Finally Free From Your Misery
Every time you told me that I was worthless, you chipped at my self-esteem.
Every time you laughed at me, made fun of me, compared me to my sister or a neighbor or a friend, you chipped away at my self-esteem.
Every time you hit me, yelled at me, punished me for a tiny infraction, like leaving my clothes on the floor, you chipped away at my self-esteem.
Every time you told me that I was disgusting or despicable, you chipped away at my self-esteem.
Every time you told me no one would ever love me but you, you chipped away at my self-esteem.
Every time you made me stand out in the cold, you chipped away at my self-esteem.
Every time you forced me to lie for you, you chipped away at my self-esteem.
Every time you treated me like I owed you everything—cooking, cleaning, laundry, shopping, earning money that you’d take—you chipped away at my self-esteem.
Every time I cried myself to sleep, it was because you had chipped away at my self-esteem.
Every time I called myself stupid or worthless or ugly or unlovable, it was because you had chipped away at my self-esteem.
Every time I thought this world would be better without me, it was because you had chipped away at my self-esteem.
It took me years to understand that you were the one with the problem. You were the one who was hateful and cruel. It took me years to find my voice and not hide away from others.
I forgive you. Because anyone who treats another person with that much cruelty has something severely wrong with them. I pity you. You beat out and destroyed any love I may have had for you. You tried to control me, but I surprised you by moving out. I worked hard to support myself.
I chose to go hungry, rather than live under your roof.
I chose school, rather than stay ignorant and impoverished.
I chose to live in a tiny room with next to nothing in order to make myself into someone I could respect. I did that without you.
You may have beaten me down, but you didn’t beat me.
You always told me that I should be grateful to you. So thank you. Because I’m the opposite of you.
I know hard work and I’m not afraid of it.
I know what true love and friendship is because you showed me the opposite.
I know resilience and determination.
I’ve learned what’s valuable: Love. Kindness. Compassion. Generosity. Forgiveness. Gratitude. Faith.
Because you showed me the opposite, I value and cherish humanity, respect and honor and appreciate people regardless of color, religion, or sexual identity.
To those who have been my guardian angels, thank you.
So Mom, keep your hate, your rage, your lies, your blame, your bigotry, your misery. I forgive you and am thankful that I’m finally free!
I Hope You Forgive Me
Dear “Finally Free From Your Misery,”
Courageous! A survivor and a thriver, that’s what and who you are! It’s not easy to turn away from a message that’s been pounded into you over and over again. To chose to become the opposite of what you knew was wrong is one of the bravest things a person could ever do.
You are a role model and a light to those who are still in a place of darkness. Thank you so much for sharing your powerful story of hope and humanity!
To anyone who is suffering at home, we hope this powerful letter will give you the courage to recognize that it’s not YOU! Anyone who uses physical force or repeatedly uses words to demean and harm and control is indeed an unhealthy, deeply troubled and dangerous person. Don’t allow their poison to infiltrate you. Get help. Protect yourself in anyway you can that keeps you safe. Sometimes the adults in our lives fail us. Sometimes, courage means creating a plan. If you’re in an unbearable situation, please be careful. Please be smart. Please make sure you’re safe. We hope that all of you will have some truly wonderful guardian angels to turn to, just like “Finally Free From Your Misery.”