I love you so dearly. You dedicate everything you have to our family. But your sickness, it wears me down.
Growing up with it, I never realized it was not normal. I never realized it was unhealthy – your obsession with your beauty and your weight – starving, changing. Your insecurities, how could they not have an effect.
You still cannot see the effect you have on your own daughters. Behaviors we have picked up from observation. We have inherited your pain, your sickness, and your obsession.
I was twelve when it started, but you never knew. You still don’t know. You never will. I never lost enough weight for you to notice. I don’t even know the point at which you ever would. You were so blinded by your own obsession that you could not see the effects it was having on me. I was twelve.
And it is an obsession. It consumes, and it destroys. Piece by piece I can feel it consume me, sometimes faster, sometimes slower. Preventing experiences, creating darkness. Sometimes I get lost in that darkness, but you don’t know that, I’ve learnt to hide it.
Days at a time spent fighting my own mind, maintaining control, trying to ignore the gnawing obsession rising from within, taunting and jeering. Until I let it take over, and I am drowning once more: the desperation, the fear, the loneliness, the loss of control.
Over and over and over again, I’m stuck on endless repeat.
Just once more, just let it take over one more time, give up control just once more – then you’ll never do it again. But that’s never true, it’s never the last time. And when it’s over I’m left an empty shell, filled by an all-consuming hatred of myself, my weakness, my lack of control. Why can’t I just stay in control.
Every day is a battle, in this never-ending war that I’m fighting by myself because you have lost your own war. Your denial makes you unable to come to my aid. Unable to teach me how to fight. Unable to teach me how to live with my demons.
I want to break down and ask you how to make it stop. But you don’t know. I want to be held and told it’s okay, but you can’t bring yourself to understand. Because to acknowledge my sickness means you would have to acknowledge your own, and I know that will never happen.
Mum, I love you, but this sickness that’s destroying me from within is your legacy. But it’s one I will not pass on to my daughters. I will take control. I will learn to fight. I will learn to love myself despite my darkness, the way I am able to love you.