Dear M.,

You confessed to me you never wanted children. I believe you. You confessed to me you are glad you had children anyway. I don’t believe you. Your first confession hurts me, but it doesn’t shock me because I know your second confession is a lie.

You’ve been a liar before I knew what a lie meant. When your promises were just future hopes not to be crushed violently under the weight of your reluctance to be what I needed you to be. When lies became your truths, and “the truth” became a second language you had no use for in a world of your own making that spoke only “M.ish”.

You’ve been a liar since I was a tiny me, before I knew better not to look to you, towards you, up to you to mirror my truths, to feel safe, to feel present, to feel love, to be loved. Since before I realized I was never your beloved. Before I realized I was loved passively, the way people say all mothers “naturally” love their daughters: by default. As if that is any kind of love to praise. Why praise a love that takes no effort? Should I praise a chair for keeping upright? A cat for having fur?

If you were glad you had children, M., I would have never felt the crush of resentment for my achievements. If you wanted children, M., I would have never felt like the person I truly am — the one you tried to keep shoved into the darkest corner of my unfed soul — was not good enough, was not enough, for you.

If you were glad you had children, M., I would feel part of the world. I would feel like an active participant, instead of a byproduct of a damaged person’s passive choice one evening decades ago. If you were glad you had children, M., your demons would not have bred, evolved and latched on to me, trying as they still do, to define me.

I hate you though it’s a socialized sacrilege. But like all taboos, it’s just a fact too heavy to admit in the light of day. It’s midday, M. I must say it because I own it: I hate you.

I hate that I’m still mourning who I could have been if you bothered to try. I hate who you still are, all these years later. I hate how weak and sad you are. I hate that I care about you. I hate that I hate you. I hate that I can’t bring myself to want to love you. I hate I don’t know if I know what love is.

Maybe I feel love once in a while, maybe I sense it in small moments of grace. Heaven in a wild flower. But, feel it? Know it? I couldn’t say. And if I could say, I wouldn’t say it to you because that would be a lie. I will not be the liar you tried to turn me into. The one who would never know and own her truth. The liar who lies because she believes her truth is not good enough…or not enough, period.

A truth is enough because it just is. Like the blue sky. A red dawn. A rain drop. A lie can never be enough because it begins as less than. Less than the truth. Less than what is. Like race and immortality.

We are all enough.

I am trying with Herculean effort to own every piece of pain inherited in our relationship. To own and walk through each. To then let go, one experience at a time, of the rage, the despair, the regret, the fear, the mysticism, the disappointments.

So, here is my confession to you, M: I will not love you before I love myself. I will not give you anymore of myself than I’ve spent my whole life giving. No more to the possibility of a better you and me. No more to a you loving me without conditions and regret. No more to present, curious, thoughtful you. No more.

Possibilities between two people can never be enough if only one person is willing to act on the dream. The dream is dead for me M. I am now wide awake. More awake than I have ever been. Awake enough to see that I am not a byproduct of your regret.

M., I am your truth, your false confession. And I am my truth, a whole soul finally fed and enlightened.