This past week has been one of the most stressful and hurtful weeks I’ve experienced since I was still living with my family in high school. There have been a lot of accusations, name-calling, inflammatory words, and just plain hurtful language. I have spent hours in a haze of hurt, anger, and worry, and often wondered how to get out of it. All of this was incredibly distracting and stressful.
But there were some people who were willing to help. They emailed or messaged me personally, letting me know they were sorry for my family’s actions and that they supported me. They talked with me late into the night, reaffirming my self-confidence and self-worth. They offered their homes and their attention as refuges so that I could try to distress and distance myself. They weighed in on my options and decisions, helping me make the right choices not only for myself but also for others. They made me laugh either through jokes, plans, or in one incredible case, an entirely new laptop. They were invaluable.
I write my feelings as an open letter because I have never been good at expressing them directly. Over the past decade, I’ve gotten better at it, moving through all the intermediary stages of passive-aggressiveness, mailed and hand-delivered notes, texts, and emails; however, I still struggle with this. I hope this letter reaches you and that I have shown just how much you mean to me and how helpful and necessary your support was. If not, I apologize, but please know that if you helped me at all this week, even in ways you don’t consider important, I appreciated it.
I am often surprised by how supportive others can be. My family is overall not very supportive, and I have had a series of unsupportive and judgmental friends in the past. While these people might have been good for sleepovers and band camp, they were always conspicuously absent in times of extreme stress and need. I have had entire swaths of friends abandon me after blaming our group’s problems on me and goading their mothers into talking with mine. I have had friends get so angry after I’ve spurned their advances that they’ve sent viruses to my computer and destroyed it and everything on it. I’ve had friends refuse to contact me anymore because their mothers didn’t approve of my parents or of my outspokenness. I’ve had friends tell me not to call or text after a certain time and to never bring up the topic I needed their help with because it was stressful for them. I have, in short, had many bad friends.
That is why I am often hesitant to come to you in times of need or unburden my feelings to you. I don’t wish to be disappointed or hurt. It has happened too often in the past, and I would like to decrease the change of it happening again in the future.
However, I also don’t want to put my problems on you or have you think less of me. I know that you’re busy, and I know that you have problems of your own. You don’t need more. I would like for you to think of me as a confident, competent individual that you can come to whenever you want to or need to. I worry that you won’t be able to if you see me struggling from time to time. I worry that you will think I am irresponsible, melodramatic, or selfish.
So thank you again for being there for me and for not making me feel like I was irresponsible, incompetent, melodramatic, or selfish, and thank you for not holding my family’s bad behavior against me. I try to shield my friends from them, but I am not always successful, especially when I need to talk about them in order to let out my feelings.
If I have made you feel uncomfortable in any way, I apologize; that was not my intention. If I have rambled too long over something we’ve already discussed ad nauseam, I also apologize. You are wonderful for putting up with it and not holding it against me.
I hope that things like this won’t happen again – at least, not in the near future. I also hope that you won’t hesitate to unburden yourself to me in the future. I will do my best to pay attention to you, your life, and your emotions, but know that even if I fail to notice on my own, I still want you to tell me. And I will be there will commiseration and some kind of food. I love giving people food.
So thank you again. Thank you for giving me the strength and perspective to power through this difficult week, and thank you for reminding me that I am loved and esteemed and worthy of being loved and esteemed. It is always so nice to be reminded of that.
With all my love and gratitude,