To mum

in family


There are many things that I’ve wanted to say to you for years. I’ve tried to say some of it, now and again, but it always seems to come out wrong; usually someone will get their back up; or you stonewall me; or you get upset and Jennifer drags herself into the conversation to defend you.

It’s become frustration piled atop frustration: frustration that I cannot connect with you on top of my frustration with the other stuff. I’m sat here with a head full of Unresolved Life Stuff. This sucks for both of us, because I want to connect with you as much as (I think) you do me. So, yeah, let’s get on with this.

First, I took all the bad feelings I had for dad and dumped them onto you. While Jennifer and Frank have both expressed ambivalence toward, I’ve only ever had bad. I didn’t even blink when he died, you know. Currys had to convince me to take the time off work. I remember Jenn raged at me that night because I gave a vide game more time than I did you. My biggest thought at the funeral, when they closed up the coffin and stuck him in the ground, was ‘why is everyone upset?’ I couldn’t understand why anyone would miss him (and still don’t, for that matter).

So, the thing about this is, as I’ve said, that I’ve transferred all the hate onto you because how are you supposed to get resolution out of someone when they’re dead? When I look back to when I was a child, I see someone who did their best in good faith, but still managed to fall short. You failed to protect me, to nurture me. I fell through every crack there was to fall through, and got told I was stupid to boot. It took me ten years as an adult to start to realise that, yes, I’m smart! I’ve taught myself how to program. I’ve learned mathematics, composition, critical thinking, photography and graphic design.

Second, recognition. Like, fuck, I just want an unqualified pat on the back from you. I want a ‘well done Mark’ without any conditions, umms, errs, or other idiot remarks about how I could be a college professor if I hard worked harder in school. Who the shit do you think I think shares in the blame for that?!

I’ve always felt you don’t get me. At all; the science fiction and math and Middle-Earth and code and Americans and weird Internet friends confuse the fuck out of you. And you mum, at a deep-down level, reject what you don’t understand. I’m the same because I don’t care to leave off bits of myself. Two minds, one body, heh. My point is: we don’t see eye to eye on any topic. This has led you to discount my accomplishments.

This all matters to me because I’m at a bad spot in my life with no way out. I’m alienated from you, never speak to Frank, and Jennifer calls me a dickhead on the second Tuesday of every month. On the other side of the family, the Orc remains a cunt, Caira speaks to me like twice a year, and Garrett loves me to death as far as I can tell.

On the third side of the family, Eadaoin and I are on the rocks because I cheated on her in June. And then lied and lied and lied, and then treated her like crap in a general sort of way.

I’ve done bad stuff, mum. It isn’t just Eadaoin, but also Mariah and my kids and my friends. Fuck, we all agree Mariah is an awful woman, but you need to remember my treatment too: The first words out of my mouth when she told me she was pregnant was ‘get an abortion.’ You should remember this; you were the one she phoned up at midnight. I didn’t want that thing in her belly, a fact I made clear with my ostracization of my wife over the next four or five months.

And all the times Mariah hit me? I hit back every time, and most of the times she lashed out it was because I was an obstinate asshole.

My kids? Hit them, lost them. Lost myself for a while too along the way.

My friends? I had sex with Holly for the sake of sex with Holly. The truth was I had no attraction to Holly n the first place, but sex is sex.

Dad showed me that violence and lies and abuse are acceptable in relationships, and you showed me that a partner will accept it.

I grew up abused and neglected, got further abused along the way, and I pay it forward now that I’m an independent adult in my own right. I know that I do it, when I do it and how I do it, and as much as I want to stop, I fall back into the same patterns over and again.

I’m a genius-level fuck-up. I can name all the stars in the sky and planets around the sun. I can even navigate by them in a pinch…except for my morals, which, when given the chance, will go whatever way the wind blows.

I want to change. As it stands now, I have a shit past, an uncertain present and a gloomy future. I want to change. I want to just talk to you as a first step. You and me. We sit down with a tea and coffee and talk about my childhood. I don’t think we can ever mend all the bridges. Maybe we can fix up one or two.

I love you, I worry about you, and I get upset because you won’t leave Prospect Hill any more than I’ll come down from the moon.


Six Months in the Mountain Kingdom

in me

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