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Letters to my teenage son

As an artist working in an auto ethnographic way, I use the stories of my life and the emotion I experience within my work. In each piece of work I am vulnerable and convey the heartache and helplessness of parenting a teenage son.

This body of work is inspired and led by the emotions, pain and helplessness of this time. Grief stricken and wishing that all could be better.

In the depth of this pain, I wrote a letter to my son and here it is.

A Letter to my Teenage Son.

Dear You,

The words we speak are so cruel, yet neither of us recoils when they are spat. The sounds that emerge from within us are demonic – full of hatred.

We used to look at each other with such adoration and amusement. You were my baby boy. I was your mummy. You are a young man and I your nemesis.

You scream fuck off. You scream you don’t need me. You scream you hate it here. You scream you hate me. Your words tear me about. Your words are so raw – so definite- so full of emotion – they reveal your vulnerability – they reveal your fear.

Your fear of the world changing for you. My fear of reaching my expiration date- no longer wanted on voyage. Your time of listening and reflecting at a pause, while your hormones race around your body and rewire your brain. Your brain so delicate causing you so much anxiety and worry. Your ungoverned mind destroying all the things that it has learnt in the past.

The words I speak to you are irrelevant – you reject them- you reject me. I know it is part of the process – I didn’t think it would come on so suddenly.

Your amygdala is raging and my heart is breaking.

My opinions no longer sway you, I am a spectator.

I see you in your pain – I watch – I see you in your pain – I sit with you in your discomfort.

I watch you as your world crumbles around you. I want to reach out – to rescue you- but you can’t find the words to ask for help- that part of the brain has not been connected yet. 

You are free falling and I cannot catch you – you don’t want me to. I stand and watch – I secretly prepare the ground for your landing – just enough for you not to notice – but enough.

I watch and hope that you will find the parachute that I have taught you to use ever since you have been with us.

I photograph you – without you knowing – I see you – I see your sadness in your eyes – the confusion, anxiety, despair. I study your face, the face that I used to stroke – the little boy I sang to – the little boy I held so tight, I was afraid you would pop.

Tears roll down my face and my pencil drags across the page – my hand as heavy as my heart.

All I have taught you appears gone. The tools I equipped you with are lost. And all I can do is watch.

I am here and I will stay – watching you – sitting with you – still loving you – always loving you.

All my love, me xx

This is the main piece in the body of work, called 'A letter to my teenage son' .

It is 120cm x 80cm un framed and is acrylic, and oil onto canvas.

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