As long as you’re that judgemental
I cannot speak to my mother right now as she has, in the past week, caused me to re-enter dark places I thought I had overcome, twice. I do not want to risk a third time within a week when I have a life to live which I have to remain mentally well for. When I’m emotional or angsty, I find trying to make rhymes a slight release. I have not done so for a long time, as my life has moved on from the teenage angst-filled introverted days of having a lot to say but not the courage to say it. These days I say what I think/feel and structure my relationships so I do not need to hide myself. But as I am self-limiting my contact with my mother for my own sanity… I find these whispers of emotions which I cannot address to her directly.. so here is a poem.. in the style of the ones I used to write out of teenage angst.
Who do you love mother,
your child and your progeny,
How much do you know of her
This person in your family tree.
What do you love mother,
The carrier of your genes,
How much do you know of her,
Does she love greens or jeans?
Do you see the good in her
Her kindness and her love
The intelligence of this microscope whisperer
The skill within her glove.
Do you just see the devil
When she speaks of her love for girls
Do you think she’s just a rebel
Out in town for some twirls.
Do you think she is wicked
For detesting the president-elect
The rights she had gain he would undid
Her life his believes can wreck
Do you see how much she cares for the world
The time she gives to those in need
Do you believe she’s destined for the underworld
Despite the blood she bleeds
How much do you know of her, mother
Her causes, advocacy and activism
The good is there and clear to all
She’s shown unbridled altruism
Who do you love mother,
Just your child and your progeny,
Will you love her person whole,
Or just your Gs, Cs, As, and Ts?
Content Note: Contains talk of self harm and suicide
To the family member who asked for the essay – whom I have emailed this response to but will probably not read it because she never really reads anything I send her.
Do you know what a safe space is? A safe space is somewhere where people feel safe to express their feelings, where they can share without being criticized. It is often explicitly defined in spaces who welcome people who have been discriminated against, been marginalized, bullied and oppressed. It is saying to people who have had to spend most of their lives hiding something of themselves from the world – that they don’t have to hide here, it is safe here, it is safe to be yourself, here in this space, with us. Google it.
You asked to read my essay for college. An essay for a BA in Counseling, my first essay, that I’ve taken more than a week off work to write. An essay which is explicitly exploring deeper parts of myself, opening up and psychoanalyzing my history, for the benefit of my tutor and one other marker. The markers whom, by definition, are ‘safe’ people to talk to.. They have to be, they are counselors, professionals in creating spaces which are safe to encourage people to talk and to open themselves up.
You do not have a right to read that essay. You do not have the right to even ask for that essay.
Things I have said in college, in the safe space which is my classroom…. or in my counselor’s office, or whispered into my partners’ ear, include,-
- People I’d like dead
- Sex work
- Self Harm
- My desire to be dead
None of these things are things I can safely say in your presence are they? You only know condemnation. Do you know introspection, examination, understanding, empathy and awareness? I’d like trump dead. Your response was ‘why are you so wicked’ Am I? From everything you know of me, do you really think that I am a wicked person? Rather than examine my reasons, you accuse me, you criticize me, you condemn me. This is your pattern, over and over again, year after year after year. Your presence makes me unsafe. Being in your presence makes me want to take my nearest knife out and cut my arms and legs open. Being in your presence, having all my good invalidated every time I say something you do not accept… that hurt, that stab of pain every time.. is not safe. Because when that deep hurt makes itself known, I want to cut myself open, I want to prove that the pain is there I want to show the world that I bleed, that I hurt.
And you want to read my essay.
The answer is no. It isn’t safe for me to let you read my essay.