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It's the people you love the most, that hurt you the most.

Thanks, Mum

By Patrick XPublished 3 months ago Updated 27 days ago 8 min read
3
It's the people you love the most, that hurt you the most.
Photo by Anshu A on Unsplash

A year spent predominantly on passion projects,

Large creative ventures,

Unpaid, with no guarantee of a financial return unless they sell,

Amongst the chaotic life of a starving artist,

An application for a stable yet unfulfilling job was successful,

-

A 2-year contract offer, accompanied by a fully funded Master’s degree to boot.

For the first time in years, I cast aside passion,

This time in favour of financial stability.

I gritted my teeth and convinced myself it was only 2 years,

I'd then be 40 with a qualification and experience I could always fall back on,

Not to mention, savings to travel and make more art.

-

4 weeks in and it hit me like a ton of bricks,

The realisation that I'd rather be poor than endure 2 years of hating my life.

So, again, I grit my teeth and perserved until I could persevere no more.

With letters of resignation sent, there was one last person to notify.

-

I put it off for days, avoiding the inevitable response of disappointment.

Today, I bit the bullet and told my Mum I’d quit.

I was hoping for anger; yelling; a good old fashioned earbashing.

Just as I’d feared, it was far worse - I was, once again, a disappointment.

"Nearing 20 years after finishing high school, you've achieved nothing with your life,

And you never will.

You will never meet anyone, you will be alone for the rest of your life,

Because no one with half a brain would every go out with a no-hoper, nobody, life-long loser.

What have you got in your life? Nobody and nothing.

I couldn't be any more disappointed in you,

That's what you are, just a disappointment.

Now what are you going to do? Work on some nothing 75% completed film going nowhere?

You have nothing; you'll never meet anyone because you have nothing to offer.

You'll never find a partner because nobody would ever want to spend their life with a loser."

Sorry Mum, I tried my best.

-

For 30-odd years, the responsibility of reassuring me that I wasn’t good enough was the sole domain of my Dad,

A thankless task, undertaken with the relentless commitment of a dutiful firefighter,

Extinguishing any semblance of inner confidence being set alight, leaving only the lingering embers of self-doubt.

-

3 years ago, for reasons unbeknownst to me, their roles began to reverse,

Once the apple of my Mum's eye,

Primary School Captain, A-grade student,

The big step up to high school, elected by students as their representative – 2 years running.

Sports star. A setter of school swimming records - which stand to this day,

"Your son ticks all the boxes of a future School Captain" said multiple teachers at parent-teacher interviews.

-

And then the day that letter arrived,

I came home to find my Mum sobbing,

My heart sunk, instantly jumping to the conclusion that a family member had died.

"What's wrong, Mum?"

She handed over an opened letter… "You got in!"

An acceptance letter, a 4 year free ride at a school only accessible by the highest ranked students completing a day’s worth of exams

Thousands upon thousands of applicants, many whose parents made great sacrifices to afford years of tutoring in the hope their son would be amongst the “chosen few”,

Meanwhile, I only agreed to sit the entrance exam after my Mum promised me a Large Big Mac meal if I went.

Reluctantly, I left the warm embrace of a school that felt like home....

I never really had a choice…

Seeing Mum sobbing uncontrollable tears of joy,

Followed by the weeks she spent on cloud 9, boasting about her boy's accomplishments to anyone who'd listen.

Such lofty heights reached, only to be followed by a sharp descent.

Upon strong recommendations from those accredited to give such advice,

From a dysfunctional family home - I fled alone.

Those final years of high school, a far stretch from the destiny predicted a few short years prior.

-

I can't recall ever receiving a compliment from Dad growing up,

I do recall his laughter after I proudly told him about getting the highest 10 pin bowling score on a school outing,

Well, to be precise, his laughter came after Uncle Tom asked me if I was a faggot, because according to Uncle Tom, only faggots play 10 pin bowling.

I don't recall my Dad ever telling me he loved me growing up,

I do recall Uncle Shane accidently pushing his lit cigarette into my eye,

I held my eye without making a peep as Dad snapped at me to stop being a baby, "You'll be fine,"

Within the hour the blurriness began to clear, by morning, normal vision and returned - Dad knows best

A year spent predominantly on passion projects,

Large creative ventures,

Unpaid, with no gaurantee of financial reimbursement,

Amongst the chaotic life of a starving artist,

An application for a stable yet unfulling job was successful,

2 year contract, accompanied by a fully funded Masters degree to boot.

For the first time in years, I caste aside passion,

This time in favour of financial stability.

I gritted my teeth and convinced myself it was only 2 years,

I'd then be 40 with something I'd always have to fall back on,

Not to mention, savings to travel and make more art.

Only a month in and it hit me like a ton of bricks,

The realisation that I'd rather be poor than endure 2 years of this.

Again, I grit my teeth and perserved until I could no longer perservere no more.

With letters of resignation sent, there was one last person to tell.

I put it off for days, avoiding the inevitable response of disappointment.

Finally I bit the bullet and told my Mum, I quit.

I was hoping for anger, yelling and a good old fashioned ear-bashing.

As feared, it was far worse - I was once again a disappointment.

"Nearing 20 years after finishing high school, you've achieved nothing with you life,

And you never will.

You will never meet anyone, you will be alone for the rest of your life,

Because no one with half a brain would every go out with a no-hoper, nobody, lifeling loser.

What have you got in your life? Nobody and nothing.

I couldn't be any more disappointed in you,

That's what you are, just a disappointment.

Now what are you going to do? Work on some nothing 75% complete film going nowhere?

You have nothing; you'll never meet anyone because you have nothing to offer.

You'll never find a partner because nobody would ever want to spend their life with a loser."

After 30-odd years, the regular reminders of not being good enough were the sole domain of my Dad.

Until 3 years ago, for reasons unbenkownst to me,

The roles began to reverse.

Once the apple of my mum's eye,

Primary School Captain, A grade student,

Onto high school, elected year level student rep 2 years running,

Captain of various school sports sides,

The setter of school setting records, some of which stand to this day,

"Your son will captain this school one day" said multiple teachers at parent-teacher interviews.

And then the day that letter arrived,

I got home to find my mum sobbing,

My heart sunk, instantly jumping to the conclusion a family member had died.

"What's wrong, Mum?"

She handed over an opened letter, "You got in"

An acceptance letter: 4 year free ride at a school only accessable by way of a full days worth of entrance exams.

Thousands upon thousands of applicants, many who's parents made great sacrifices to afford years of tutoring with the hope their son would make it.

Meanwhile, I only agreed to sit the entrance exam after my mum promised me a Large Big Mac meal if I went.

I reluctantly left the warm embrace of a school that felt like home....

I never really had a choice, you'd understand why,

Seeing mum sobbing uncontrolable tears of joy,

Followed by weeks on cloud 9, boasting about her boy's accomplishments, to anyone who'd listen.

I can't recall ever receiving a compliment from Dad growing up,

I do recall his laughter after 10 year old Patrick proudly told his Dad about getting the highest score at 10 pin bowling on a school sports day,

To be precise, his laughter actually came after Uncle Tom asked me if I was a faggot, because according to Uncle Tom, only faggots play 10 pin bowling.

I don't recall my Dad ever telling me he loved me growing up,

I do recall Uncle Shane accidently pushing his lit ciggerette into my eye,

I held my eye without making a peep, Dad yelled at me to stop being a baby, "You'll be fine"

Dad knows best - within the hour the blurry vision began to clear, by morning full vision had returned.

I know he loved me, but I don't now why he cracked that many jokes to other adults about me being fat and lazy.

Although I was always a chubby kid who dreaded waking up most winter mornings at 4.30am for 2 hour squad swimming sessions, so Dad was probably right.

I still have dozens of trophies, hundreds of medals, and countless first place ribbons in my cupboard.

Too late now I suppose to ask Dad if winning any of them made him proud.

-

Long ago I gave up trying to understand ‘why’,

Age and experience blessed me with the acceptance that Mum and Dad did the best they knew how to,

And so, I started telling them of my amazement in the miracles they made happen working on minimum wage,

Always ensuring Santa left presents under the Christmas tree,

Of how Dad would take us kids to the football most weeks,

Of those summer holidays that we spent a week by the beach, renting a caravan from the local church.

I took it upon myself to give my Dad something he’d never given me - a hug.

When we speak on the phone I tell my Dad “I love you” – now sometimes he even tells me he loves me too.

-

Today, my Mum lovingly advised me that I’d never meet anyone given I have nothing to offer.

Moments after Mum hung up the phone, Dad called me from her phone,

“Mum said you quit. Did you watch the game last night? What a result! Who do we play next?”

Thanks for that, Dad.

-

Mum - once upon a time, my biggest fan,

Once my guardian angel and protector from an abusive alcoholic,

Long ago I gave up trying to understand ‘why’.

artsocial commentaryslam poetrysad poetryperformance poetrylove poemsHolidayheartbreak
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About the Creator

Patrick X

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  • Dharrsheena Raja Segarran3 months ago

    Gosh this put me on an emotional roller coaster. Hope you are okay now. Sending you lots of love and hugs! ❤️

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