To my father,
No, I will not glorify you with the title of "dad". As far as I'm concerned, that role in my life is occupied by someone who has actually been there for me. Before I start this letter, I need to clarify a few things. I am not writing this letter for you, I do not owe you any explanations. This letter is not to make you, your wife, your children, or anyone else in your family change your opinions on me. I am writing this letter for myself. For once I need to do something for myself. I need to be heard. I am tired of being silenced, and I am tired of you silencing me.
While genetically, you may be my father, you will never be more than that to me. You and your family can argue all you want, but my feelings and my opinions will not change. You abandoned me. You let me go.
You see, there is a large portion of our story which you don't know, and may never know. I have tried countless times to get you to hear my story, only to have you pass me off as your over dramatic teenage daughter. Maybe you're right, maybe I am simply another over dramatic teenage girl. But my words still deserve to be heard. And now, I am finally going to make sure someone hears them. So here goes nothing. Or maybe everything. Who knows.
Do you remember the last time we had a real conversation? Do you remember the day I tried to explain to you how I felt? Well I do. I remember swallowing my pride, choking back my tears, and fighting the anxious knot in my stomach. Words could not even explain my fears at that moment. Afraid that I would lose one of the most important people in my life. Worried that you wouldn't love me anymore.
Flash forward to the present. I am now nearing nineteen years old. I am no longer the teary-eyed child that you once claimed to know. After having my biggest fear come true, watching my own father walk away, and trying desperately to force myself to believe in my own worth. I've come to realize, it doesn't matter who else loves me. I am so much stronger than I gave myself credit for. I am capable of getting through anything life throws at me.
As for our last conversation, there is still so much you never got the chance to hear. I know you, and I know that you will continue to blame me, avoid learning the truth, and do whatever it takes to escape your own guilt. But I am no longer going to be the one carrying that guilt for you. I am no longer going to blame myself.
You see, I spent years blaming myself. For sixteen years, I pushed myself to my breaking point. I was determined to be the perfect daughter. Determined to be someone deserving of your love. This determination broke me. Caused me to stop loving myself. Forced me to push away all forms of affection in my life. I lost touch with the girl I really wanted to be. I was too consumed with the idea of being the daughter you wanted me to be.
I no longer care about your feelings towards me. I have forced myself to accept that I do not need your approval. I have given up on you. And you have no one to blame except yourself. Remember that conversation I mentioned? The one where I sat in your car and cried my eyes out? When you told me to "just forget about it"? I wanted to kill myself. I harmed myself for years because if I couldn't be good enough for you, I would never be good enough for anyone. You wanted me to forget about my own well-being. My own survival. My own life. When all I wanted was to hear my father admit that I was good enough. You couldn't even hear me out, you refused to even give me that.
So here I am. It's been three years. I'm still ignoring the consistent, threatening text messages from your wife. I'm still struggling to see myself as "good enough". Worst of all, I am still hurting myself. While you might not know it, that is a guilt that you will never be able to run away from. You are the reason that your own daughter doesn't have a life, the reason that I struggle every single day just to get myself out of bed. You might have had the opportunity to forget about your daughter and move on with your life, but I will never have that luxury.
The daughter you forgot.