This is the letter that I would give if I had courage. If I had the courage I would say it, not write it. But for now, this will have to do. It’s been 19 years in the making. All the things I’ve thought but never said. The the appreciation I’ve always had but never expressed. The hundreds of words I should have said that would have told you that it was worth it in the end.
I got to realizing recently that I live in a world of pain and suffering. It’s a world of dreams crushed by the overbearing powers above us. Our choices are determined by a birth lottery that was far out of our control. The people around me are victim to debilitating physical and mental illnesses. These illnesses prevent them from running, loving, aspiring. And yet when I heard all these stories, I couldn’t help looking back to myself, and wondering what about me? Not in the sense that I wanted all of that pain and suffering in my life. Just that from a young age I came up with the belief that everything in life is fairly equal. If you suffer right now, your life will be better in the future, if you live an average life, the ups and downs will always equal out. Yet at the same time I recognized that while I had problems in my family, they were never that bad compared to what it could be. I had parents that loved me and that was more than a lot of people could say. As I started to grow up, I saw more and more that life is not equal. Nearly everyone my age feels trapped in some way. And at 19 years old, that’s a sad reality to see.
So where do you both come in? I looked at the lives of others, and I looked to myself. What made me different from others? What did I do to deserve such a good life? It feels unfair that others should suffer when I have never stopped feeling like I can rise to the top. Well, I came to the realization just a few moments ago, that it was you all along. You faced the suffering, discrimination, obstacles at every turn. You did it for your daughters– so that we wouldn’t have to. The beauty of it all is one that I didn’t see until now. Everything you worked so hard for– has worked. You dreamed big and became the biggest success story that I personally know.
I was born into a mountain of privilege, and that mountain was built up piece by piece by both of you. Because of you, I wake up every morning inspired to change the world. I wake up and want to be a better person. I have the fortune if wanting to challenge myself. I have the fortune of choosing without restraint my path in life. I have the freedom to dream small or dream big, but the almost naive dream to have it all is what calls me.
All along the way, you’ve given me support in every form. Your love, patience, and gentle guidance has led me to a place of confidence and happiness. And while my battle is far from over, I have faith that all you have given me is enough for me to take it over from here. It was enough to know resilience and hard work and happiness despite it all.
While I can recognize this enormous blessing that you have bestowed on me, my feelings towards it are mixed. I am grateful, yet humbled by my privilege. It is personally undeserved. In the way I see the world, though I know if will differ from your outlook, we should all be equal. As a result, I have determined that the only way I can live such a privileged life is to give back to those with less than me. I will strive to help myself and help others because I have been put in the place to do so. There are few others in the world who can say they’ve had the freedom to choose their own distinct path in life, without limitations on any side. Because of this, it must be my responsibility to earn my privilege. To show you that I am worthy of all that you have given me. That every single moment of pain that you endured for my sake, has evolved into an undying spirit and will to live and love.
So to mom and dad, this one’s for you…