Another Year Without You
Here we are 2 days deep into 2019, its 4:30 in the morning here in Los Angeles, and I am sitting on my bed with my dog, writing bullshit again. But, this isn’t bullshit, I only call it that because it’s easier for me to deal with if I do.
I don’t know where I get my blue eyes from. I do know that they are beautiful. I have to assume that they must have come from my father as my mother has greenish hazel colored eyes. I must also get my cleft chin from my father….my father. I know nothing about him. He is the hidden secret in my life, I am the secret child he was never to know about. My name was kept from him and his from me.
As a child I wanted to know my father so desperately that I would scour through the white pages in the phone book looking for him, even though I had no idea who I was even looking for. I would listen to my mothers conversations with her friends so closely and try to piece together who he was. For a time I believed his name was Roger, that he lived in Anchorage, and that he was a twin. I got this information from pictures that I looked at in my moms old photo album back from the time that I would have been concieved. None of it was true.
In my 20s I would ask my grandmother, my auntie, my childhood babysitter. They all had the same answer for me. “Angie, I don’t know, and even if I did know it wouldn’t be my place to tell you”. So I was swimming in a sea of wonder, and not the kind that made you feel good. Finally in my 40's I gave up the search. I somehow stopped caring that half of who I am was a mystery . I didn’t care that the rumors of my father were that of a rock star who was made famous in my home state of Minnesota. My uncle was his tour manager back in the late 60’s and early 70’s. Who knows, but at this point I don’t care anymore. I know who I am and I got here without my father, I am sure I will continue to function just fine without him for the rest of my life as well. But, none of that is why I am writing this. I am writing this to my mom.
My mom. You could ask ten different people about my mom and get ten different answers. Some would say she is kind and loving, some would say that she is a thief, some would say that she is manupulative, some would say that she was a gold digger, I would say that she is not deserving of my love.
We stopped speaking to one another in 2012. It has been 7 years now since I have spoke to her, since I have let her go, since she finally got to let go of me. She tried most of her life to pawn me off to whomever would take over her leading role of mother of the year, and maybe she finally realized that after I became a fully functioning adult she didn’t have to hold on anymore. Or maybe she just didn’t give a fuck all along.
Either way, I live my life without parents, and honestly I have lived most of my life that way. The things that have happened in my life have been nothing short of crazy, and honestly, most people wouldn’t have walked away from it even half as sane as I did, but here I am, 2 days into 2019, and I have a few things to say to my mother.
First, I am fine without you. And as you ask yourself “If you are fine without me then why are you writing this?” here is the simple answer. I am writing this because I think it is only fair that I get to tell my mother my acomplishments and failures in 2018. She brought me into this world, and I think that she deserves to know she didn’t fail in that aspect of her life. I am here, I am resilient as fuck, and I am not shy about who I am.
Here are the words I would say to my mother if I spoke to her now. None of them would matter to her, but it matters to me that someone reads them, even if it is not her. We all need validation of who we are and what we accomplish, and most of us get that from our parents. I don’t have parents. I have never had parents. I had grandparents who loved me and somewhat looked after me until I turned 14, and then I was on my own.
I want her to know that in 2018 I moved back to California from Seattle. Seattle was cold and lonely, it rained more than it didn’t, my dreams were filled with stories of death and sadness, and my heart was not healed from the loss of my friend. I left Los Angeles in 2017 to move to Seattle to leave the grief I felt in LA, but I returned with a pure heart that was more open and healed. Seattle did a few good things for me, and one of them was give me the time and space I needed to heal from the pain I had endured in 2015 when I lost one of my best friends. My mother wasn’t there for that either. I wonder what it would have been like to have had a strong woman who I looked up to help me figure out how to overcome a pain that was so great it almost took my own life. I will never know the answer to that. My mother was never a strong woman for me, she was selfish and only cared of herself.
I would want her to know that I decided my career in art would flourish. I wasn’t going to hide my talent anymore. I wasn’t going to half ass it. I found my inner peace and I started creating art that got into the hands of people that I never imagined it would. I have pro skateboarders riding on decks that I created. My art hangs on the walls of people that I once only watched on television or listened to on the radio. My art was used for good, it was used to donate to underprivileged kids that wouldn’t otherwise have a custom skateboard deck, it was accepted into art shows, it saved my life.
In early 2018 I started letting go of people that served no purpose in my life. By that, I mean that I let go of people that used me. People who were not available to me unless they needed something. I let go of people who constantly talk about themselves and never talk of the world around them. I let go of negative and I found positive to replace the people that I lost. Because of how I was raised, never really knowing how long people would stay in my life, never really getting attached to anyone, anything, or any place because nothing was ever stable in life for me, I never wanted to let go of anyone no matter how toxic they were. 2018 changed that for me. I let go of a fuck ton of people, and I have been just fine without them. As a matter of fact, I am doing better than I ever have.
By mid 2018 I realized who I was and who I wanted to be for the first time ever. I mean, I have always had dreams, goals, wishes, but I realized that I could make those dreams, goals, and wishes come true, and I did. I became more assertive, I spoke my mind more, I fell more in love with my husband because I took the barriers down that I had placed up because I was never really sure if he would stick around. I think he proved he isn’t going anywhere, and I finally recognized that and embraced it. I lived my truth.
In 2018 I was able to spend time with the people that mean the most to me. I flew back home to Minnesota to see my friends, and my friends flew to California to see me. I went to Coachella. I decided Beyonce is overrated (and while I am on that topic, hey Bey, you can’t pay the women who make your clothing line poverty wages, yet empower women in the US. It makes no sense to me. I see through you lil miss sunshine.) In 2018 I surfed more often, I dug my toes into the sand on days when I felt like I needed to recharge, I swam with sharks, I became a shark, I recognized both the good and the evil in myself and learned how to use both in a positive way.
And here I am, 2 days into 2019, and I am reflecting. In 2018 I thought of you. My mother. The woman who gave birth to me, yet gave up on me almost from day one. Had it not been for my grandmother I do not think I would have made it past the age of 5. I remember the things that were done to me as a child, those things do not leave your memories. I remember the sexual abuse that I suffered at the hands of the men that you allowed into your home, into your bed, and into mine. I remember the emotional abuse from you, and those same men. But more importantly what I focus on now, and what I try to choose to remember is the feeling I would get when I would go to my grandparents and I was treated with love. I was treated as if I mattered. I was shown love.
When I think of you, Mother, I think of sadness. How sad it must be for you to be so alone, in a small town in North Dakota, most of your family is gone now. How lonely it must feel for you to live the lie that you do, to tell the untruths that you tell to people, to speak from a place that has no depth, no heart, no understanding of loyalty. I think of your last days and how you might spend them. I think about if I will get the phone call, as your only child, telling me about your passing, wanting me to make the arrangements, acting like I give a shit that you are gone. I won’t. I will not make your end of life decisions, I will not choose a retirement home for you, I will not make your funeral arrangements, I will not attend your funeral. I have already made those decisions and I have made them with a pure heart. You made the choices that you made, and in turn these are my reactions to your choices. Please know that I am not saying I am perfect and that I have done no wrong, but I have come to peace with who I once was because of you, and who I am now because of me.
2018 was a beautiful year for me, and I honestly can not wait to see what 2019 brings. This is my annual letter to the woman I am supposed to call mother. This is the 5th year I have written a letter, and I am certain that it won’t be the last. I wish her nothing but peace and love, I wish her the chance to reconcile with herself for closure. I wish her the wisdom to stop hiding behind religion and behind her own lies. I wish her well.
And to those of you who are in the same place with your parents, for those of you that have made the decision that cutting ties is healthier than living with the pain of someone who doesn’t treat you well, I hope that you continue to remain strong, that you seek out therapy to help you heal, and that you continue to be brave, kind, and loyal to yourself. It is OK to let go of a parent when they are toxic. It is OK to love yourself enough to do that.
Happy 2019. Make it a great year.