The Daughter My Father Wanted Me To Be: A Letter Of Disclosure And Honesty

Photography by Mark Wickens

Photography by Mark Wickens

Dad, you must be worried about me. I understand, really. I must assure you there is no need for concern ​though, ​as this is the happiest I have ever been.

I know I am not the daughter you wanted me to be. I am not pretty perfect, I curse, I drink. I experiment with the world, I expand the boundaries of my liberty. ​I seek freedom and beauty, not material things. I gave up the job, the company, the salary. The business career. That was always your path for me, and for a while I believed it – I thought being like you would make me happy, too.

​The little girl in a school uniform, hair pulled up, waiting for daddy to pick her up from ballet sessions, piano lessons, language classes and everything else I was set out to do at the bare age of 4, 9, 13​… no longer exists​. I’m not the type-A student ​you thought I could be. ​I will not be writing academic articles for international journals – I am writing poetry.

What you may have missed is that at 14 my walls broke within​: new worlds opened up to me​. From the Kirov and the Bolshoi presentations, the Russian literature I fell in love with, the souvenirs you would bring from cities and countries unknown to my reality. ​The art galleries, my mother’s paintings… and yes, the dinner parties I was forced to attend, the shallow souls I had to please. It all led me to cherry-picking interests​ and hobbies​: English, History, Literature, Art, traveling, parties… dancing till dawn, carefree.

That’s what​ ​cement​ed​ my ​then “troubled” ​personality.

My rebellious nature​, once a growing seed,​ should have been foreseen. At 3, I trans-gendered dolls​​;​ at 5 I wanted to be an astronaut and see the Earth from a distance. At 8 I made up languages​ and created magazines​. ​At 12 I​ kissed and slow-danced, and​ started questioning religion and family. ​​At 15, I watched sex documentaries. At 17 I traveled 1000 km cross country by bus, not a single familiar face next to me.

It must have been disruptive for you and mom. For myself, it was struggle after struggle, such effort to unroot social conventions and bigotry. The more I understood the world, the more I longed to change it. I was feeding off anger, frustration,​ ​hormones​ – a side dish of hope and ​idealization, ​a glass of fascination for discovery​.

I questioned motives, I dove in history – the present ​afflicted me​ immensely​, the future I could not see! My displeasure with humanity found in writing and partying a way to break free. I kept a journal, as I danced my self in agony. I had a thousand feeling​s​ boiling inside, melting my psyche, shaping my identity. ​Feelings which​ resonate still, in dreams.

Now, at 35, I am very much aware of my singularities. I no longer try to fit in. Nor do I want to. I am effervescent ​emotionally, I swim in watery directions,​ ​guided​ ​only by my will. I am determined in my convictions: strong and inquisitive, assertive. I am a full grown woman not very different from my mother, who perhaps lacked my bravery, and surpassed me in intensity.

Yes, I dwell in earthly pleasures, art, and hazy smoke. Red wine and poetry. I am artistic in my passions, I seek reverie. I respect my singleness, I relish seclusion, my realm of inner peace. It’s a balancing act blending that with my fiery energy, pursuits and conquests, the longing for uncharted territories, places of h​​i​story​. Navigating in different worlds, a constant flow of landing​ in other cultures, observing, interacting, ​and​ then​ flying away,​ lonely​.

You needn’t worry, daddy. I know very well who I am and how deep I bleed. More importantly, I heal scar tissue quite easily, and the wounds I have are solely mine to remedy. You have done your part; now everything is airy possibility​, fluttering in destiny​.

Dear father, I am ​your daughter, I’ll always be. But above all, I am spirit wild, free.

Submitted to ArtParasites by Elisa Mattos