An Open Letter to My (Ex) Step-Mother
I told myself that I would never write one of these; that they weren't my thing. I didn't want to write about anything super personal yet, I just didn't see it as something I should do.
I've read a few of these types of publications by various authors of various ages to various people. Each one started with their story and ended with how they came out a better, stronger person because of it. I found it invigorating and inspirational. I never read one that I didn't like because they were all about personal gain and growth.
So, today, my readers, I wanted to write an open letter to my (ex) stepmother. I say ex because her and my father are separated now and due to my experience with their situation, I have grown a lot as a person. Now, that I am older, I think I'll able to form a decent letter, or, open letter, as an outlet for myself, and maybe for my readers.
"If a story is in you, it has got to come out." - William Faulkner
When my parents first split, I don't remember thinking much of it. One parent here, one parent there, it didn't really matter to me. I was more stressed out living with them together than I was at the idea of them living apart. Of course, I was young yet, and didn't really understand the full concept. But, I understood enough to comprehend that mommy and daddy fought a lot and that it always seemed to be my mother who was upset by it. She tried to hide it from me, tried to keep me in a happy little bubble, and for the most part, that's where I lived, inside of my bubble. However, little things here and there that my mother and father didn't know I heard, or didn't think I saw, things they didn't think I'd notice, I did. And I remember.
I remember my father left. I remember him asking who I wanted to stay with. I remember, that without the blink of an eye, I replied, "Mom." and didn't think twice about it. Suddenly, I remember being introduced to a woman who was my father's girlfriend. Again, I was young and didn't think too far into it, as I don't believe I could've, even if I had wanted to. I remember sitting on a bed that seemed so huge to me, but in hindsight, was probably just a full size mattress, and I remember playing with dominos on it. That's probably the first memory I have of you.
Once I got older and put the pieces of the puzzle together, I hated you. I hated you for all of the lies you fed me about my mother, for all the ideas you tried to implant in my brain, for all of the sneaky, manipulative things you tried to do. And for what? To turn me against my mother? I suppose that backfired because she was my everything and I idolized her, which for some reason, the two of you hated.
You and my father managed to make me the saddest, most self-conscious, little girl when I was with you. Whether it was the way you'd make fun of me about the way I did something, the way I said something, how my hair fell, the clothes I wore, my little habits, or how I wanted certain things. You'd ask me what I wanted for Christmas and then laugh and say no when I wrote something down. You'd take us to get fast food, and then yell that you weren't blowing your money on a Happy Meal for me and buy for everyone except me because they were old enough to decide for themselves and I didn't understand. I couldn't even read yet. You'd do your niece's makeup and make her look beautiful, and then make me look like a clown and laugh when I was upset about it.
What did that accomplish?
I don't hate you just because you're breathing, as you once told me. I don't resent you because you married my father. My relationship with him was broken enough that it simply made no difference to me what woman was in my father's life. I never wished that my parents didn't split, I never ached for them to get back together and reignite a flame, no. I never wanted that, so some woman who wasn't my mother being his wife didn't phase me at all. It was simply because it was you, because of who you are. I simply have no respect for you, and I feel nothing about you, no hate, no resent, no nothing.
I'm old enough now to wrap my head around the things that you did, but truthfully, I will never understand why you did them. Was it out of anger? Jealousy? Spite? I suppose I'll never know.
Now that you two are separated, you think you can use me as a weapon. But you don't need to, because together, for fourteen years, the two of you have turned me away from the both of you. The both of you lost my trust, my respect. The older I got, the more I realized I didn't need or want either of you in my life.
Everything that I ever knew my father would feel (because, lets face it, karma), he is now feeling, and yet, I still feel sorry for him. Not because he lost you, but because he lost everything. My mother, all of his children, his home, his security, stability, his life, and for what? You? A woman just as broken, if not more than he? And despite everything, it is your children I feel the most sorry for because I know this is hard on them, and I'm truly sorry that they have to be put through it.
I'm sorry to tell you that your sad attempts to break me, manipulate me, persuade me and change me, have all failed and I've come out a stronger person because of it. I've learned how to be strong, how to stand up for myself, how to speak my mind. I've learned who I can rely on. I've learned I can rely on me.
I will always love my father, regardless of how much I don't like him, how much I don't want to love him, or how he feels about me. You want me on your side and think you can do it because of who he was to me, but I was never on your side, and I never will be.