Mothers Day: The Letter that Can’t Be Sent
This is a guest post by N.N.S. who is based in the Mid-West and is currently stuck in a management position, hoping to get back to his computer science roots!
Hi Mom, this is the letter I would give anything to write to you but cannot because of the secrets I’ve held for over a decade now. There is no one in this world I love more in this world, though I probably love dad and my adorable little niece just as much. I know that you also love me and have always sought out what you felt was the best for me with every action you’ve taken on my behalf. Just a few months ago you noticed I was distressed as you always have. I can fake a smile for the rest of the world but there is little that escapes your careful gaze.
You asked me what was wrong and what you could do to help. You asked me to let you in but I couldn’t as I haven’t for over a decade now and instead I brushed it off as minor issues that I would resolve. All in all I couldn’t ask for a more loving mother because I can’t imagine such a thing even exists. Time really does fly as it almost seems like yesterday that I still lived at home and tried to tell you that my beliefs had changed. Before I could finish my conversation with you I noticed the horror in your eyes. If that were the only issue I felt you could get over it but during our long conversation I saw something else develop. It was the early stages of a deep sense of loss.
This was when I had that moment of clarity that would shape our relationship years to come. If I had finished telling you what I had originally intended from that conversation; I realized then that I would be lost to you forever. That your beliefs are so ingrained in your mind that it shapes your entire world view. In your eyes I would be lost not only in this life but the next for all of eternity. I would be dead in your world and there is little that can cause you more depression then that. So then and there I resolved that I would keep my beliefs or lack thereof a secret. This was the only method I could use to protect our relationship even if it became a shadow of its former self.
I looked at the world anew for when the base constants that run the world change so does your perception of nearly everything. As an idealist and a believer I never broke the vows of my beliefs but now many of those rules, which were created by men over a millenium ago, simply lost their reason for adherence. My moral compass has been completely changed and my new ideals are still evolving. Many of things we considered forbidden were now open to me as they had been for my peers all along. It took some time internalizing what was once improper and immoral to be normal and natural. I had fallen behind and had to play catch-up on all the time lost. It was an exhilarating new world with much I had to learn but it was all a secret from those who used to know me best. As the years went by and I was adjusting to my new self and found myself more and more separated from you but I have never loved you less.
But it was hard being a pretender day in and day out, reminded of our five daily prayers, lying about where I would go, the people I would see, the things I would do, and most importantly the things that I felt. We had arguments but it was never about the real underlying issues because you never knew what that was for I didn’t want you to worry about such a horrifying thing again. I never thought before that I would be dishonest to two people who love and trust me so much. Two hard working people that have given me so much since the day I was born. To keep my sanity I moved out knowing that I would not only lose all financial support from the family and the social consequences from the community but that it would hurt you. It was confirmed when I saw the tears on the day I left but I knew then it was necessary to continue exploring the new path I set myself on and relieve us both of the stress that resulted in my new views. I could not walk down the path that you had set down for me no matter how much I didn’t want to hurt you. Despite the ultimatums, threats, and withdrawal of all financial support you couldn’t hold back your true nature. Within a few weeks you asked me how I’m doing and still cooked my favorite foods just the way I like them even though some of these recipes take hours and hours. Over the years I’ve realized or perhaps I’ve always known that you are happier when you can do something for us, your children, rather than for yourself. My world has since had a firewall that only a handful could cross. It was created to protect you and father from all that you considered unholy and forbidden but boringly normal to the people of the country we’ve moved in to. Email accounts, social media, and even people were on different side of that firewall that less than a handful could cross.
Over the years I’ve found myself keeping secrets again from not only you and those on your side of the firewall but even from friends. Last year I found someone that made me feel like I have not ever felt before. It became a long distance relationship but we talked to each other throughout the day nearly every day and we found a way to spend nearly every weekend together even if we had to drive hours. But we knew the distance would grow larger near the end to the point that one of us would have to fly every weekend. There were also glaring issues and differences we ignored for a while because of what we felt for each other. At the end my heart was torn in a crippling way I didn’t know was possible. My attempts to bury it and internalize as I usually do had failed and for the first time I let some people in. It was just bits and pieces but I suppose it’s a start. You noticed something was wrong as well and wanted to know how you could help. But I couldn’t tell you as I hadn’t even told you the relationship even existed. In fact I took steps to make sure you couldn’t know or anyone on your side of the firewall for in our community these things spread faster than wildfire.
I’m growing tired of the secrets and dream of a world where that won’t be necessary. I’ve tried many times over the last decade. I have been probing for weaknesses so as to find a way to open your mind to at least accept my new beliefs, even if you couldn’t change yours. Instead you and most of the family had continued down your path of becoming more conservative. A few years ago I had another rather dangerous theoretical discussion with dad where he told me that if I stopped believing I wouldn’t have a father. In all the paths I see for the future, I do not see one that allows me to be as honest with my feelings as I once was without shattering your heart. Perhaps if you were a terrible mother or even a less loving one this would be something I could do. As it stands I cannot because I love you too damn much…But I’ve decided to be a little less secretive, at least with the people on this side of the firewall, and take more risks, while I continue to hope.