Family and Abandonment: An Open Letter

A little back story about this open letter…

I will not be clear throughout this post as to who I am referring to out of respect and privacy for the family.

A few months ago, I received a text that one of my immediate family members passed away due to COVID-19. This was an estranged family member from my mother’s side, one of many estranged members, unfortunately. My abandonment issues run deep. A large amount of my mother’s side of the family turned their backs on me, since a young age. Not all, but a large amount. I think what has bothered me all these years the most is that I had no involvement or control in their reasonings. I did not have a fair chance. And although I cannot say I am exactly disowned, I would consider myself involved in a worse scenario- ignored and forgotten. I am not really acknowledged as a family member. I have no idea where my deceased family member is buried nor was I considered to participate in a remembrance of life. It is bad enough that I have not talked to this person for over 15 years. A lot of pain and resentment sits in my heart.

When I received the news, my reaction was spontaneous.

At first, I was too stunned to give a reaction and for a split second, I felt unbothered due to my lack of connection to this person. Practically a stranger at this point. But rather quickly, the anger set in. Most of my childhood memories involved this person. This person was a big factor in my upbringing. Why was I not enough? How could anyone watch a child grow and be involved in that child’s growth and then just up and leave and never look back? I could never understand it. Ever. The anger set in when I realized I will never have these answers. I decided I was going to confront my family and I had one member, particularly in my mind.

Below is THAT letter. And now months later, I am sharing it with you all:

Hi [name of family member],

Remember this child? Do you know how long it has been since you have spoken to her? Or visited her? Do you even care how she is doing and what she has been up to the past 15 years?

I wish this conversation was more positive but honestly, I was never given a fair chance. You and [name of deceased family member] decided to walk away and stop calling. Somehow you decided that I was not your [relation] anymore. I never did anything to you. I was a child. You three including my mother, are the main reasons I do not know how to form a strong family bond with any of my family members, my father’s side included. The damage your actions have done on me are borderline irreversible. Congratulations. You did one hell of a number on me.

I was informed that [name of deceased] passed away. I am sorry to hear this and offer my condolences. I was heartbroken and resentful when I heard the news. I realized despite being angry and hurt all these years because you both decided to discard me out of your life like I was nothing to you, I still loved her. Crazy, right? So, I think it is time that I am owed an explanation. What did I do to the both of you to make you decide it was best to turn your back on me? You cannot be that cold of a person. It must cross you mind from time to time. Seriously, why? If this year has taught you anything, I hope it has taught you that time is precious and short. Too short to abandon ‘loved ones.’ I want to make it VERY clear that is what you both did to me. So again, why?

I do not even want an apology. I see no point. But if you can do one thing for me, is to please give me an explanation. For my own healing and closure.

Not that you care, but I have done well for myself despite all the toxic damage that I had to grow up with. I have managed to become an intelligent, strong, and compassionate woman. I was able to graduate with my bachelor’s degree in Psychology. I have a career in Human Resources. I am a published writer. I have traveled around the world. I have an amazing fiancé and we plan to marry at the end of this year. And hopefully, God will bless me with a child who I can raise and love the way I have always yearned to be loved by my mother. I can build my own family.

I would be highly surprised if you respond to this but at least I have said my peace. If you do not respond, I wish you the best in life. I hope you come to terms with the mistakes in your life. And I want you to know that it is never too late. It is never too late to try to reconcile with me. It will not be easy and the way I feel, I most likely will not be welcoming at first. But efforts do not go unnoticed. It is never too late. Goodbye.

If you are wondering…

No, I did not send it. Call me a coward or acknowledge that I chose not to for the sake of my own peace, both explanations would be correct. I decided it was healing for me to write it and that was for me alone.

I often find myself wondering if I will ever truly heal from this situation and forgive my family. It is a long, long, strenuous road. You take 5 steps forward, only to take 10 steps back. I may never truly heal from it. I have thought about going to therapy to address it. I honestly feel like I need to. For the sake of my own future child and the generations to follow. Part of my healing process has been finding awareness that a lot of my damage came from my childhood. The generational curses. I am determined for it to end with me. I have no problem carrying that cross if it means that my lineage after me will be filled with love, compassion, and awareness. It is one of my ultimate goals.

You know, reading this letter again after a few months still stings.

So much anger and resentment in the tone. I find myself feeling guilty for being so cold, especially after a death. I feel all my mixed emotions burning in my stomach as I reread the letter. But I know that this is normal. One of the biggest steps of a healing process is truly sitting in your pain and wholeheartedly feel it. I know that brings me a step closer in my journey and I am learning to find peace in that itself. We all have skeletons in our closet. Family traumas that run deep. I happen to be a little more open about it but that does not mean you have to be. Whether you keep it hidden or open, just do yourself the favor and feel it regardless. Do not ignore it. As painful and difficult as it may feel, it is necessary. If you can relate to my situation, I feel for you. You are not alone, and I am sending you so much love. Be kind to yourself. Here’s to healing ❤

An Open Letter to a Single Father: Thank you, Papi.

My father gave me the greatest gift anyone could give another person, he believed in me.

Jim Valvano

You know, it is truly difficult to put into words how appreciative I am of you.

I will never have enough words. Enough gratitude. Enough love to truly express how valued and respected you are.

Papi…I know I don’t always tell you. I know I don’t keep in touch as often as I should. Or visit more. I know I should do more. You are allotted a certain amount of time on this Earth and it seems like life is constantly moving way too fast. I promise I will work on that.

I know I don’t always tell you, but you are on my mind at least once a day. I know I don’t always tell you, but I pray for your safety and health. I know I don’t always tell you, but I beam when I tell others the story of how my father, a single father, raised one hell of a daughter since the age of 13. I know I don’t always tell you, but you are my hero. You truly are. I am not sure how I would have turned out if you did not play such a critical part in my upbringing. I should tell you more.

Not many people know this story…

but it is the story of our lives and I find myself replaying certain events when I reminisce. I don’t think anyone will truly understand the weight of your sacrifices to raise me on your own. All that we went through together. It was you and me, against the world. I can’t help but tear up as I write this. I owe you everything plus so much more.

Some people may hear this story and feel pity and sympathy. But at my current age, as I reflect on what has taken place decades ago, I do not feel pity nor sympathy. Because I feel this is a story of triumph. And although the story saddens me from time to time, I truly feel it has built me into the person I am today; a reflection of you, a reflection of everlasting resilience. And I pride myself on that every single day.

Nothing could have prepared us for my mother falling ill. Nothing could have prepared us for the very core of the person we previously knew her to be would change. Those years you stuck around when she was probably the most difficult person on Earth to deal with. The years I watched you pull the sleeping cot out of the closet and set it up in the living room every night. She really tried to make your life hell…our lives, I should say. She was not the same mother or wife. For years, I was terrified of her. She continuously pushed you away and you still stayed…until she left.

We were forced to pick up the broken pieces and revise the version of life we have become accustomed to.

I know that was not easy for you. I know that some days you wondered how you can provide for me. Nights you stayed awake racking your brain. The tears spilt from trying to repair a broken home. We moved into a one-bedroom apartment and you gave me the bedroom. You worked full time, yet your presence in the household never lacked. Your guidance never lacked. Your love never lacked. I never went without, ever. Every morning and evening, breakfast and dinner was made. Every homecoming and prom, you provided. You kept a close eye on me, to keep me safe. And although I felt you were overbearing during my teenage years, you never stopped me from having a social life. I just had to abide by your rules. Too many gestures over the years to name. But I remember it all vividly and because of that, I will always be thankful for being blessed with a father such as yourself. You are truly a God sent man.

Not many people know this, but I am positive that my skill of writing came from you.

I am not even sure if you know that I am a writer because I have never directly told you. This is probably the first piece of mine you have ever read…NO PRESSURE, right? I remember the time you would spend on your poems. I still question how you were able to fill up pages; I struggle filling even one page of poetry. I remember you would translate them into Spanish and English.

But writing is not the only trait I have inherited from you. I have inherited your strength. Your common sense, a term I heard frequently throughout the years. I pride myself on being resilient, but I am sure that comes from you as well. I have DEFINITELY inherited your ‘no bullshit’ attitude and mouth LOL. I question everything because you taught me to. I stand up for what I believe in because you taught me to. I do not back down. I stand my ground because you taught me to. I am honest about the good, bad, and the ugly…because you taught me to. You taught me the importance of humility and humanity. You taught me the importance of hard work, that nothing comes in this life easy or free. You taught me that the concept of gender norms is ridiculous because not only women should hold the responsibility of cooking and household chores. You taught me that the worship of God can take place in your very home, a difference between religion and spirituality. But most importantly, you taught me the importance of maneuvering through life with love, dignity, and morale. My level of respect and standards are placed on a pedestal because you taught me from a very young age that I deserved nothing less of that.

So, you see, I turned out pretty great and it is because of you. You did an amazing job and you have very big shoes to fill for fathers to come. I love you, forever and always. I can never repay you. Thank you. Happy Father’s Day. ❤

Author’s Note:

I feel fathers get a bad rep. Many people expect a father to be dead beat, absent, or clueless when it comes to parenting. Maybe the majority of broken homes have shown this. But in my case, it was far different. My mother left and my father handled this ‘single father’ thing like a champ. I felt it was important to shine light on this. For the fathers that are active and present in the parenting of their children, whether it’s co-parenting, in a happy home, or single, I see you. You are appreciated. Enjoy this day, King. You deserve the love and recognition as well.

How to Manifest Your Goals: Reflections and Tips

Author’s Note:

This is my first collaboration post with fellow blogger, Harumi!

It’s been such a cool and easy going experience working with her, as we bounced ideas around to create this post about manifesting your goals. We truly hope you enjoy it!

Intro: Power of Manifestations

Angie:

So what is manifestation, you ask? The Webster dictionary defines manifestation as “one of the forms that something has when it appears or occurs” or “a perceptible, outward, or visible expression.” However, speaking from personal experience, to manifest is to create. Therefore, a manifestation is your creation. Something that you bring to your physical life by the power of your beliefs, thoughts, and feelings. I’m going to let you in on a little secret: Every person has the magical ability and power to manifest.

Harumi:

Manifestation. This used to be a big and scary word to me. Probably because as a high schooler, I had very little idea of what I wanted to do next. Graduate, get a job, get married? Was that the narrative I was supposed to follow? I had no clue. But in came new experiences, new environments, new people and with that the concept of manifestation became much more clear. A fellow blogger and friend of mine, Angie, defined manifestation as “something that you bring to your physical life by the power of your beliefs, thoughts, and feelings.” Today Angie and I will be describing our personal experiences with manifestation and our tips on how to manifest your goals!

Personal Experiences

Harumi:

When I was in college, I had a lot of anxiety surrounding what my future was going to look like. What kind of job would I do? Would I be motivated to maintain a job? What would I be doing in 5 years? I knew that I wanted to work in the special needs, but with the little work experience I had under my belt and lack of education in special education, would I even be able to land a job?? 

Once I was done with schooling, I said to myself that I was done with being afraid of my future. I was going to manifest a job in special needs! 

I started with extensive research, worked on my resume, checked the common qualifications and took opportunities that would make me more qualified, filled out multiple applications a day, and then I waited. Suddenly, there was a pouring of e-mails and phone calls. People actually wanted to interview me! From there, I had back to back interviews and soon it was time for me to make a decision between four companies. And though the decision was difficult, I was astounded that I did what I set out to do. I manifested a job!  Fast Forward to a few years later, I am still working in ABA therapy and I am so grateful for everything I’ve learned and experienced.

Angie:

Never did I picture myself landing a career in Human Resources…I have a BA in Psychology. During college, I worked for a small medical clinic as an Administrative Assistant. Fast forward 4 years later and I am the sole person in the Human Resources Department. Please know that I use the term ‘department’ VERY loosely because before me, there was no Human Resources! And although I loved my job and the clinic, I was underpaid with very limited benefits.

I began to feel that I have outgrown my position. Upon discovering that I would never progress with the clinic, I decided it was time to spread my wings. It was time to apply to positions that challenged me and offered room for growth.

I still have the notebook entry. I specifically wrote “Between July-August, I will get a higher paying job with better benefits.” Job hunting mode in full force! I landed an interview with The Women’s Tennis Association and got the job. An increase in annual salary by $7,000. A very generous vacation and sick time package and affordable and comprehensive benefits. My start date was August 27, 2018.

Although I no longer work for the company, I am grateful for the experience because it has led me to my current position and company, in which I have an even higher salary and more generous benefits. To know that I created this opportunity for myself, makes it even more gratifying. UPDATE: I just received a promotion!!

How to Manifest Your Goals:

WRITE IT DOWN

When you write a goal down, it becomes more tangible! I’ve written goals in a journal and put little notes in my hopes/dreams box, but if writing isn’t your thing, you can always create a vision board too!

BE VERY SPECIFIC

When writing your manifestation, you want to ensure that you are writing clear and detailed specifics about your manifestation. What exactly do you want? Is there a timeframe? Vague manifestations can turn into a reality you did not really desire.  

RESEARCH

Put any uncertainties to rest. By researching, you’ll gain a better understanding of what steps you need to take toward your goal.

TIME

Time plays a major part in the journey. It’s important to recognize that sometimes things don’t come instantaneously. This concept can easily be applied to anything we try to manifest, whether that be a job, saving up for a vacation, graduating from school, etc.

PUT YOUR BACK IN IT

Making dreams happen takes a lot of heavy lifting. It means putting in the effort and work, even when challenges arise.

BREAK IT DOWN INTO STEPS

I find that whenever I look at an entire project or a task with multiple steps, I become overwhelmed. Try breaking down your manifestation and recognizing that each step matters no matter how small. 

DON’T BEAT YOURSELF UP

We all know how critical we can be when it comes to ourselves. I’ve bullied myself plenty of times. But that’s not mentally healthy or productive. Acknowledge that what you’re doing now is enough!

INTENT IS EVERYTHING

I am a firm believer that whatever you put into the universe, you get back tenfold. ENERGY. Believe that this manifestation will happen! If you have any feelings of failure, failure is what is presented. I’ve been guilty of this and quickly recognized I needed to change my intent. 

Conclusion

Harumi:

Those were some of our experiences and tips on manifestation. It’s an optimistic perspective and yes, there may be hardships while trying to achieve a major goal. So acknowledge the challenges, ask yourself if this is really what you want, and put down those stepping stones towards your aspirations. 

Angie:

Further to what Harumi stated above, the power of your manifestation is truly in your hands. Think about it. Feel it. Believe it. Then watch it come to life! 

Still not a believer of manifestations? Well there’s only one way to find out…give it a try and be sure to let us know the outcome. And if you are familiar with manifestations, what additional tips would you offer to those who are not familiar? Any personal experiences you would like to share? We would love to hear from you all!

With love,

Photo by Evgeny Tchebotarev on Pexels.com

Meet Harumi

A lifestyle and mental health blogger, Harumi has only been blogging for a month and a half. In such a short amount of time, she has made amazing strides in growing her audience, enhancing her site, and connecting with other bloggers. I see great things happening in her blogging future! When I asked what was the purpose of her blog, she stated, “My mission with my blog is to talk about hardships I’ve faced, heal and let go, share guidance to anyone who has gone through similar circumstances, and create a discussion.” Don’t be a stranger and make sure you show some love to her site at https://lifelivedcandidly.com/!