For ten years I’ve wrote this letter over and over. For ten years I sought out words that would perfectly describe how much it hurts, how hard some days are, or how angry I was with you. And for ten years those words always fell short, and left me feeling angrier, and heartbroken. Finally, after a decade of trashcan letters, I discovered the words I had been so desperately seeking.
I forgive you.
I forgive you for not being in my life. I forgive you for not meeting my first boyfriend, taking pictures of my first prom, or helping me find the right school. I forgive you for all the missed dance recitals, late nights of homework, and parent teacher conferences. I forgive you for not teaching me how to drive, change a tire, or check the oil. I forgive you for all the missed holidays, birthdays, and milestones.
I forgive you for creating the girl with “daddy issues.” I forgive you for instilling the fear of abandonment in me. I forgive you for making me question the loyalty of every person I meet. I forgive you for making me fear the idea of letting someone in.
I forgive you.
For ten years I’ve been infuriated by you. I’ve spent days hating you for leaving. I can’t tell you how many thousands of tears I have wasted on you. As I’ve grown into the woman I am today, I have finally learned the most important lesson in all of this. Forgiveness feels considerably better than hatred.
While you created a damaged, love-fearing woman, you also created a woman who knows her worth. You created a woman who won’t stand for a love less than she deserves. You created a strong, independent, tough-minded woman, who doesn’t rely on anyone but herself.
The last decade has been the furthest thing from easy for me. But ten years later, I can finally see why life ended up this way. As I’ve matured, I realize that I wouldn’t be the woman I am today, without you. While it hurt like hell, and some days it still does, I needed you to leave in order to discover my true self.
And for that, I forgive you.