Thank you, Mom, for telling me that I drew well as a kid.

Thank you, Mom, for being protective. I don’t feel bitter or begrudge you your (false) statement that I’ll never make a living doing art.

You’ll never make money by being an artist. Why don’t you become a teacher? You’re good at teaching. Or how about becoming a nurse?

You only wanted for me the financial stability you never felt. You grew up fleeing Communists, and watched your own mother be taken away to work camps. You were only doing what you thought was best for your only child.

Thank you, Mom, for blocking me every step of the way: through high school, college, and graduate studies. Thank you for all the fights, the tears, and the heartbreak. Thank you for disowning me when I created an art installation about your reaction to my coming out.

Because now I know.

Now I know that you’re wrong, Mom. I can make money from art. Photography gets me hot, and there is no greater drug high than when I’m being creative. My creativity is a gift, and it moves people. It took me a thirteen year circuitous route to figure it out, but now that I’m here, I don’t want to stop.

Erica, 34, London, UK