p.s. four…

Some days, I hate you. Some days, I wish you were something different. I cannot control you. Like the tides, you are unpredictable and change whenever you please. You are sensitive and easily irked. But other days…most days, I adore you. You are a part of me. You make me who I am. Set me apart from fifty per cent of the world and join me with the other half. You are the source of life. You make me feel both empowered and vulnerable. A channel of desire. A passage of two ways; giving and receiving. You cause me such anguish and distress and yet bring me indescribable pleasure. You are completely unique to my person, a part of me only I know. 

You’ve been with me through it all. Through every change that has evolved us into the woman we are today. But you have betrayed me in the past. Seen fit to humiliate me and trick me some days, leaving rose-red brands on my skin and clothes. Because of this, I felt ashamed to be one with you. And other times, I’ve felt fearful to call you mine. 

Weak and exposed. You are the constant reminder that I am different. As we grew, I came to realize that this part of me that stays hidden unless I want it to be seen can be wielded like a weapon. I blamed you for feeling frightened in the dark streets walking home alone. You became my Achilles’ heel; the thing that set me apart and left me open for attack. And one day, you didn’t belong to me at all but to someone else entirely. 

For a long time, I didn’t trust you. We became disconnected and I felt resentful towards you. For if you weren’t a part of me, I would never have been hurt. But time heals wounds and time helped me realize that it wasn’t your fault at all. It isn’t what’s between my legs that makes me different. It isn’t what makes me weak or what led to my trust being betrayed. You never betrayed me. If anything, I betrayed you. 

Truthfully, neither of us is to blame. Not me, young and naïve. And not you, an innocent participant that was abused. You do not make me vulnerable. It is the world around us that has made me think that. Made me think I need to feel ashamed of you. Society’s atrocious standards and victim- shaming agenda. It has made us believe that you are the problem. That the crown at the base of my thighs is my weakness. They lie. 

This part of me is strength. You can bleed for seven days and survive. You can give birth to life and thrive. You can be betrayed and stay alive. I will not be ashamed of you any longer. I will not be made to feel that you and I ever need to part. You are what makes me different. You and your idiosyncrasies. What you want is what I want. To be appreciated and adored. To be respected and never be ignored. I won’t let the world tell me that I am less because of you. I won’t let another person use you against me. I will never be ashamed of my strength again. You are perfect just the way you are. We’re in this together, Vagina. We are one and don’t ever let anyone tell you otherwise.

{This post is part of a series of anonymous submitted letters both written here, and read via the Collective Podcast limited series: PostScript.}

p.s. three…

{image credit Debby Hudson}

Dear Mom, 

Although we are friends now, we haven’t always been in this place in life. When I was growing up, you were distant. Not distant in a way that I couldn’t see, hear or touch you, but you just had somewhat “checked out” as a mom. Being the baby of six kids, I always felt like maybe you gave birth to me but just didn’t want to raise another child. 

As I got older, I learned that you didn’t have the best upbringing yourself, losing your birth mother at a young age, having your father say he couldn’t care for his children so putting them in foster care (which ultimately tore you away from most of your siblings, except one sister), then being adopted and raised by a mother who wasn’t the best suited for the job. 

All of that made me realize you had some baggage to deal with. Maybe because of that baggage you just had no idea how to really be a mom. But then as I got even older, I learned of some things about you that probably led to you also not being a close mother to me during the formidable years.

I learned that you were raised Mormon, but broke the rules and got pregnant in High School. Because of that you were forced to leave that comfort and the support of home, you moved into a place with your boyfriend and started a family. The two of you were married and had 4 children together. He was a traveling sales man, leaving you alone to raise the children by yourself. I think this took a real toll on you and you got involved with another man and ended up pregnant. Although you attempted to hide this from your husband, he knew that child couldn’t be his. So he divorced you, so once again you were alone raising children, but now you are also pregnant and raising children. 

When your “baby” was a little over one, you met a man (who would ultimately become my father) and began dating him. The two of you eventually married, when your youngest child was 2 years old. When your youngest child was 4, you gave birth to another child (me). I am not sure if I was a planned pregnancy or if you were giving your husband a child he wanted. But either way, you never seemed ready for another child. Even reading back in the baby book put together for me, the comments you wrote in the book are shocking. When the book asks you to document what you thought when you found out you were pregnant, you wrote “I hope this is the last”. When it asks what your first thoughts were when you first laid eyes on me, you wrote “its a girl”. I would’ve hoped your answers would have been a little more enthusiastic. 

You and my dad filled your lives with lots of alcohol and partying. You would also get involved in the “Swinger” lifestyle, hosting parties at your home. These parties were often full of food and alcohol and lots of people, while us kids were told to go to the basement and stay there until we were told to come up. I remember venturing upstairs once, because the smell of the food was just too tempting, and although I didn’t “see” anything, to this day I can remember the panic on your face as you tried to scurry me back down to the basement. It wasn’t until I was much older that I found out from one of my siblings that you guys were Swingers. Then I started piecing all that together. 

My point here, Mom, is this: I know you love me. I know you genuinely want the best for me. I now feel like we can talk about anything and you always have good advice. It has taken us some time to get here though and although you played a bigger role (being a more mature, motherly figure that should have been your role) I also take some responsibility in keeping us from a wonderful relationship for all those years. 

Love you!

p.s. two…

{image credit Debby Hudson}

It took 9 years, past our divorce, for me to face that you were the love of my life. Maybe we just weren’t good together. I don’t know. When it seemed like you not only stopped loving me, and touching me, but also liking me- I didn’t know what to do.

I couldn’t put words to the feeling, for so long, but today I can:

Imagine living, while your heart beat far outside your body.

Maybe I heard that in a lyric, or a movie somewhere. It sounds way to profound to come from me. Perhaps I watched it, on the tv one night, and thought “yes, that is it! That is how I feel. That is what it was like.”

But then I would have turned to the total absence of anyone, and realized that even though I knew- I had lost.

I had lost you.

What was it, about me, that you could no longer love? Was it that I wasn’t younger?

I kissed a colleague, and you left me. Unwilling to work it out. His kiss, though electric and exciting, hadn’t ever felt like home.

Like you.

My entire self was reaching, somehow, for you, but though your body was sleeping beside me, you’d never been farther from my reach.

I tried to tell you those things, but you were so walled up from hearing the words I spoke, that you couldn’t hear me.

My love, you are remarried now, and finally a father. This is something I could not give you, and because of your new wife’s ability to, I will forever believe in the worthlessness of me.

I am working on it. Working through accepting. I’ve always been better with numbers than words, and the math is that I couldn’t grow our family, you pulled away and shut me out. You looked for me to mess up, and when I did, you tossed me out. You replaced me with a non-faulty woman, and in the end got everything you’d always wanted.

I guess what you had wanted was a family and a wife who could give you that. That had never been me.

You will forever be the love of my life, but I have long since set you free.

p.s. one…

As a part of a new, limited micro-series entitled Post Script, launching under the Collective Podcast, I will be sharing anonymously submitted letters, written by women within the community. Each week that a mini-episode launches, a coordinating post, containing the letter, will be here…

{image credit, Debby Hudson}

Mom,

Hello, how are things going for you? Hope everything is well. Things here are good. I just need to say some things. It may not sound like what you want to hear but it is something I have been needing to tell you for awhile now.

I feel like I have given you chance after chance to get to know me. You keep throwing it away and I only wish you could understand how that makes me feel. I realize that just because one is related to you biologically doesn’t at all mean they have to accept you. I just can’t comprehend it, though. I mean, the fact of the matter is I am your child. Does that even mean anything to you?

I want you to be part of my life. You say you want me to be a part of your life but do you call and check in or write? I am sick of always having to be the first one to do it. I know maybe I may not be the ideal child to have, let alone raise, but a mother is supposed to love her children unconditionally.

I will not give up on you. You will always be my mother no matter what, and I have never blamed you for leaving me, actually, I thanked you. I know I wouldn’t be alive today if you hadn’t walked out. I’m not intending to make you feel guilty or hurt, but when is it going to be the time when you are going to face the reality that sometimes we make bad choices but we have to live with them and deal?

I think that you are doing a wonderful job raising the rest of the children. I just wish you had five minutes to spare for me. For as much as it may be worth to you, I do love you very much.

P.S. I would hope that you would just think about this and consider a relationship.