An Open Letter To My Mother That She Won’t Read

Onyx Contributor:  H.T. (@517RedHood), Podcast:  Lansing Anti-Hero

Dear mom,

Seeing as it’s been a full 25 years of me being your son, I think it’s time I said what I’ve been trying to say to you for years but has remained either ignored or filibustered out of discussion.

I still do not appreciate that you decided to disrespect a very close friend of mine by saying my brother wouldn’t be okay around her by saying you didn’t want to see me “whoring around with some girl”.  I can tell you with absolute confidence that if she knew a child was going to be here, let alone MY BROTHER, she’d cover up, she wouldn’t in any way be suggestive or inappropriate with him or me in front of him.  She DEFINITELY wouldn’t be sexual with me in any way with him at my place.  You know why?  Because she’s a mother herself.  You ripped on her being a bad mother for leaving HER daughter with her child’s FATHER.  Keep in mind, when she was staying here, not a day went by that she didn’t call her to see how she was doing or sent something to her.  But yeah call her a bad mom for spending time with men and letting her daughter spend time with her father.  Let’s all forget the PARADE of men you had over YOUR house when I was growing up.  Let’s forget that you gave my father shit for wanting to spend time with me and for dating other women.

As I said before, she was actually responsible for helping me feel BETTER about me and my life.  If it wasn’t for her, I’d still be working a job I hated and that you believed I should have kept.  When It comes to the friends I’ve made in recent years, many have helped me be a MUCH better and more well adjusted person.  Bellamy to this day is a good listening ear for my problems and a VERY good source for advice on how to overcome the biggest obstacle that is myself.  Alexis could be seen as a bit curt at times, but as far as a friend goes, she has told me what I NEED to hear and not what I want to hear.  Glenn showed me that no matter what obstacle within you you face, you can find a way to befriend the world around you and be happy.  Dennis was homeless and living on my couch but in two months had a job, his own place, and was on the road to now being married with a child.  Jamie-Lynn despite YEARS of watching me crash and burn has in the simplest way calmed me down and showed me that working hard does not mean I have to work crazy.  Red simply taught me to believe in myself after years of you pumping me with self doubt.  And the list goes on and on.  Keep in mind, all these people are gainfully employed, all have no priors, and all are VERY good examples of what a healthy adult life looks like.  You seem to always draw comparisons between me and my best friend Mayson.  Fact is, despite the fact that Mayson HIMSELF will tell you that his upbringing wasn’t easy either, and that it was MUCH harder than my own, the reason he grew into a better adult is because his mother was and is, kind, caring, understanding, patient and when It came to women, she fostered a personality in him that is charismatic and easy-going.  Then theres you.

I just want you to recognize my agency.  Just because I have a mental illness and made mistakes here and there, this does not mean I need you to intervene with aspects of my life I can EASILY handle myself.  The reason you wanted me to keep my last job despite it killing my will to live was because you could go in and tell them not to have me working too many hours at what ever point you felt was a problem and they’d listen.  Never mind that to make up for the lost hours of work, I had to lose out on having a social life or even get back to going to school because due to YOU messing with my hours, I fell behind on my bills and other things.  Seriously, you CAN’T go into my job and tell them to change my hours for a medical reason I don’t even tell them about or negatively affects my performance most of the time.  Not only does it make me look unprofessional, but I lose credibility in front of my boss if and when I want say, a promotion or a raise.

You really did have a tendency to raise me with a paradigm that viewed regular and healthy sexual/romantic behaviors as wrong and almost as evil.  Seriously, you made me feel bad for vocally saying girls were pretty.  You beat me for just getting erections.  You snatched me up and just…leered at me if I even looked at a woman or girl too long.  Even before I understood what masturbation was, you were always accusing me of doing it.  You verbally emasculated me in front of girls I liked because you felt I wasn’t good enough for them or that they were beneath me.  And when it came time to teach me about the actual reproductive process, you flipped out at dad for showing me a tape that was scientifically accurate while YOU gave me a speech where literally the only correct thing you said was to not use sex to manipulate women or to substitute love.  The rest was a bunch of fire and brimstone dogma about how sex and temptation would be the death of me and that sex with any woman who wasn’t a virgin was a risk for diseases that would eat my brain, and how I needed to be a man of means before I started having sex as birth control can’t be trusted and women will use me for a free ride.  Seriously, I’ve had therapists tell me that it’s amazing I didn’t become the next Ed Gein, Ted Bundy, or John Wayne Gacy because you were and are callous, judgemental, obtuse and ill-tempered.  You ushered me into a life built on authoritarianism, conformity, respectability politics, and a little internalized misandry to top and bottom it off.  You raised me to have a personality that was built on anxiety, self-doubt and conformity BECAUSE your ideal for raising me to be a “gentleman” can only be concluded from my perspective as being built out of years of known issues with various men you’ve been involved with.  Seriously, every guy you’ve pointed out to me that you knew growing up or dated looked like they lived a life I didn’t want but you wanted it.

I love you, but seriously, I can’t live like this anymore.  You are literally the only family member I have that thinks and acts like this and now its a problem.  I write all this because frankly I just want to get it all out of my head where it can be heard beyond me and so I can be beyond it all.  I want to grow, but I also wish you would stop praying for me and start LISTENING.

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