Thursday, July 20, 2023

Blog Tour: Dear Mom



(A letter I will never send, to a mother who would never read it anyway)


Non-fiction / Memoir

Date Published: 06-01-2023


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None of us were raised by perfect mothers, nor can we ourselves be perfect parents. But some mothers sure do know how to ruin a life, well, almost. I say almost because, although my mother's parenting left severe damage in its path and, regrettably, and inevitably, shaped some of the decisions I made, I am grateful to have realized the issues I was facing. So, I now have the opportunity to properly address those issues, to minimize their  impact on my life.

This book holds the words I would express to my mother, if I thought she cared to acknowledge my feelings at all.

Many others have been “raised” by narcissistic mothers and have been deeply affected. But it is still possible to live happy lives, free of Mom’s burden. Writing has helped me immensely in this regard.


Depression can, without exaggeration, be described as an insidious enemy. I feel sorry for anyone who has to live with it, in constant combat. Over the years, I have dealt with a wide array of symptoms such as hopelessness, feeling lost, or being extremely sad and not knowing why. Many times, I would find myself crying hysterically for seemingly no reason and struggling with an ardent desire to die. I wish I could describe how odd that was, to feel something so real but at the same time not be able to identify its source. How peculiar that the human psyche can pick its own dangerous mood.

The toughest moments over the years have often started with an inability to concentrate and a loss of interest in things I had previously found pleasurable. In those moments, I simply wanted to be left alone to die. It didn’t seem like an unreasonable request. As the days passed, my mind would become inundated with thoughts of death. At times I felt like I deserved to die, like that was what was supposed to happen.

Was I worth anything to anyone? That was the question I asked myself quite often. Eventually, I decided that the answer was no. I was worthless. Everyone in the world would be better off without me. My being alive was hindering others from reaching their full potential of happiness. However, I did imagine that if I ever ended my life, people would cry and feel pain temporarily. But they would quickly recover.

That would be because, even for those who were kind and maybe loving to me, the kindnesses that they showed weren’t truly specifically for me, young Eva Branch. I always felt like people showed the obligatory amount of attention that good manners would prompt a respectable person to show. In essence, they did things for me out of a sense of formal duty and formed no emotional attachment to me.

If indeed that was the case, it might have been for good reason. I likely didn’t seem like a person who wanted people to draw closer to me. Maybe that is because, for many years, I myself was unable to form real emotional attachments. How did I realistically expect others to respond?

Perhaps I was giving off an air of aloofness. So, naturally people might have drawn the line at basic human compassion because they thought those were my boundaries. Despite their kindness, real or not, though, I didn’t think anyone besides Dad and my brother genuinely cared about me. And I still felt like I was a measure of a burden to them.

Although I was a loner emotionally, I formed physical “attachments” easily. To be blunt, I had sex quite freely. As I mentioned earlier, I started having sex at the age of 14, shortly before I started getting periods. Incidentally, I don’t think you even knew when I got my first period. At the time, I didn’t see a reason to tell you. You weren’t going to help me understand it or cope with it. Or would you have tried? I'll never know. But I digress.

Needless to say, I was utterly unprepared for puberty. And, in general, I didn't know what to expect from or to be expected to contribute to sexual or romantic relationships. However, I think part of me thought these types of connections would perhaps cure my depression. What a foolish notion.

Little did I know that I would actually be traveling further down the rabbit hole with each physical act of “intimacy” with others. As I was having sex with more partners who didn’t genuinely care about me, I was feeling worse and worse emotionally and mentally. My desire to die was growing. But I kept finding sex partners who would hopefully provide that coveted happiness.

I’ll start from the beginning. I remember the outfit I was wearing the day I “lost” my virginity, as the saying goes. I especially remember the surprised look on my boyfriend Harold’s face when I offered to have sex with him. I previously had shown or felt no interest in being sexually intimate with him. We kissed and held hands, but that was it. Oddly enough, unlike other boys his age, he behaved like a gentleman and accepted those minor displays of affection. In retrospect, that made me feel safe and in control of things.

That particular day though, I noticed the look on his face as his best friend Eugene was walking into his girlfriend’s house. We both knew what they were going to do. They were going to engage in some type of sexual activity, whether intercourse, oral, anal, or whatever teenagers did at the time.

But both I and Harold knew it wasn’t happening between the two of us. I simply had no interest. And he had graciously accepted that his girlfriend would remain a virgin for at least the near future. So, the moment I saw that look on his face, a downcast look I had never seen before, I decided to surprise him. I grabbed him by the hand and asked him to walk with me to the house. From the way I marched determinedly down the street, with him in tow, he eventually realized my intentions.

As we walked up the stairs to the bedroom, he asked me if I was sure this was what I really wanted. Well of course. I was absolutely sure (at 14 years old). I couldn’t have him feeling snubbed – his best friend was having sex but he wasn’t. That was preposterous.

And there we have the start of me sharing my body because it was what my partner needed or desired from me. I felt like it would make me feel appreciated and wanted. But no such feeling ever came, not from sex anyway. I had sex with over 40 boys and men before I got married. And not one of those instances made me genuinely feel the least bit wanted, valued, or less depressed.

In fact, it would be a few years before I started to enjoy sex and actually want it for myself. Until then, I took part, seemingly wholeheartedly, because that is what I thought was expected of me. That was what I believed would cause someone to really love me and stick with me.

Perhaps if I could have talked to you about how I was feeling, you could have helped me see my real worth. Maybe you could have even talked to my doctor about what I was experiencing mentally and emotionally. I definitely needed some type of treatment, whether therapy, medication, or both. But it would be many years, and 1 more suicide attempt, before I sought treatment.

I know teenagers are notorious for not listening to their parents’ advice. So, the thing is, I might very well still have chosen to sleep around, cut classes, use drugs, and do everything else I did as a young person. But, since we cannot go back, we will never know what my young life would have been had you noticed my feelings of depression and talked to me, listened to me, loved me.

About the Author

Eva Tillman published her first work in 2023. However, she has enjoyed writing since she was a teenager.

She lived in several regions of the United States before she finally settled in the West with its palm trees and almost constant sunshine. She loves to read, eat, and help others feel good about themselves.

Many people, including Eva, have faced trauma of different types. Unfortunately, the hands of time cannot be turned back. But it is possible to live happy and successful lives, contentedly coping with the slowly dissipating effects of the trauma.

In her most personal work, "Dear Mom", Eva does her best to express herself as she would if she were writing to Mother herself. Perhaps one day Eva will deliver the book to its rightful recipient. For now, she enjoys the liberation of having poured out her true feelings.


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