Replying to a Text from Mother

I haven’t written much in a while. I spent a lot of time sick after my burst of energy that led to a few posts in April, and the fact that my living situation and family situations are in flux didn’t help me spare the energy to stay caught up on the blog. One of the things that I did that took so much energy was wading through Mother’s Day. To give you an idea how traumatic it is, I’m just now able to write about it after having processed it all.

One of the things that happened that weekend was that I got a text from my mother, who I have been no contact with for six months. It’s not the first text she sent me, and this isn’t the first time I have gone no contact. We did not speak from the time I was sixteen until I was twenty-six. This time, I stopped communicating because after a year of being out to her as a transgender woman, she insisted on mourning her “son” out loud to me and she became verbally abusive when I pointed out her bad behavior.

I did not reply to her text just before Mother’s Day, because I saw it as a feeble attempt to get attention on a day that she feels should revolve around her, but I also have not been able to move on from it. Since I will not text her back, I thought it would be best to leave the message here, in the hopes that someone else in a similar situation could benefit from it.

The Text

“You are loved so very much and YOUR LIFE IS A MASTERPIECE. Please accept my humble apologies for not being a better mother. I’m doing the best I can.”

The Response

Your text reads like a sincere statement of love, and that’s why it’s so dangerous for me to trust it. The fact is, you’re the least reliable and least trustworthy person in my life, and a large part of the reason why I am going to spend the rest of my days recovering from both post traumatic stress disorder and the effects of testosterone damage. Your religious views, your steadfast refusal to actually do the things you know other people need, and your lazy excuses for your own weakness are beyond what I can forgive.

Let’s cut right to the chase. When I came back at twenty-six, I was already forgiving you for physical, mental, and sexual assaults against me. You were the one who forced me to learn gender by rote recitation of anatomy, who lived in a world of prescribed roles that made it so that transition felt like a death sentence, who threatened me with sadistic stories of people my own age being tortured and abused as a way of attempting to impart some kind of cautionary knowledge to me.

You hung my father in effigy and then knocked me to the ground when I ran home screaming because I just saw him, feet dangling, in the front yard. You told me to stop being a baby and pretending it hurt.

You groped me when I was 12, claiming you needed to check on the results of the genital surgery I’d had when I was a kid.

My vaccination and medical records ended before puberty, and I wasn’t in a place in life to get them restarted again until I was 35.

When I was a teenager, you continuously harassed my friends and the people I was dating, talking out loud about how we were too young to be capable of forming the relationships and bonds we clearly formed while we were within earshot, because that is how little you view other people as actual people while you are chattering away in your ignorant, self-imposed, self-absorbed bubble.

When I came back, it was because I intended to transition. I wanted to know you as a daughter, and I wanted you to see that I had weathered a lifetime of battle damage to come back to you, ready for our relationship to be honest even if it was not perfect. For two years while I fought to get to a position where I would have health insurance and I could afford to access medical transition, I was inundated with the message that anything you did to hurt me was not your fault, because you were mentally ill. At the same time, while I was trying to talk to you about my own problems, you used every excuse not to support me or hear about how difficult my life had been because there were “some things a mother doesn’t need to know about.”

I failed to find a job that would allow me to transition for years, and only gained the ability to safely come out when the Affordable Care Act passed. During that stretch of time, while I was attempting to build a relationship with you and help you to understand and know me, I was constantly inundated with the message that there were some things I couldn’t know because “only women can understand.” I get that you didn’t know who I really was at the time, but you have to understand the amount of sheer damage I took listening to that pathetic excuse for dismissing me when I tried to explain why you were saying things that were hurting other girls and women in the family. Even if you thought I was your son, the fact that you would rather dismiss me than learn how to hurt other women less was inexcusable.

Not to mention the fact that most of what you were trying to say I couldn’t understand was stuff about sexual assault, and I have news for you: I do understand it. Not just the fear of it. I have understood it since I was a child. Not only did I experience it then, but also as a teenager, and in my twenties, and again when I first came out as trans. But I’ve never used my experience as a reason to excuse my shitty behavior toward other women.

When I left, it was not just because you decided to mourn your son and demand my support. Truth be told, if you had done that when I first came out to you, I would have understood. It was because you spent a year telling me I didn’t look like a woman, expressing disbelief in the idea that I would change as much as I thought I would, and doing nothing–absolutely nothing–to actually learn how LGBT culture works, what language is respectful, or even how to ask questions without using the bigoted terms of your shithead conservative culture.

So after a year of that, I walked. You have spent your entire life voting for policies designed to suppress and kill people like me. The politicians you support because an abusive bigot with an MD is in the family and shouts at you to do so are the ones who literally want me dead. They’re the ones who voted to end my healthcare. They are the ones shutting down clinics that provide women’s healthcare to working class women because they are “abortion clinics.” They are the ones covering up the assault of children. They are your “family values” leaders.

I have spent my entire life trying to convince you that the only way to love me is to walk out on that entire abusive shitpile and start over with me, your child.

You did not love me enough to do that.

You had enough chances.

Please stop texting me, because the life you have is the one you always acted like you wanted. I’m not going to keep hanging around to convince you that you are a good person. You’re not, and you haven’t done a damn thing in 35 years to show me you’re trying.

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About Athena the Architect 9 Articles
Athena the Architect is a self-professed strategic genius and subverbal beat poet. Her preferred mode of thinking is rhythmic and visual, and it was her guiding vision that determined the course and structure of The US Book. As a contributor to Cyborg Workshop, Athena writes poetry and co-writes articles on kink and on gender.

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