I’m just writing, rewriting, and starting over again — I’ve used over 14,815 words in 5 weeks and have no letter to show for it. I do have a poem, though. I just have these thousands of words, a poem, and a never-ending scream that wants out of my head. It feels like my brain cells are bleeding!
Addressed to my mother, I’m hoping this letter will reinvigorate conversation. We haven’t spoken in 9 weeks because the tannoy in Waitrose deafened her and I thought a letter might be kindest on her ears. It’s a risky business, though. Its every word must tread a fine line of harmony, one slipped syllable and KABOOM! It’s likely to make things worse. Even by existing, it fails to show due deference. Once received, because of its theme, I might as well have stabbed her in the heart.
Maybe that’s reason enough to not write this letter. Maybe I should accept what’s thought of me, quit thinking myself better, and call to beg her forgiveness. But then maybe this danger is all the reason to say what I need to say. Maybe it’s now or never. Win or lose. Maybe to prance around the subject and dote are what she expects and what I shouldn’t do.
So torn amongst all this I write, rewrite, and start over again. And again. Again. I’m destined to stay this way forever, I can feel it.
The reason for this silence
At a little before 130pm on Monday, 25th September, the needle-like decibels of Waitrose tannoy cut through the air and deafened my mother who was sat in her living-room in Wales. She screamed and then I remarked that it hadn’t been that loud my end, and from there she cancelled my visit that weekend and slammed the phone down. She then rejected my 4 callback attempts, prompting me to send her a text, and it’s been silence from the home front ever since.
On the face of it, it seems I’m to blame for the tannoy. Maybe that tenner I later slipped the tannoy speaker wasn’t to open a new till. Maybe, oh why the hell am I lying? The tannoy speaker and I are now lovers. I planned it entirely. I wanted my mother’s ears to bleed. I’m just pure evil.
Because beneath the outer veneer of a face there’s tissue and bone and stuff, more sinister reasons congregate here. Dark reasons. My inner shame.
Although true, I wasn’t writhing in an aisle with my ears bleeding, I shouldn’t have mentioned this truth to my mother. In saying that the tannoy wasn’t that loud my end I showed that I didn’t care. Instead of being tender and concerned, doting in many respects, I was nasty. I was vicious. I attacked. It’s a little-known fact, instead of being delivered a bundle of newborn, I crawled out of her stomach with horns and a barbed tail.
So to her, I was nasty confirmed. And what do you do when confronted with nasty? You defend yourself, and so my mother warded off my attack. Her slam slam slam slam slam was her way of saying, “Go away, you’re cruel to me!” And then my text didn’t help matters. My text cemented her impression that I’ve been a nasty piece of work since birth.
And so silence, doghouse, I must learn my lesson.
This lesson & me
This is a common lesson she teaches. I’m a great disappointment, thoroughly unlovable, uncaring, and nasty. And over the years she has adapted this lesson to fit my proximity. Now I live far away and rarely visit I get silence until I capitulate, and then I’ll hear how I made her feel. When under her roof I get the home truths before the silent treatment and depending on how much glug-glug determines how truthful she is.
I’m not naive, I’m fully aware of the shames I hold. I should be better and worthy, and I should not be so disloyal and deceitful, and so regretfully born. My place in the pecking order is earned and at the bottom. And in recent years, I’ve acquired a new shame. I’m now accountable for the actions and inactions of other people. I am, for her, a place she can lay her blame.
In the past, I would’ve listened even though my innocence was clear. I would’ve sought to make peace, promised to change, and tried to do so.
This time, because her reasons I’m nasty are so tenuous, I can see that she only sees what she wants to see in me. There’s a lot of ‘see’ in there, a lot of sight. She makes loving her a constant negotiation and it’s not my fault that she gives no allowance for human nature. She doesn’t see the things I do for her, and she doesn’t feel the support I give. She only knows that her only child is nasty. Always been a nasty piece of work since birth.
So from now on, I’ll only accept these lessons when I’ve done something wrong. If she’s feeing her roots then I’m not accepting at all.
This letter to mum
I want to chase her apology. She’s a keen advocate of receiving respectful treatment so I’m kind’a wondering on this here hypocrisy. I think how she reacted to that tannoy was rude, and had it been the other way around she would’ve expected an apology from me. So come on then, respectful treatment.
I want to question her silence. She’s been so committed and I want to make her justify it to herself. I want her to see why she’s done this so easily.
I want to point out our similarities. She felt like me when she was growing up so I want to ask her why she’s being her parents. Is it because she hates me? We share the same suspicions.
I want to show her who I am. Who I’ve been and who I’ve become through it all. She’s held me to such scrutiny that I don’t think she’s ever noticed that I’m not the devil she thinks.
Most of all, I want to make peace. She’s my only mother and I’m her only child. It’s a sorry state of affairs that we’ve got this.
But above all of this, I don’t want to be a nasty person now sending hate mail through the post. So I tread this fine line of harmony with a scream bleeding my brain, and why? Because I’m trained. I just write, rewrite, and start all over again because I know no different.
I need to get this written.
* TOTAL WORDS USED, update: 15,901