I Wish She Would’ve Taught Me To French Braid My Hair

A woman with a braid closes her eyes with her head back in a botanical garden
Brooke Cagle / Unsplash

If you ask me what went wrong I could show you the exact day on the calendar; the minute I was born, I know that for her, everything went downhill.

For years I felt guilty for being here, for being the link between her and the other side of my family. I felt guilty for a lot of things that a five-year-old shouldn’t even be thinking about.

But you are the reason why they all hate each other, it happened; you are here now and they all hate this. They hate you for being the living personification of the very word “burden”. Because that’s what you are. A burden to both sides of the family, a mistake. You are unwanted and you being alive only brings irritation and disturbance to them.

At times, when she had a little bit too much to drink, she would tell me how hurt this whole situation would make her. She would tell me that she’d rather leave than stay here and try to raise me. She would cry and I would comfort her. She couldn’t love me the way a mother would love her own child. No one noticed when hot tears streamed down my face, my back resting against the cold door.

When she looked at me, love and tenderness weren’t what I saw in her eyes. I saw all the wrong choices she made, all the things she regretted, everything she thought she missed out on. I saw disappointment and hatred. And that’s what was reflecting every time I looked into the mirror when I tried to self-taught how to french braid my hair.

I could tell the very sound of my name tasted like a failure on her lips, I felt it in the depths of my being. Years later I still dream about how cold she sounded each time she talked to me when nothing but love and adoration came out of her mouth when she addressed my half-brother.

See, she doesn’t love you. She said it herself. No one does. Why are you still trying?

I thought she was in pain because of me, I thought she was suffering because of me so I thought this was okay to endure it all.

The way I was treated back then made me who I am today; it’s sad that I couldn’t entirely overcome the ghosts of my past. I tried to build a healthy set of mind on rotten, unhealthy bases. It seems like the pillars that support my adult-life are so unstable that they’re ready to collapse at every given moment. The constant lack of self-confidence and self-love is all due to the mean words she would throw at my face. The discreet but still very distinct voices telling me, you don’t deserve to be loved, you are not worth anyone, you can’t do this, you are useless, are the product of her eyes colored with disdain and hate staring up and down at my younger self.

I already told you that I remember all that you’ve done, you already cried and apologized. But do you really think this is enough? That was your mistake, not mine. But you still punished me for it.

I know I’m strong enough to live with all of this and I will, because I can be a better person, a person who won’t follow your footprints. This is my past and I will make art out of it, just watch me.

I’m writing it all away today because I need to. I love you so much but I hate you. If you ever stumble upon this, just know that I’m sorryTC mark

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