Dear mother – I’ll be the first to admit it: when you gave birth to me 27 years ago, you didn’t quite receive a normal child. It snowed on that June day, and your eldest daughter turned out to be highly gifted. The years passed by, and your child had no interest in dating, or hanging with the cool kids, or homemaking, or whatnot – and the years passed by even further, and your child experienced something of a meltdown; being the caretaker of not only 3 other adults, but also herself, was starting to take its toll. It took oceans of tears, a broken heart and university admission to finally get your daughter back on track again. And even now, the detractors don’t just cease into nothingness. Mom, this is just who I am. My well-intentioned observations are misunderstood as sermons by the world, my absent-mindedness misunderstood as deficiency, my standards in men spat upon with a sardonic, “she has such a high opinion of herself”, my feminism derided as “childish”. Yes, mom, comparing myself to my acquaintances and my friends, I can safely say that I lack in worldly success, in accolades, in normalcy. But let me paraphrase Aristotle right here: only in death you will not be criticized. Let’s embrace my controversiality, then – what do you think? Instead of fearing what our family says of my “strange hobbies” and interest in anime, why not pride yourself in producing original offspring? Instead of being afraid for my professional future, why not let me shoulder that fear on my own? Instead of grieving over my singlehood, why not call me the New Jeanne d’Arc? As the doctor said 5 years back – “someone gave you a new chance to live” – after confirming the cancer hadn’t metastasized yet. Every single day I ask myself what that was for. A new chance? What for, when my destiny got lost in the mishmash of destinies at the beginning of all time? When even Heaven itself does not know what I was born for? I didn’t ask to come into the world, but I’m trying to make the best out of what I was given. Let’s make the best out of it together.
I often lie awake at night, trying to calm a terrified heart.
Mom, I promise I try hard. Every single day. But I lack direction. Everything gets taken away from me. Everything. I…
I don’t know.
But there is one thing worse than nightmares, and that is playing by rules other wrote for me. Mom, your daughter is like a butterfly. She jumps from cloud to cloud, philosophizes with the sun, chases after the stars. She makes herself comfortable on the surface of the moon.
Mom, I love you, and that’s all that I know to do.