thank you for making things clear to me.