It’s been a while since we’ve had a word, but I’d like to have one now.
There’s so much I need to tell you, but perhaps the biggest is that I’m sorry.
I’m sorry I didn’t recognize your worth before; I’m sorry I was unkind. When you needed my love, I turned the opposite way. I brushed you off and tried to drown myself in just about anyone else.
I betrayed you when you needed me most, and when you made a mistake, I held it against you for years. Forgiveness always felt fake, because the second you were vulnerable and exhausted your bravery, I’d stab you with the pain of your past all over again. That was a cruel thing to do, and you deserved so much better.
You deserved to be loved unconditionally and whole-heartedly, to be forgiven for your darkness and admired for your ability to confront it. I now understand why you clung to toxic affairs, why you dug your nails into the humans who treated you the worst. You just wanted to find the thing you were lacking, and you thought you could get it from someone else.
I think you also thought someone might save you like some damsel in distress. But sometimes it is the very things that break our heart that teach us how to love ourselves, how to be our own savior.
I’m sorry I called you ugly, that I ridiculed your body and picked it apart. Even when you had acne and braces, you were beautiful. I should have told you that more.
I’m sorry I didn’t believe in you or support your dreams. Your desires were never too good for you, and I’ll spend the rest of our life trying to prove that to you.
I’m sorry I loitered so much in our past and stole you away from countless moments in the present. I vow to capture more of those now and not be so fraught with worry.
I’m sorry for wanting to end your life and for thinking you were a waste of space. Your presence in this world is not only valued but a part of something spectacular. And the only waste would be not recognizing that.
I’m sorry for many things, but I’m not sorry for how you turned out. Because all your battle scars have strengthened you in ways I never imagined they would. I think you needed to experience heartache so you could learn compassion. I think you needed to be abandoned so you could stand on your own two feet. You needed to be knocked down to keep you humble. Lessons made you wiser, just as injuries made you stronger.
I know I haven’t said it lately, but I’m saying it now: I’m proud of you. I’m proud of you for surviving. And more than that, for persevering.
When life tries to get you down, it’s like your spirit doesn’t notice. But even if it did and you wanted to crumble beneath the weight of the world, I’d still love you, and there’s very little you could do to make that love evaporate.
It is because of this new-found love and respect that I have for you that I won’t allow you to hold onto bad people. I won’t allow you to judge your reflection or waste your potential either.
I will make sure you drink less wine and more water. That you read more books and watch less TV. That you take your vitamins daily, get plenty of rest, and exercise.
I will make sure you live for the moment. That you do more of the things that light a fire in you. I will make sure you don’t compare yourself to others and instead strive to be your best self.
I know a part of you will want to crumple up this letter and another part of you will deny its contents. And if you do, I’ll still love you. Because I know you’re still becoming, and that in itself is beautiful.