An Open Letter to my Mother
Okay, I know this is kind of surprising, considering I haven’t talked to you for years now. It’s been a long time since I talked to you like this. During those long years, I admit I haven’t thought much about you either, you know, with studies and work and everything. You’ve always said I’m an ambitious kid, full of big dreams of buying my own car, having my own house and travelling all over the world. Well, the thing about dreams is they tend to get personal, and sometimes, selfish. I should know, coz I’ve been too caught up with my own to think about you and ask how you are doing.
Ma, I know you’ve been through hard times. You have to raise several kids all at once, and only a few of them can support you in your old age and weary bones. Most of them are living far away now, hoping to reunite with you but can’t, while others chose to forget about you eventually. Even us, your children living here in your home, barely have no time for you. We’re all trying to be this and that, doctors, lawyers, engineers, pilots, nurses, etc. and sometimes most of us end up with something lesser than we thought we could be. But you taught us to be resilient and content, that we may not always end up having what we want, but as long as we live in dignity and in unity, we can all leave in harmony in this big home we have.
I have something to confess to you. Growing up, I’ve not always been a good kid as I am now. I had dark thoughts, hateful thoughts that I am presently quite angry on myself for harboring these kind of thoughts in my childhood.
I hated, no, abhorred, being born in your house.I always ask God or some Higher Power out there on why, of all places, should I be brought up here. Ma, I’m sure you know that our house isn’t always a nice place to stay. Although it has many rooms, our large family is divided by many walls and floors, physically and emotionally. We live on different floors, with many of us living on the lower floors, making the best of any tiny small space there is to squeeze in. It’s the complete opposite of those who live above, where the price of indifference is opulence. The difference of our lives is staggering and I am disgusted by both sides: the escapism and inert attitude of those below and the condescending, materialistic capitalists of the above. The floor between them is a small gap that barely supports each side and people living there have to literally live as everyday “Atlas” as they try to support the above and push their feet down below. The walls would crush them if they failed.
I wanted to get away from this crazy circus of a place. I wanted to leave you so much. I was always jealous of our neighbors and I always wonder when can we experience a good, stable home they seem to enjoy. I’ve always blamed you too, because you didn’t prepare a proper future for me so I decided to plan on my own, not in here, but outside.
But growing up did I realize how you were suffering as our mother. How you are abused, exploited, shunned by our neighbors and sadly, by us, your own children. You were the always who ended up getting hurt, getting laughed at, getting humiliated, getting scorched, while we shrink unto the walls, hoping we won’t be associated with you.
You have always been a fighter, ma. A survivor. It’s what you showed us and what we now carry everyday in our lives. You endured such difficult times,having been restrained in your room several times, manipulated by the big visitors from Outside, unable to defend yourself from all the discrimination and above all, say goodbye with your children as they pack up their large bags and try their luck outside. It’s hard to say goodbye for the ones who will go, but the pain is worse for those left behind. You experienced all of it and you stood strong, despite the scars, the tears, the pain of seeing your own children suffer and the incapacity to do something about it.
I realized later on that the root of all your suffering isn’t in your past, or the present time, or the current situations you are entangled in. It’s me and your children ourselves. From the moment of our birth, we never really identified you as our mother, and each other as part of our own. We are not united, always squabbling, always pulling someone who’s higher than the rest of us down, always talking bad about someone, hiding grudge against each other, grouping ourselves and forming status quo of exclusivity based on race, region and religion and not wholly considering ourselves as your children. We always lament about the bad stuffs, complain about the house rules, and disobey it for our own convenience. You see, mother, we work for our own selfish gains. We work hard for a few people, not for the majority. We love freedom but we are incapable of being responsible for it. We are immature, impatient and most of all, indifferent. There only remains a handful of us who understands your pain but their voice goes unheard amid the torrential noise of bickering and angry murmurings.
In that note, I wanted to ask for your forgiveness, ma. This letter from your prodigal child wouldn’t make your condition any better, but this is my promise to you that I am not the same person before. I realized how much you need me, how much you need Us. I can’t bear the thought that you will suffer even longer because of us. I may not powerless now to relieve you of the rocks pressing against you, but I won’t leave your side from now on. I want to stay here with you. I don’t care what the world thinks of me when they see me with you in tattered clothing and unruly hair; in fact this is good chance to show to them how proud I am to you, either in high ups or low downs. I wanted to do my share, to give back to my fellowmen, to be a part of a change, a better change for all of us.
You’ve done your best taking care of me, and it’s time for me to take care of you in my own special way.
Dear ma, you’ve always said I have big dreams, that I am very ambitious and my goals are high. Well, I just raised the bar higher. They say selfish dreams are simple to attain, like having a car, a house, travel and marvel the whole world, etc. Selfless dreams are the ones more difficult to attain, and that includes having our own personal brand of car, building a better house for all of us, and have the whole world to marvel you.
This I can do more and more for you.
I challenge my brethren to do the same.
From your wayward child,