A Letter To My Parents
Dear Mom and Dad,
Why do I call you that, “Mom” and “Dad”? When was the point were I no longer felt comfortable to call you “Momma” or “Daddy”? Did you even notice when I stopped?
Are you proud of our family? Is this what you imagined when you married each other, this group of people that everyone else calls a family? I remember how I felt the world drop from under me when I first realized: we are not a normal family. Have you ever thought that before? Did you feel disappointed if you did, that you both failed at “normal”?
I guess we are normal on the outside. On the outside, I bet we look great. You both stayed married even though I had wished you didn’t. We have that nice suburban house, that big back yard. We have the dogs, we have the granite counter-tops and the wooden floors. You both have nice, respectable careers that gave us money for family vacations. No one was a drug addict, no one drank. No one smiled for long, but we learned to cover that up, didn’t we? “Try smiling more, ____.” “Speak up more, ___.” “What’s wrong with you? Why do you look so mopey?” Why didn’t you ever ask me what was wrong instead of trying to correct me, Dad? Why did you think yelling at me would make me more comfortable?
Give up on us being close, Dad; stop trying. Even on your good days, we are just too different. And on your bad days I just wish I could disappear. Why don’t you just go to the doctor so you can hear the words? “Bipolar” would be better than everyone just thinking you’re an asshole. Why can’t you ever think about anyone else’s feelings?
Why don’t you take me seriously, Mom? Why didn’t you hug me after I came out as bi to you? Why didn’t you see my show last month? Why must I always put on the brave face when you hurt my feelings? Why am I afraid to say certain things to you? You’re my best friend sometimes, and my idol all of the time. I just wish I knew you were proud of me.
Mom and Dad, don’t you care that we never have family dinners? Don’t you care that no one has real conversations with each other? Doesn’t it make you sad that we are all strangers?
It makes me sad that I can’t really ask you these questions. It makes me sad that I base my ideal future family off of everything we are not. It’s not enough to give me a comfortable home and raise me with morals, I wanted a family. I wanted love, real love, without obligations. It makes me sad that I want to move away from you all so I don’t have to come home to the sadness and guilt.
I don’t want to be sad. I want a real conversation, even if it means that you will hate me. I don’t want to hurt you guys, but I don’t want to keep hurting either. I wish I wasn’t writing this.
You should have hugged me and told me you loved me more. You should have talked to me more, showed more interest, more compassion. You should have cared that your children hardly speak to each other, you should have wanted them to grow up as themselves, not your ideal version of what a son and daughter should be.
I love you both, but I can’t stand our family. Maybe this is just the type of love that’s not made to be together. Maybe it’s just better if we spend our lives apart. Maybe I should just tell people I belong to a family that’s someplace far from where I am. That’s not what I want, but maybe it’s what I need.