When you’ll read this letter, you will probably be back in New Orleans. You will probably be depressed to find your apartment empty, to go back to your boring job, you will miss these vacations in Italy you had with your friends. But right now, you just hung up the phone on me because I didn’t leave my flat in weeks and you must be angrily crying with a bottle of scotch.
Well, I guess you’re not wrong. I am keen on depressed alcoholism myself. But the thing is that I am tired of having arguments with you. I am tired of most things, in fact.
And because I am so tired, I just realized you were right all along. I am the perfect copy of my father: I can’t change. Hell if I tried. And because of that, I can’t make you happy.
You probably think this is just another of my dramas, but you might want to sit down.
This is pretty, huh, kinda serious.
Because you can’t understand for how long I have been thinking I was the worst thing that ever happened to you. You don’t know how much I regret being born. You don’t know how much I think your life would have been better without me and how I regret seeing you being the prisoner of your own life. I am sorry I can’t change for you.
You often ask why I hate myself the way I do, now you know. I hate myself for not being able to get better, to stop being anorexic. To stop being depressed. To stop making you worry.
And to stop being pissed at you.
I am furious, unconsciously, because I wished I had normal teen years. I wish you wouldn’t have gotten angry when you discovered I was cutting myself and when you found out I stopped eating. I wish you searched for what was behind my arrogance when bitches were putting my head in some ominous toilet.
These are some idle wishes, as everyone reacts differently to such difficult situations, and there was no way you could get through my hard skull easily. But I was an immature child wishing to be asked if she was okay. I wished you took me in my arms when I was crying, I wished you told me you understood and put dishes in front of my door. But my only thoughts were that Dad was running away from me and that I was some parasite in your life.
I really thought you hated me, for a while.
I know how much my words hurt you, but let me just go on. I know you tried your best. I know you were trying to make me love myself in silence, I know you raised me alone and protected us. And I thank you for that.
I didn’t forget a thing.
But this is what I felt all my youth, and this is a pain that still stings every time I talk to you.
I cannot hide this anymore, because I think it is that concealed bitterness that devoured our relationship all those years.
I have so much resentment left in me because I couldn’t feel as hurt as I wanted to.
Because I knew my pain was bothering the family, because I didn’t want to affect you with it. Because I knew that if I expressed myself, you would take it personally or as a sign I forgot everything you gave me in the past. It wouldn’t have been the case, though.
You’ve been miserable for a long time now, so you probably never noticed how much I tried to make things better. You are so sure I don’t care about you that you never knew I skipped classes most of my senior year in fear you would kill yourself. I stopped going out with my friends at university because I thought I would find you dead if I was out for too long.
I told Dad to buy himself some balls to stop being such a coward and treat you better. I told Ian to give the love and support I couldn’t provide. I defended you against my friends telling me you were an abusive, narcissistic parent. I stopped myself from crying, from screaming, from ever showing you how much I hated being home because I wanted you to be happy.
So why do you think I am your enemy? Why do you think I am on Dad’s side?
I guess we are too different, but all these times I talked back to you, it was not me looking down on you.
It was my frustration and sadness against that pit getting deeper and deeper between us. I wasn’t strong enough. I never stopped thinking about you. I loved you more than myself.
But I also hated a whole lot of things while I was living with the two of you.
I hated the fact you told a thirteen-year-old to get her shit together and to get better by herself. I hated that Dad told me to hide my pain so yours could take all the place.
I hated that I could never bring up any problem of mine without you crushing me with yours.
I hated that you were making me feel guilty every god damn second, I hated how you kept repeating you wanted to die, I hated that you told these horrible things to me only. I hate that those years of suffering, pain, guilt, and nightmare won’t ever be given back to me. I hated that you never wondered how I felt or what was my point of view.
You made me hate family, birthdays, and children.
You scared me away from opening my heart to anyone.
Fuck you for that.
(Ahem. I got carried away, back to the point).
I know it wasn’t victimization. You probably were the one suffering the most out of all our family members and I guess Ian really was your best support, as you often said it.
I am sorry you felt so alone. I am sorry for hurting you so much.
But I NEEDED you. Have you ever considered that MAYBE I was trying to communicate with you by being an insufferable brat? That I was desperately screaming for my mother’s attention, like “lmao I’m dyin’ inside and stuff”?
I tried to KILL MYSELF for god’s sake. Two times! Is that normal for a kid? There were wrong pills, it was pretty pathetic of an attempt and it wouldn’t have hurt a stupid mosquito but it was a genuine, desperate scream for help. I wanted to die for you. I wanted to die because I couldn’t stand being a weight on your lives.
And you NEVER ever talked to me about this. Neither of you. I don’t even know if you remember this.
I don’t even know if you care.
I always felt my feelings were less important than the house’s general atmosphere. That my actions were only frivolous phases of a selfish goblin wanting to piss people off. I want you to know that I wanted to disappear from your existence at all costs, that I was madly aware of my flaws, and that it drove me insane.
But as much as I acknowledge your loneliness and sadness, your words still hurt. “What do we have to do for little princess Tara to finally be happy?”, “Drop the act”, “Go to some asylum with your insane skeletal sisters”. Should I go on?
The fact that I spent my sixteen-birthday crying, kicked out of my house because you felt angry at me for your marital problems still is a weight on my chest, eight years later.
The fact that Dad forgot half of my stupid birthdays, that I tried to stay at Morgan or Ed’s houses as much as possible because I hated these horrible silences at home. All these events might be tiny piles of crap when compared to your sorrow, but they made me insecure and distrustful.
They made me value my friends ten thousand more than this household.
Usually, I would restrain myself from saying all this, because I know how sensitive you are but you know what? Today is a special day so I will think about myself. I don’t care if you feel attacked or hated anymore because you don’t believe me when I say I don’t.
I love you. And that’s why I was harsher with you.
Dad doesn’t care. He doesn’t realize what he is saying, what he’s doing and he doesn’t understand anyone’s feelings. So it was utterly useless to tell him how his constant departures and cowardice affected me. But I thought I would get to you by attacking you.
I thought you would try to take a step toward me. I thought that if my cries couldn’t reach you, that if I couldn’t bring myself to talk, my cruel irony could. It was unfair.
I am sorry.
Now that I am gone, it is too late. But don’t worry, it was too late long ago, so don’t feel too bad about that. What is done is done, at least I had Morgan and the others.
Oh, right…about that. Yeah, I do not want us to be in contact anymore. That’s why I told you you should probably find a chair. By now, I should have caught a plane towards Washington DC and finally did what I should have done years ago. I accepted a job as a contributor for a big newspaper in DC, and I will no longer be your nurse. You will need to figure out for yourself what went wrong with your life because I decided I would no longer suffer for you.
So don’t worry about me.
I didn’t write you this letter to scold you, even if it looks like some kind of curse sent by a crazy angry ghost full of hatred. I wrote you because I think that now that I left, you can finally achieve your dream. The dream you’ve been contemplating for decades.
Go. Go and don’t look back.
Go meet people who are going to make you happy to be alive, meet friends who will make you realize how amazing you are. They will help you become someone new.
It is not too late for you to be happy.
You were a strong woman, my forever model of honesty and altruism before all this shit happened. You don’t need Dad and god, you certainly don’t need me. So go for new adventures and don’t come back for anyone. Ian will understand, he’s a big guy now.
You are funny, curious, sensitive, curious, and dynamic. You will drag the world to you, don’t just be the audience of your own life. Get the control back.
This is the last letter I am writing you and I am telling you:
I. Forgive. You.
Maybe it’s time to forgive yourself for your mistakes and stop living for the jerks around you. None of them deserve your gentleness. You might not understand why I went away, but believe me: I am doing this for both of our sakes.
I had nothing left to give you but darkness and regrets, so we are just growing apart for the better. When we’ll finally meet, we’ll be family again. Because I am finally free.
I hope you will get to know this feeling one day.
Love you, forever and ever