Artist credits: CherryAndSister

The world has not been very kind to you. I know you have gone through so many struggles, most of which I cannot begin to even fathom. You had to grow up much faster than your brothers. Along with your sisters, you had to assume parental roles at such an early age. You fought and cried and worked and struggled and hurt for so many years – you still do. I see that. I see you, Amma. I see the pain and the struggle in you. I see it in the way you yell at me to do better, to be better. I see it in the way you get aggravated by the tiniest issues. I see it in the way you shield me from the real world. I see it in the way you look at me.

But Amma, so have I. The world hasn’t been kind to me. I’ve had my own struggles. I’ve fought and cried and worked and struggled and hurt – not nearly for the same amount of time, but I’ve still experienced it. Our struggles are real. They are raw. They are painful. They leave us battered and bruised. But, most importantly, they are not a competition. You cannot compare your struggle to mine. You cannot invalidate my experiences because you’ve dealt with worse.

I know how much you’ve lost, Amma. I know you had to leave behind your family, your country, your familiarities, just so that you could give me the opportunity to live in a better world. Because of you, I was given opportunities I could not have if you had stayed home. I know this country isn’t home to you, no matter how long you’ve lived here. I know just how badly you want to turn back time and change some of the choices you’ve made. I know. I know. I know.

I love you; I really do. But I need you to realize that you are toxic. You are toxic in the way you threaten to kill yourself when I hurt you. You are toxic when you victim-blame me for things that are beyond my control. You are toxic in the way you find a way to victimize yourself when I am begging you to understand why I left. You are toxic in the way you scolded me when you saw my self-harm scars. You are toxic in the way you decided that I didn’t need therapy or medication or anything to help me. You are toxic in the way you invalidate me, my experiences, and my pain constantly.

I understand that I’ve hurt you. I’m sorry, I truly am. Words cannot express just how much I wish I could turn back time and fix my mistakes. But, please, try to understand me. Try to understand when I tell you that I’m trying. I know I can try harder, but please understand that I have little fight in me left. Please understand that I’m sorry. That I know I’ve messed up. That I regret all my wrongdoings. I wish I could have made your life easier. I wish I helped more. I wish I could have done more for you.

But I also wish that you weren’t so mean. You always used to tell me how I used to talk to you as a child. Have you ever considered that maybe I don’t talk to you because of the way you talk to me? Have you ever tried to realize that I was stripped of my innocence at a very young age where the adults around me did nothing but disappoint and hurt me? Have you ever tried to listen? To just stop talking and yelling to just listen to me.

Do you realize that all those times you told me to keep quiet, to never state my own opinion, to never speak when others are speaking, affected me? Do you know that I can’t make decisions now? Do you know how aggravated other family members or even my friends get when I can’t decide on something? Do you know how guilty I feel for not being able to say what I want? Do you know what that’s like? I know you do. I know you have felt it. I know you’ve gone through the same struggle. I know you know how that feels so why did you put me through it? You must know how terrible and frustrating it is so why would you condition me that way, Amma?

I know you notice the way I keep my mouth shut. I know you notice the way I struggle to talk to you. I know you notice the way my tears stream down my face as you try to confront me.

I wish, more than anything in the world, to be able to express myself and my feelings to you and others openly. I wish I knew how to say no. I wish I knew how to say yes. I wish I knew how to speak without fearing repercussions for simply stating my own opinion, asked or not.

I wish you knew the number of times I’ve cried myself to sleep at night because I felt defeated. I wish you knew the number of times I thought about killing myself so that I could make life easier for you. I wish you knew just how sorry I am, to this day, for all the pain and suffering you had to go through because of me.

I am sorry, more sorry than I could ever express.

I wish I knew how to talk to you. I wish I knew how to express how I’m feeling without shutting down and crying. I wish I knew how to tell you that I’m hurt, that you’ve hurt me, that I don’t want to be hurt anymore. I wish I could lay on your lap and have you massage my head like you used to do when I was a child. I wish I could give you hugs and kisses and show intimacy with you like I used to. I don’t know when or why we stopped, but I miss being able to feel like your daughter and not a burden. I miss being your daughter more than anything in the world.

I miss you. I miss my Amma. I’m so jealous of all the daughters that have a great relationship with their Ammas. I wish I could tell people how I trust you with everything, how you’re my best friend, how I can come to you without any fear or reservation.

But I can’t. And it hurts so much.

All I want is for us to have peace. I want us to heal. I want us to acknowledge our pain and move forward. I want us to be able to confide in each other again. I want us to be a mother and daughter. I want to be able to see love and joy on your face when you see me.

I want my Amma back more than anything in the world.

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