Is it not agony, knowing that you will never, ever be the perfect child your mother had hoped; hoped that after carrying you for 9 months you would be the angel she’d always wanted?
You will never make her choices, even though she desperately wishes you would. You’ll never love her God, her ways. You’ll parody a pseudo-virginal lifestyle because by Jove the slut shaming you would have to endure otherwise isn’t worth all the money in the world. And you’ve had a taste. It was quite enough. You’ll never have the birds and the bees talk because good girls don’t have sex. And you’ll have to brush her off every time something is too short or too tight or too prostitute; sometimes it’ll blow up in your face but like all of your flaws, you’ll pretend the (internal and external) explosions never happened.
You’ll never have babies, because you don’t want to do to them what your mother did to you; a damage so deeply worn that you think it’s a part of you, like a fat bloody artery that pumps life away from your blackened heart. And the man who is supposed to be in the picture is looking shaky as well; someone to slave over and fawn over and a whole ego of a grown adult to mollycoddle and read books about how better to deal with the child – sorry, husband – and what you’re doing wrong and how to get him and when to get him and what to do when you do and how to keep him and what you did wrong when he leaves your suffocation that isn’t even really you but what you thought you ought to be.
You’ll never have a straight, neat looking white girl perm where your hair flips at the end, trying to be natural. You’ll never burn your hair at the salon and waste endless scorching hours in rollers again, or sit at a stall as a woman pulls your hair and five other women braid it and two other women roll it on their thighs that have imprints of braid from doing this for so long which by now have been mixed in with dirt and their skin cells and the last girl’s skin cells and they’re braiding it into your hair like a memento of your experience that you didn’t know you bought. Not because you’re an artist. But because you don’t care enough and have stopped wanting to. In fact, you’ll dye it red.
You’ll never get a job they want. Art doesn’t count. Art is a hobby until you’re discovered by someone or something your parents want you to be. Something more respectable to tell their friends about their daughter with dreads. Therefore, the look of disappointment in their eyes when they look at you is pretty much permanent. May as well get used to it.
You will start to wonder if your version of ok is ever going to be ok for anyone other than you.
Your life is a lie so smooth it chokes you with its fluidity every time you see her.