I don’t think I can ever forgive you, Mom. I’ve always hidden everything away, all the pain, and all the anger. I don’t think I can do that anymore. You see I’m 19 years old now and I am finally grieving for what my life was like with you. Everything is coming at me all at once and I’m not sure I can take it. Not without being angry and completely shattered. I can’t even look at pictures of myself as a child because all I can think about is the pain I suffered. When I see a picture of myself as a child all I see are all the tears that ran through my cheeks, all the fake smiles my mouth forced, all the things my little eyes saw that they weren’t supposed to see. All I can think about is all the secrets I had to hide. The fear I felt, how empty I felt. That little girl was never allowed to speak about her suffering. She was never allowed to tell people that her stepdaddy would hit her mommy in front of her. I still remember hiding in my room with you, while he pounded on the door; one minute yelling that he’ll kill you and the next saying he wouldn’t hurt you. I still remember my aunt taking me to her house in the middle of the night because you were fighting with your boyfriend. Why didn’t I matter enough, mom? Did you love him more? Was he more important than my safety? I remember you used to say “well he doesn’t hit her, he hits me” you’re right mom he never hit me, but everytime he hit you he left a scar on my soul. A scar that has never and will never go away. That little girl was never allowed to speak about how her mommy will wake her up early and have her go walk around town looking for money for a fix. She was never allowed to tell anyone that when she got home her mommy will lock herself in the bathroom and come out barely able to walk because she was so high off of heroine. That little girl was never allowed to tell anyone that while all of these other bad things were happening in her life a man that was supposed to love and protect her was robbing her innocence. She was never allowed to say that every time she was sleeping this man will come into the room and take her away like the boogie man. She was never allowed to tell people why sometimes she sat a funny way. She was never allowed to tell anyone why her “No No”place always hurt. She was never allowed to tell because “Shhh if you tell anyone I’ll kill your mommy”. Mom, were you too high to notice my pain? Were you so focused on heroine that you didn’t notice the bruises on my body? Were you so high that you couldn’t see the pain in my eyes? The fear his presence brung upon me? When you went to jail, my life changed completely. Sure I wasn’t seeing you get beaten, seeing you high, or being sexually abused but I felt alone. I felt disposable. I felt unloved. I felt disgusting. While you were gone I was well taken care of but I didn’t get hugs, I didn’t get kisses, I didn’t hear “I love you”. I was just there. I was moved from house to house. Always feeling unwanted and lost. Then when I finally went and lived in a loving home. Where I was loved, where I felt like I was enough. Where I was hugged and kissed. You came and selfishly took that away from me. You took away the only stable loving home, I had ever had. I loved you so much that I couldn’t wait for our new life together. Everything was good at first but then we moved far away. Then everything changed. It was all strangely too familiar. I was back with a mother who did not know how to be a mother. I was back to situations that no kid should be put through. I still loved you and kept your secrets but this time I wasn’t a little girl. I kept faking smiles and kept pretending everything was perfect. I hid from my family that you were back to using weed. I hid from them that we were homeless and living at other people’s houses. I hid from them that I had to listen to your girlfriend and you constantly fight. I loved you so much that I dealt with constant humiliation from your girlfriend’s family. After all I was still that good little girl that you raised so well. I could still keep secrets, mom. I didn’t want to bother you with the flashbacks I was having mom. With the constant fear I had. With the constant night terrors. I didn’t want to tell you that even though I was 13 I still needed kisses and hugs from my mom. I didn’t want to tell you that even though I was 13 it shouldn’t be my responsibility to always take care of a six year old sister. I didn’t want to tell you that even though I was 13 years old, I was still that scared little girl that you had left so many years ago. I didn’t want to tell you that even though I was 13 years old another man managed to destroy the smallest amount of innocence I had left. Mom, this time I told you though. I told you he hurt me and you didn’t do anything. I felt so ashamed. So dirty. So disgusting. So worthless. I thought It was my fault. I thought it was my fault because I enjoyed spending the night at his house. I thought It was my fault because I didn’t stop him the first time. I thought it was my fault because I laughed at his jokes. Mom, after I told you and you didn’t do anything, I couldn’t even look at myself in the mirror. I felt sick, I felt nauseous. Sometimes you talk to me about him. I smile and listen but it hurts. It hurts that you don’t care. I’m sorry for not keeping that secret mom. I’m sorry for putting that burden on your conscience. Mom I try everyday to forgive you. Just like I try everyday to survive. Just like I try everyday to keep all this pain and anger within me. I just don’t think I can anymore. Not when you get angry and yell about how much of a good mom you are. You’re not a good mom. You were never a good mom to me. You didn’t do what mom’s are supposed to do. For nine, almost 10 years of my life you were a terrible mother. I appreciate you, trying your hardest for the last 9 years to be an okay mom. I really do but don’t expect me to respect you and to praise you for being there. Don’t expect my forgiveness because I live with what happened to me every day of my life. Don’t expect me to forget everything that you put me through. Don’t expect me to pretend you didn’t fail me as a mother. You weren’t there. You didn’t protect me. You didn’t take care of me. I try to forgive you everyday, mom. I know you made mistakes but now you have to deal with the consequences. I’m not that scared little girl anymore. I have a voice now, and now I’m angry.