Dear Mom and Dad,
I have waited a long time to write this. High school, college, my first job, my first apartment.
Your firstborn is finally an adult.
We’ve addressed the issues before. Usually at the kitchen table, or as you stand in my doorway while I cry in my bedroom. I have yelled. I have called you assholes, terrible parents.
I blamed you for fucking me up.
You did fuck me up.
I am an adult now, so it isn’t your job to parent me any more. To teach me acceptance of self. To tell me I am beautiful; perfect the way I am. To tell me I deserve only the best. To tell me that guy who broke my heart is crazy for letting me get away. To tell me I am a catch. A good person. A talented artist. A fountain of possibility. A woman with an amazing life ahead of her.
You weren’t there for me when I was bullied in middle school and high school. You wrote it off as “being a kid” or “well, that’s high school,” but I was a kid. I was in high school. That’s all I knew. I didn’t have your hindsight.
When I found the note in the garbage during science class, the one that was written about me by two girls in the class, you weren’t the ones who held me and told me it would be okay.
You didn’t acknowledge the pain that I felt when I read those words – ‘she’s such a stupid bitch. I wish she’d just like jump off a cliff.’
You told me they were being stupid and childish. You told me to brush it off.
You found the suicide note that I penned at 11 years old. You were going through my stuff. I was so mad at you. You sent me to therapy, and we never spoke of it again.
When I was diagnosed with depression and bipolar disorder, you didn’t help me shoulder the burden. You didn’t cry with me. You didn’t buy any books on the topic. You didn’t do the Walk for Mental Health charity 5k that I KNOW happened several years ago.
Why didn’t you do that?
When I overdosed in college and you came to pick me up, you silently drove me home to your house, two hours away, where I stayed the entire weekend to “get away from everything.” On Sunday night, you asked if I was okay.
I’m okay. Two days ago I tried to kill myself, again, but you know, sure, okay, I’m fine.
And then you put me on a bus back to school.
And we never spoke of that weekend again.
I stayed in therapy.
When I gained all of that weight, because of the PCOS, and I was sad, miserable, and feeling less than worthy of anything, you bribed me with a new car to lose 20 lbs. You didn’t tell me I was pretty. You didn’t tell me size was just a number. You didn’t tell me to go out and have fun with my friends, to not care about what I looked like, to know that it was the inside the counted the most.
You told me you’d buy me a car, and when I starved myself for two months, you handed me the keys.
You never told me it would get better.
But then there was your second child.
I know now that parents have favorites. Do you love all three of us? Of course you do. If something were to happen to any one of us, would it break you? I would hope. But when all three of your kids stand in front of you, you know who your favorite is.
He is your favorite child.
He grew up bubbly, fun, surrounded by friends. Smart, adorable, well-behaved. Charming.
I hated him from the beginning. Remember the time I spilled hot soup on him when he was three? Remember the time I yanked a huge chunk of hair out of his head when he was seven?
I was, undoubtedly, your angry child.
But somewhere along the path of growing up, he became my favorite too. When you guys didn’t care about my broken heart, he did.
When I needed help with stats, he always knew the answers.
When I was in my darkest moments, fearing the end, I remembered that while I idolized him more than he looked up to me, I had a little brother to take care of.
He encouraged me when you didn’t. He took me seriously when you brushed me off. He laughed at my jokes. He asked to spend time with me. He got to know me beyond being his sister and your daughter.
All the while, he shined. Confident, secure, compassionate; he encompassed everything you’d look for in another human being. He made for great company.
He is gay.
You didn’t bribe him to change. You didn’t encourage him to shy away from his friends because he was getting used to his new skin. You just didn’t.
He was still beautiful. He was still talented. He was still smart. No matter what he “was” – he was still your son. My brother. And you loved him for exactly who he was, exactly who he is, just as you did before, just as you always will.
The acceptance was instant. It was non-negotiable.
He was surrounded by your love – the same love I lacked when it came to my yearning for your acceptance. Your non-negotiable support.
I resented you. I resented him.
In the wake of the recent suicides within the LBGQT community, I am so thankful that my little brother was one of the few who was enveloped in love and support from the very beginning.
That he became so much more that could define him other than his orientation.
That his life was so filled with possibility, he never wanted it to end.
You did not grace me with an abundance of love at the times I needed it the most. Perhaps it was because I was your first – your oldest – your first “go” at all things parenting. Perhaps you had no idea what to do, so you chose to do nothing. I know that as a child, I was different. I had different needs. As an adult, I can understand that. And I can empathize.
But thank you for being exactly the type of parents my little brother needed.
If you had been different, if things had been different…well, I don’t know how to even write the words that follow. I can’t write them.
All I know is that I am grateful for him – the one person that in my darkest hour will tell me, “Caroline…it gets better.”
My little brother.
I haven’t told many people about this. Very few know any details. My husband knows the gist of it, but not all of it.
I was around 15 years old and I’d already spent time battling my personal demon. It was named Self-Harm and it came armed with a blade and a lighter.
I swallowed a bottle of… something. I can’t remember what. They had me on so many different medications. They wanted to “fix” me. The mutilation scared my parents. Not, of course, enough to try anything beyond anonymous prayer requests to the church group and a random assortment of pills. That, along with attempts, pleading with me to just stop and shaming me for my behavior, was supposed to be my “miracle cure.”
I don’t remember what finally tripped the trigger and pushed me to that point. Was it an argument? A particularly bad day? I don’t know. I can’t remember.
I remember being rushed to the ER. I remember the staff being unable to get a tube down into my stomach. I remember vomiting, repeatedly, every time they tried. Eventually they stopped trying and handed me a big mug of some charcoal mixture and told me to drink it.
Afterward, I had to stay in the ICU for 24 hours. I should have been sent to the local Psych unit for 72 hours. But I wasn’t. The doctor came in and talked to me.
He made me promise not to do this again, patted me on my head, handed me another prescription, and sent me off.
And that was it.
I went home.
I saw a “Christian Counselor” (despite religion being one of the major things my parents and I fought about) a handful of times over the next six months. My medication was changed a few more times. I can’t even remember everything we tried.
And that was it.
I stopped taking the medication when it was “mutually decided” I should move out.
I struggled with depression and other issues off and on for the next three or four years. It wasn’t until after the birth of my son and my second bout of Paranoid Personality Disorder that I started taking medication regularly or seeing a counselor on a regular basis.
I wonder how things would have turned out if they’d been handled differently way back then?
I was never going to write on here. I was going to comment and offer support… but I was never going to write about how I felt.
“It’ll go away later,” I’d tell myself. “There worse things out there in life than feeling down every now and then.” “Everyone gets overwhelmed this time of year.”
But then I wonder if it’s worse than that.
I’ve always been relatively smart. My elementary school wanted me to advance to 2nd grade during Kindergarten. I was in Beta Club and always enjoyed school. Then, in the 3rd grade, my parents split up. I vaguely remember an incident where my dad hit my mom. They got back together when I was in 6th grade. But, things weren’t going well.
We moved after 6th grade. My best friend had moved away a year earlier and I had a hard time making new friends in my new town.
I was smart… and smart kids aren’t the cool kids.
So, I dumbed myself down.
Things weren’t good at home, either. My parents were not happy and it showed. My mom had a meeting with my teacher’s my sophomore year of high school to discuss my poor grades and my English teacher told her it was because I was bored with school. It was too easy for me, and I had given up.
I had driven myself to the point that I actually told my mother that I wanted to kill myself.
To this day I can not guarantee that it was an empty threat.
After we moved, everything about me changed. I became my mother… she gets upset too easily. She’s depressed. As far as I know, she’s not gotten help for it and she’s always telling me to stop getting “into tizzies.”
I’ve been in some bad relationships where I was used and cheated on and emotionally abused. I was called a “butterface” (everything is okay about her, but her face), ugly, and fat. I think the worst thing people made fun of me for was my nose. It’s on the larger side and now every time I look at myself in the mirror all I see is that damn nose.
How it makes me far from perfect.
I’m engaged now and I love my fiance with all of my heart and I know he loves me, too…but there’s this voice that comes out every now and then and eats away at me.
That voice says that he deserves someone beautiful and he’s going to find her and leave me. My self-esteem is not great.
I trust that he loves me and won’t leave me… but that voice in my head won’t shut up.
The best way to describe how I feel is when you go to a store like Best Buy. If you go to the back of the store where all the TVs are, and you put each TV on a different channel and close your eyes. All those voices, all the things running through your mind – and I can’t make it stop.
My self-esteem is so very low. I can’t even make simple decisions like what I want to eat for dinner. If I go to make a speech or presentation in class, I get so shaky I can barely stand up, let alone speak. In some classes I can’t understand the material, so I cry.
When Tony asks me what I don’t understand so he can help, all I can muster is, “I just don’t understand.”
What’s the most important thing I don’t understand?
Why I went from a smart, outgoing kid to someone who wants to hide in their room with the lights off.
And, then there are days when I feel great and nothing is wrong and I just say to myself, “it went away like usual. See? Everything is better. Sometimes people just get sad.”
Until that voice in the back of my head finds those remotes again.
I am a seventeen year old girl. For quite some time, I had been experiencing strange feelings. Around ten months ago, I had an illness that lasted for three months. No doctor could tell the exact reason. Some of them said it was related to some kind of mental disturbance. I thought about my life at that moment. Everything was fine, so I ignored it.
Six months later, I found myself having trouble sleeping, isolating myself from people, and having suicidal thoughts. Everything in my life was amazing then. I couldn’t figure out what was causing this, and because I failed to understand myself, everyone else did too. Three months later, during a chemistry test, I went blank and felt like a corpse.
I had figured it out, I had been raped.
It had started when I was nine years old. My mother had been transferred to a different state than where my father lived. We were living with my uncle and his family. I was very innocent, and was irritated and let down by my cousins who constantly mocked at me for everything I did.
One day, while my mom was at work, one of my male cousins came into my room and locked the door. He asked me to play with him. I was glad someone wanted to play with me. He wanted to play house, so he played the role of my husband. As the time to sleep came, he lay next to me and felt me all over, making me uncomfortable. He groped my tiny breasts and kissed me repeatedly. I felt so bad, I asked him to leave. I didn’t really know what all was happening, but I knew it wasn’t right. From then on, I avoided being with him alone. Time passed, we moved back in with my dad, and the incident was soon forgotten.
When I was twelve, I was at another uncle’s house. My mom went out for sometime, and I was alone with my uncle. He sat beside me and hugged me. Then, he started touching me everywhere, and slid his hands inside my shirt. I ran away and stayed in the bathroom until my mom returned. I thought about telling her, but I was worried she wouldn’t believe me, so I didn’t say anything.
The next year, we stayed at my grandfather’s house, without our parents. One night, my aunt’s husband woke me up in the middle of the night by running his fingers up and down my legs. I was horrified and ran to the bathroom. My younger sister was sleeping in the same room, so I went back to the room, praying he wouldn’t still be there. I didn’t want to shout because my sister would wake up, and she was too young to witness this. He kept trying to feel my body under my clothes, so I kicked him very hard. I warned him to back off or else I would shout.
The next day, when I was combing my hair, he grabbed my breasts from behind and kissed my neck and back. I was bewildered. I stayed quiet because I was afraid my mom would not believe me and our family would fall apart. I was relieved when my parents came back.
Two months later, my aunt invited us to her place. My mother went out with my aunt to shop, and my father was busy with some work. I was on the computer with my back to the door, my aunt’s husbad came in and locked the door. Before I could think of an escape, he made me lie on the couch and kissed my lips. He French kissed me and touched every part of my body. I shouted, but nobody seemed to hear. I was saved when the doorbell suddenly rang. I felt like telling my mom about it, but just couldn’t. I told a trusted cousin about it, and the problem stopped.
When I was 15, I had a boyfriend. I was falling for him and thought I could trust him. One day, we had gone on a drive when he turned into a deserted street and stopped the car. I asked him what was wrong, and he started to kiss me. I kissed him back. He went further and took off my shirt. I was shocked and asked him to stop, but he got on top of me, unbuttoned both of our pants, and stuck out his penis. I told him I was on my period, and I begged him not to do it. He got off me.
I punched him and shouted for help, but no one listened. He asked me to blow him. I didn’t know what that meant. He grabbed me by the throat, and pushed his penis inside my mouth. I understood then and punched his chest. He became violent, and he started to choke me. I knew I had to cooperate to stay safe. I begged him to stop. When I didn’t give in, he made me rub and stroke his penis. Finally he ejaculated, then he drove me home, without saying a word.
I came back home only to discover my mom had read my diary and knew I was with my boyfriend instead of at my friend’s house. I was shattered. My parents are completely against teenagers dating, so my mom acted like I had betrayed her. I didn’t have the courage then to tell her what had happened.
I opened my phone to call up my best friend, but discovered I had a text from her that said she was diagnosed with blood cancer. I was breaking down.
After ignoring his calls, I finally decided I needed to meet with my boyfriend to tell him I was done. But when we met, he took me to a corner, and without wasting any time, he shoved his finger up my vagina. I was shocked, and I ran back home.
The next day, my dog died.
I was falling into a pit, and it seemed impossible to come out. With no one to talk to about this, I decided to just shove it in some corner of my heart. That resulted in bad health and emotional problems.
This September, I finally contacted a helpline and went to a counselor who changed my life. I told my parents about everything. They listened and stood by me, without blaming me. I am making a new start with the help of my loved ones.
I’m trying so hard to not kill myself. It used to be the thing keeping me from suicide was my family, but lately, it seems like they don’t even care.
I wasn’t even supposed to be born. I hate that my mom didn’t get rid of me. I shouldn’t be alive, and I hate being alive.
I’m suffering everyday of my life. This isn’t how life should be. What makes it worse is I’m 16. I’m a junior in high school.
THIS ISN’T HOW IT’S SUPPOSED TO BE.
What happened to high school being the best years of our lives? These have been my worst. I just want to be happy. But I have serious doubts about that happening.
How all these amazing people survived, I don’t know. They’re lucky. They have a reason to live, I guess. I don’t. I’m literally worthless. I have ruined everyone’s lives around me. I just want to die…