I Choose My Daughter Over My Parents and Their God.
I’ve resigned myself to the fact that my parents and I may well have spoken the last words we ever will.
My daughter is one of the funniest people I know. She’s clumsy and goofy, with a rapier wit and a scathing tongue. She is kind. She is beautiful. Compassionate. And a million other extraordinary things. And she’s gay.
Two years ago, my parents and I had a series of arguments over their religious beliefs, my daughter’s orientation, and my belief that her orientation wasn’t about them.
It ended our relationship.
My parents and I have a rocky past. This isn’t the first time they’ve ostracized me for noncompliance. Or the second time. Or even the seventeenth.
I left home at 14, for reasons that I’ve only ever divulged to a handful of people. For 25 years, I have been scapegoated and shamed for being rebellious. The black sheep. Jezebel.
I’ve held my tongue and tolerated the jokes at family functions about how I’m trouble. How I’m a problem. I’ve never bothered to correct a narrative that is flatly false.
Because more conflict is just more conflict. Because speaking and being heard are miles apart. And I’ve tolerated it. Enabled it.
For the last 20 years, I managed to not rock the boat, so my parents and I had a fairly good relationship. When this argument first began, I tried to fix everything. I tried to keep lines of communication open. To reach out and mend fences. I enlisted the help of a long-time family friend, and a member of my parents’ church to help mediate.
As a daughter, I wanted my parents’ approval. Their support. I realized that this cannot be about that. Or about me.
As a mother, as a woman, this has to be enough. The cycle stops here. Right here. On the threshold of my home. My kingdom.
This is about being a parent, not a daughter.
From the time my kids could say No, I’ve taught them to stand up for what they believe, to defend anyone weaker than them, and say No if an authority gives them a directive that upsets their conscience.
I can’t not stand up to this.
Love is not conditional here. Children do not have to earn their value here. Children do not have to prove they are worthy here. Children are not expendable here.
Children are not abandoned here.
I love my parents, but I don’t like them. I don’t respect them. I don’t trust them.
This is not about anger. I am angry, but that is secondary. This is about boundaries and their responsibility for their own actions.
I’ve done damage control with toxic men my whole life, starting with this relationship, and I am done. It is not my responsibility to drag anyone to a place where they are emotionally intelligent and whole. They have access to the same resources available to all of us, and there’s no excuse for this.
Don’t kid yourself. I’m not all grit and guns blazing. This has destroyed me in ways I’ll never admit to. The grief seems unbearable sometimes. It shouldn’t be this way.
I’m so fucking tired of having to defend myself against the people I’m supposed to be able to rely on. I’m okay with being mostly alone in this world, but I am through with trying to teach people how to be decent to me.
There comes a point where I get to stop.
“Please let me teach you how not to abuse me” isn’t something I’m willing to carry anymore.
And I sure as fuck am not going to teach my kids to carry it.
Happy Pride, everyone.
Mira Hadlow is an outspoken Canadian writer, self-proclaimed romantic, and champion for the underdog. After an abusive relationship rendered her permanently deaf, she turned to writing as a path to healing, and has since become passionate about being a voice for the voiceless. Mira believes in ferocious vulnerability, unapologetic truth, and bravely facing one’s shadow side. She believes the path to healing is found by learning to sit with — and make room for — grief, fear, and sorrow. Mira is a quirky, creative soul, and you can usually find her renovating a kitchen, losing her cup of coffee for the forty-seventh time, or picking a fight with an authority figure. You can connect with her via Instagram, Facebook or email.