A Letter to My Mother

Dear Mum

I feel like I’ve spent my whole life trying to do the right thing by other people, to do what they would want and what would make them happy. I feel the pains of others in a very deep way and I hate to be the cause of that pain, my instinct is always to try and heal it. But I have also realised that as much as this might be considered an admirable quality, it has its downfalls. The downfall is that I care more about the happiness of others than my own and am somehow willing to forsake my own happiness for the sake of others. Again, while this may be considered admirable in small doses as an overall life pattern it is unhealthy. I feel like I have spent my life jumping through hoops, trying to do what I’ve felt others wanted me to do and trying to fulfil expectations that I cannot explain the origin of. I feel like I am constantly trying to be the person others want me to be and I just can’t do that. It is simply my nature, not only in what I do, also in who I am. But it has left me frustrated and unfulfilled.

This isn’t about anger or resentment. It’s not about running away or cutting myself off from the world. I know that it must seem that way but it truly isn’t. What it is about is happiness. I truly think that this is what will make he happy. I know it is difficult to understand why such a radical form of life could make me happy. And maybe this will come to nothing and I will realise that this life is not for me. But maybe it will come to something. If there is even a chance that this is what will make me happy then how can I not follow that? I truly believe there is a chance that this is what will make me happy. It is not as simple as making a decision and that’s forever. All I want is a chance to investigate, to try. If I at least have that then even if it doesn’t amount to anything I can look back without regrets, without wondering constantly “what if?” I don’t want to spend my life with a “what if?” hanging over my head.

Do not think for a moment that this is out of a lack of love for my family because that is not true. I love you more than I can express and I probably don’t express it enough. I am not setting out to hurt anyone and I do not want to hurt anyone. But I also cannot live my life solely guided by whether or not my family approve of my decisions. I have to do what I think is right for me, what I think will make me happy and trust that when it comes down to it my happiness will testify for itself. Sometimes I have to take a leap of faith. This is a leap of faith. I can’t be sure but how many decisions in life is anyone really that sure of? Life isn’t about getting things 100% right. A visit may tell me it’s not right, but I’ve learnt something from that. I believe very strongly that it’s not what you do that counts a lot of the time, it’s what you learn from it that matters.

I have always felt a draw to this kind of life, a draw that I neither understand or can ever truly explain. It is something you truly have to experience to understand. I do wish there was a way I could properly articulate it but there’s just no way. The best way I can try is to say that I long for simplicity. There is a hustle and bustle to the world that I find overwhelming and quite frankly unnecessary. What I want is quiet and simple and peaceful. If I think about a “normal” future I can’t see those things. In this life I see exactly what I want. I see joy and peace and calm and silence. I see a place where the unnecessary is stripped away and I can truly be myself.

I love you.

Emily

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