Back around 1990 you told me never to ask you for anything again, because you put me on one of your credit cards and I spent a thousand or two more than you had in mind. And then decades later you stole my guitar and gave it away, and never told me until I asked. There are other examples.
I don’t know how to negotiate asking you for anything. The rules seem clear: never ask you for anything, and what’s mine is yours. It’s all yours, and you can take it away any time you want.
So. I have worked on learning to live without. This is my job. This is my art. The better I get at living without, the more likely I will survive the next surprise. The less I need, the less I can live with, the more I have.
I know you don’t see it this way. But it’s how I have learned to see it. My work is, ultimately, not to need anything, because it’s the only way to avoid the leash.
I don’t mean to say this is logical, or sensible, or anything like that. Just that this is the person I have become. One whose job is primarily to avoid the leash.
I wish it wasn’t like this, and there is more to me. You know that. You have been very kind, you have been endlessly supportive. But the leash is always there.
I don’t know why I allow this. It’s a bit of a sad deal, this tawdry mess, these broken dreams. These shells breaking under my feet across the floor, these alarming early morning sorrows. Why do you own this. Why do I let you. Why didn’t I make something else where you couldn’t get in.
I should have left decades ago. I should have chewed through the leash, broken a few teeth in the process. I should have ran until I could not run anymore.
I did run, but I didn’t run far enough. I’ll never get rid of you. You’ll die before me, perhaps, and you’ll still be there harping at me like a cockatoo on my shoulder, pointing stuff out, being corrective, chirping. You’ll never go away.
I am stuck with you forever and ever. What to make of this? The brilliant advice you gave me, the obvious fact that you never gave up on me, that you never wanted to end this communication?
You are my mother. I can’t fix this. It’s not a thing that can be fixed or even needs fixing. We just are, mother and daughter. Stuck.
“Going Home to Mother”