But I’m just a cold fish.

From:    S
Date:    16 August 2002 11:23 AM
To:      J

Hi Babe, Mum got off  last night all ok.  God the guilt I feel, how is it at the age of 33 our parents can still mind fuck me.  Mum’s sport it would seem is to mess with my psychological state.  I miss her when I don’t see her but am decimated by her when I am with her, why does she find it so hard to tell me she love me bla bla bla bla.  Have a look at the *letter I wrote to her, (haven’t given it to her yet) what do you think?


I love you so much, but it is so difficult to talk to you face to face. The time never seems right. But there are some things that I do need you to hear and maybe this letter will let you take it in quietly.

You have a lot to be proud of. You have a lot of people who care for you, they value you as part of their lives, for the love and friendship you give, and hopefully you feel that this is returned to you. The courage you showed in beating cancer makes us all so proud of you.

I am so concerned though that you are terribly unhappy. You seem not to have anything positive to say about anything or anyone including yourself. I am not even sure that you know you are doing this. You comment on Dee and I know that she has disappointed you – but I don’t know if you appreciate that at times you could have been describing yourself when you spoke to me.

I think it is important that you know that I have laid things to rest with Dad. I don’t have the time or energy to continue with my anger, bitterness or resentment. It has done me no good at all so I have let it go and moved on. I will concentrate on the few good times I had with Dad as a child and have decided I will allow him the opportunity to be a good grandfather to Brady and Ola. And Mum, I want you to do the same. Please let go of your anger and bitterness. Please do not use me as an excuse to continue your own bad feelings towards Dad. It all happened a long time ago – please for your own sake move on. I just know that it is making you so unhappy and you are the one who is suffering.

I appreciate that different generations do things differently but I am trying very hard to be the best mum albeit a very tired working one. You might not always agree with what I do, but please try not to criticise me so much. It breaks my heart that Brady has noticed that you’ve been unhappy during your visit. She has made comments to me and this just adds to my concern for you.

Mum, the girls and I were so excited that you were coming; there was the Nana dance and the big countdown but this time there seemed to be so few laughs, hugs and kisses.

I don’t know the answers, but you need to have a good think and search within yourself as to why you seem so unhappy and at times so angry about the most inconsequential things. You only appear happy when complaining about someone or something.

I can imagine your dismay right now as you read this and am almost positive that you will have turned this around saying to yourself ‘I’m a bad, terrible mother’, ‘I never do anything right’, ‘I am this I am that.’ You are none of those things. What I am saying is that you appear to be a very unhappy and bitter person. You, better than I would now appreciate the fragility of life and that you have to make the most of what you have whilst you have it.

This is the most difficult letter I have ever had to write. Please Mum, I love you desperately, please find out what is making you so very, very unhappy and deal with it because I am terrified of the consequences.

Love S

Glad you like it at your new job, so what is it you actually do?

We have a new series airing here at the moment “Six Foot Under” got Mum watching it whilst she was here, there was a BIG gay sex scene the other night, Mum turns to me and says “Do you think J does that?”  “UH well I don’t know but, I guess so, it’s just sex.” “Oh” was her response. (English not my forte particularly punctuation, yeah I know that’s one of your pet hates, but I’m sure you can work out where the tails and rabbit ears are meant to go.)

Love you



From:    J
Date:    18 August 2002  23:51
To:      S

Hey good letter.  Just the right tone I think.  Good use of the ‘you will have turned this around saying to yourself I’m a bad, terrible mother’ – nice touch, will make her think a little harder maybe.  So did you give it to her before she left or did you tell her to read it on the plane?

I’m not sure how she’ll take it.  Hopefully she’ll have a bit of a think about it.  If she mentions it to Pam then there’s a better chance that something concrete will come of it.  It’s very brave and GOOD of you, I certainly wouldn’t do it.  But I’m a cold fish.

We do have “6 Feet Under” here, I love it! It’s on Monday nights when all the good telly is on (Sex and the City, Secret Life of Us, Queer as Folk, The Osbournes)  – it’s an absolute marathon I tells ya. Which scene was it?

Please tell me it wasn’t the scene in Las Vegas where David is doing that hustler over the boot of a Trans Am in the car park. That is NOT something that I do. In fact, I’m not doing anything (or anyONE) these days. Haven’t spoken to Samuel for a week. We just kept calling each other on a Thursday night saying;

J: “Hey! What are you up to tomorrow night?”

S: “Aw, I’ve got plans.”

J : “Me too.”

S: “Do you wanna meet up for breakfast on Saturday?”

J: “I’ve got plans.”

S: “Me too.”

J: “Oh well, we’ll catch up later in the week, yeah?”

S: “Sure, you bet!”

And we would take it in turns to make this call, cos neither of us wanted to be the last to called the Bad Guy – but neither of us really wanted to see each other either. So I finally said “I give myself permission to BE the Baddest Boyfriend in Melbourne!” and I haven’t made the call.

I didn’t hear from him on the weekend, and I haven’t actually clapped eyes on him since Friday the 2nd of August, so I think I can safely say that it’s over, yeah? Bah! I tell you what Sis, I’ve realized that the reason none of previous relationships have worked is NOT just because they were with the ladies, but because they were with human beings. It just doesn’t work for me, and I’m bunkering down for a good two-year hiatus until peer pressure again forces me to pash someone.

Anyway, gotta go. I’ll write more later.


4 thoughts on “But I’m just a cold fish.

    1. Yes, you are absolutely right. So many hang ups, each of us seems to have well worn negative thinking synapse pathways, intersecting with disastrous results. My relationship with my mother has not ever been the sort I wanted or needed, but it was the best one my mum could give me. I’ve never understood why she is the way she is and until some recent advice from a wise person, this consumed me.

      My brother and I spent our lives just searching desperately for acceptance and love, J never found it and I can’t recognise when I have it. And I’m sure it’s as simple as we should have loved and accepted ourselves first. I worked out I’d never get it at home and fled to UK, my greatest regret was not taking J with me. He was a teenager living alone with mum in her venom filled, man hating world. I guess mum never loved or accepted herself either.

      Clearly there is a family tradition of not wanting to share one’s heart, fears and weaknesses with each other and it hasn’t got us very far. My brother is gone, my father is dead to me and my mother is like the walking dead. I am who I am because of and in spite of all that has happened to me, there are others far worse off, it’s just that this is my journey.

      I thank you for asking, it’s made me think about and confront issues in my heart and head and reassess all that I am doing this for and learning from it. I’d always hoped it would help someone, maybe at the end of it all the only someone will be me.



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