I don’t think I’ve ever said, “Thank You.” I’ve told you all the reasons I’ve been hurt by you, mad at you, and even felt unloved by you. I’ve never told you all the reasons why I’m grateful for you.
I won’t lie, we’ve had a difficult past. Sometimes, those memories still haunt me. I still go into panic over the words spoken between us. You missed a lot, and I never understood. Now that I’m 22 years old and I’ve done my own soul searching, I’m beginning to understand. And I forgive you. I hope you forgive me.
You always did what you believed to be best for me. When you took me out of school to homeschool me, you were my hero. You saved me from a life of judgement, ridicule, and loneliness. I wish we had both been more prepared as to how to go about homeschooling me, but I’m thankful that you tried your best.
For years, I believed you had just given up on me. That I couldn’t do anything. But now, I see that it wasn’t a reflection of your belief in me but a reflection of your pain and suffering. I understand now that you tried your best. I understand now that the guilt of not being able to do some things has probably eaten away at you over the years.
I want you to know, I have never once hated you. I have never once called you a bitch or said to go to hell. I admit, I said “fuck you” one time and I hated myself for that. All I have ever wanted is your approval. I have driven myself crazy trying to get it, I’ve gone overboard trying to forget about it.
I made my mistakes as a teenager. I want you to know I’m no longer that girl. I partied, I lied, and I rebelled. It wasn’t to hurt you, I was trying to escape my own struggles. I was trying to escape the mental illnesses that took over my mind, that weren’t being treated. Not because you didn’t try, but because I refused.
Now, I look back at our time with pain in my heart. All the times I was mad at you or hurt by you, I couldn’t see the truth. I couldn’t see that you were suffering in front of my eyes. I couldn’t see that you just needed my help. And I am sorry for that.
You missed a birthday dinner I had planned for you, you missed my graduation, you weren’t there to go prom dress shopping with me, and you didn’t know how to braid my hair. What I can see now is that you tried to make up for it in the only ways you knew how. You tried by giving me makeup, jewelry, clothes. You still try, and I can’t tell you how much I appreciate you trying.
I’ve spent most of my life wondering what I did wrong. I’ve spent countless years wondering why you didn’t love me. Now, I see that all along I didn’t do anything wrong, and you do love me. I see that the pain you suffered while having to deal with my pain became too much for you to handle.
You have a chronic illness, you have some of the same mental illnesses that I do. Depression, PTSD. You were forced to deal with your pain as well as my own. And now I can see how strong you are for that, now I can understand why you became weak at moments. My pain was overwhelming, it took away from the help you so desperately needed. It forced you to deal with things you did not want to deal with.
When I was 11, most of my anxiety came from the fact that I felt guilty. I still do. I was fully aware that my suffering was not easy for you. It was impossible to try to have you understand that I was aware. I didn’t want you to have to deal with my problems. I felt like a burden, I truly believed your life would have been better off without me in it.
At age 11 I was suicidal. I never told anyone. I never told anyone because I knew I wouldn’t do anything. There were two reasons as to why I couldn’t do anything. One, was my faith in God. A faith that you made sure I’d have. The second, was you. You kept me alive. Your love saw me through my pain and suffering. I saw you, I saw how you fought to keep going for me. I did the same for you.
I want you to know, I understand now. My own struggles with medication makes me understand you now. Being unable to work for the past year has made me understand you. Some days, we can’t get off the sofa. Some days, we try our best to grin and bear it. But we can be selfish, and we have a right to be. We have a right to put ourselves first in trying to take care of our illnesses.
I know you may feel like you failed. I know you may feel like you’re not a good mother. And I know I’ve told you before that you weren’t. But, I’m here now, with better understanding. I’m saying thank you. Thank you for being the strong woman that you are. Thank you for giving me my attitude. Thank you for giving me my stubbornness, my sarcasm, my ability to take no bullshit and stand up for myself.
You’ve given me all that I’m interested in. My favorite movies and shows are those that have memories of watching with you attached to them. I love makeup because when I was 11 you believed fully in my artistic abilities. I love hair because you let me do yours. I love to dress up and look nice because every time we went out, I watched you put in the time to make sure you looked your best. I love the news because I grew up watching it with you. I have a passion for writing because of one sentence you gave me, “learn how to bullshit.” My writing is rarely bullshit anymore. The pieces I post come from my heart, but you gave me inspiration to begin on a journey of writing.
We may have our differences. You may believe things that I could never imagine believing. You may disagree with me on my sometimes liberal outlook. You may disagree with what I choose to wear and how I present myself. I may disagree with you on how much you love guns and roll my eyes when I see your survival kit.
We are alike, and we have our differences. But I could not be the strong woman I am today without you. Thank you.