For three years I lived with a woman named Amanda. She used to be our babysitter. She got into a bad situation with her boyfriend, who was abusive, and had to move out of the apartment she shared with him. Her family wouldn’t take her in and she had nowhere to go, so we took her in. We loved her and she was an amazing person. My room is pretty big and can be sectioned off into two parts so she moved into my room. She never paid rent or anything, we didn’t want her to because we knew she was already struggling. I was really close with Amanda, we called each other long lost sisters, and told each other everything. At the end of the third year she had been with her new, very rich, boyfriend for a while, and decided to move out to LA with him. He works for a famous gaming company and was being moved out to LA so she joined him.
Around the time she moved out in sixth grade people started rumors about me being gay, and I’m not. I had dyed my hair and shaved the sides for the first time, so people jumped to that conclusion. I just felt trapped in a box of how I should look and act and I wanted out, I wanted to express myself. I wanted to be who I wanted to be not who everyone else wanted me to be. I didn’t really have any friends. The girls who I was friends with thought I would catch feelings for them if they were friends with me. No matter how much I told them I wasn’t gay they wouldn’t listen. My depression flared up, and I became really suicidal. Amanda who had been my closest friend never called me after she moved out, to check in, talk to me, or anything like she said she would. I asked my mom and dad everyday if I could talk to her and call her, and every time they said no. I missed her, and I needed a friend. To make matters worse I wasn’t able to get a therapist, it was an extremely difficult time.
Towards the end of the summer between sixth grade and seventh grade, my mom told me what happened. She told me she called Amanda, reaching out to her to ask her how she was doing about a month after she moved out. She asked her if she could call me sometime, because I was going through some difficult things, and needed a friend like her. Amanda replied saying she didn’t have time for me or us, she needed space. My mom was furious. She was worried about me, and my only friend said she didn’t have time for me. My mom stayed calm, and tried to understand where she was coming from. My mom told her it didn’t have to be now she could call me later. Amanda, said she wanted nothing to do with us, the conversation escalated and ended in Amanda calling my mom a b**** and saying we were a burden on her, then Amanda hanging up before my mom could even reply.
This has troubled me for the past 4 years. It seems like it’s not a big deal or shouldn’t be, but it has been for me. I think hatred is a terrible thing, probably the worst thing anyone could do. It’s bad for everyone, for you and the person you hate, so I try to not hate anyone. I try to work out my problems when they arise so I don’t hold onto that sinking feeling of hatred. But for 4 years I let myself hate one person and it was Amanda. I couldn’t solve the problem, I couldn’t do anything, I couldn’t call her, I couldn’t tell her off. That’s something I really hate, yes I hate it. I hate not knowing, not being able to do anything, it makes me feel so defeated. So I resorted to the only thing I could do, hate her. 4 years later, just a couple of months ago, I did something I had been wanting to do. I sent her an e-mail. I told her off, I told her what I had always wanted to tell her. I finally did something. She became a photographer for food and businesses when she moved to LA and I found her e-mail on her website. That probably seems creepy but I found her website a long time ago, a year or two before I sent the letter. The idea of sending it had been in my mind since everything happened, it just took me 4 years to finally do it. I don’t know how but she found my instagram pages, my main account and my photography account and blocked me on every single one. So I guess we were both wondering how each other had been doing, and had some sort of resentment towards each other. I have no idea why she doesn’t like me or why she said the things she said and I guess I never will. I always looked up to her, and I thought we were best friends. Anyway here is the letter I sent to her. I don’t think I’ve ever written something like this. I’ve been through it a million times and I don’t think it will ever be done, because I have so much more to say and add. I want to share it so I can help other people learn from what has happened to me. It has been an extremely difficult thing to go through and if there’s any way I can prevent others from going through the same or help them through it I will. So here’s the letter.
Hello, it’s been a while. Forget it I'm just going to cut to the chase, I know your time is precious. I’m just going to tell you, I’m going to tell you everything even if it means you hate me even more, want to talk to me, or never talk to me again. I’d prefer you never talk to me again. I’m not writing this to get you to apologize or talk to me. I will never talk to you after this letter. I need to tell you so I can finally move on. I hated you for so long. I allowed myself to only hate one person, and it was you, for four years. I finally decided to let go of this hatred. Hating you isn’t making you feel the pain I've been feeling from what you did to me and it’s not making me feel any better. In the end it hurts me more than it hurts you. So what's the point of hating you if it only hurts me? You’re not even worth my hatred or the energy I've wasted over the past four years hating you. But I can’t seem to really, fully let go. You still plague my mind. I know hate is a strong word, it’s hurtful, trust me I would know, but that’s why i’m using it.
You know what you did. I’m not sure you know how it’s affected me though. I want you to feel what you made me feel, I wanted you to suffer. I’m living in hell because of you. You abandoned me, told me you wanted nothing to do with me or my family after three years of you living with me, after three years of you calling me your long lost sister, three years of what I thought was happiness and friendship. You didn’t need me or my family anymore, you didn’t need our help. So you took advantage of it, packed up and moved out with your boyfriend and never spoke to us again. I had no friends at the time they all stopped talking to me and being my friend, after rumors about me being gay went around. You were the only person I really trusted, I let my guard down in front of you. I got close to you, closer than I had ever gotten to anyone else. So it wasn’t like losing any other friend when you told my mom you wanted nothing to do with us. I was used to friends betraying me or simply leaving me. But it was different with you. You weren’t just a friend, like you would say we were long lost sisters. I had never really trusted anyone else. I couldn’t no one in school is really trustworthy. You tell someone something and they take it and run with it, they use it to their advantage and make your life a living hell. That’s how it’s always been, at least for me.
When you left, I was broken, I had no friends and the only person I had ever really opened up to (you) left me abruptly all of a sudden and wanted nothing to do with me, even in my time of need. For years I blamed myself, I thought I did something wrong. I thought it was my fault. For the longest time I thought I was too clingy, I should’ve not talked to you so much, I should’ve given you more space. Now I realize it’s never been my fault, I was 11 years old. You had issues, you weren’t living with me anymore so you didn’t need to be nice to me. You acted like it was my fault, like we were a burden for you, like you were too busy to even say hi to me when I was suicidal. My mom didn’t want to bother you, she wanted to let you move out and have your space. When she called you it had been a month since you moved out and last talked to us. She was worried about me and could tell I needed a friend like you. So she called you not knowing where else to turn, and you said you wanted nothing to do with me or her and that you didn’t have time for us. You lived with us if anything you owe us, we saved you from a bad relationship situation and a family who wouldn’t take you in and help you. You have time to say hi. It’s one damn word. You just never wanted to, you wanted to leave it all behind even the ones who cared about you and loved you deeply.
I will never fully trust again. Since it all happened I haven’t opened up to anyone like I opened up to you. I refuse to. I won’t open up to people and give them the opportunity to leave me like you did. I can’t and I won’t. I talked to my therapist about it and I really realized exactly how much you had hurt me. I tried to push the feelings down for years and never realized why I had trust issues. Why I've never had a best friend like you after you left. It was because of you, it always leads back to you and the things you said to my mom. I actually didn’t know about what you told my mom on the phone when she reached out to you until the end of the summer of that school year because she was afraid I would kill myself if she told me. Every time I asked if I could call you she said no, and with good reason. We did everything for you the least you could’ve done was say hi to me. You wouldn’t be where you are without us and you know it so why do you hate us? You didn’t have to do it right that second you could’ve called me back later. So why, why do you hate me and my family after all we did for you? It’s despicable and extremely hard for me to wrap my head around. How dare you say such things to me and my parents when we did so much for you, we loved you and helped put a roof over your head. If anything you're the burden to us. Who would do something like that to someone they owe their life to, someone who helped them when they needed it and someone who truly loved them. I can’t believe it and I don’t understand. But that’s okay I don’t need to.
I’m not sending this to you to get you to apologize, talk to me again, respond to the questions I have, or unblock me on all of your social media. I’m sending you this because i’m ready. Not telling you this and wanting to tell you this for so long has eaten me up and destroyed me inside. Those questions of “Why would you do this?” and “What did I do?” have plagued my mind for years. I wrote you a note before I tried to commit suicide just last year. The note was about how much I hated you and how much you hurt me, but much more intense than this one. It was a mess of words and hatred. I never went back to it to edit it or go through it because it was too much for me. All of my hurt was out on the page in a mess. I couldn’t even look at it. I wanted you to feel the pain you put me through. I wanted to kill myself and put you through hell by telling you it was your fault and sending you that note. I know it’s f***ed up. I didn’t follow through with my plan to kill myself, I cracked and told someone then went to the hospital for suicidal ideation. I ripped up the note and threw it away when I got out of the hospital. Must be a bummer for you, me not being dead. You would probably like it if I was gone. Your feelings, if you have any, about what happened would be gone. You wouldn’t have to deal with the thought of me living with what you did to me and my family.
I have nightmares and dreams about you. Each time I wake up shaking, scared, and sweating with a burning hatred for myself and you. In the dreams I yell at you and tell you how I feel and what you did to me. I think it’s my brain's way of testing out what it would be like to tell you how I feel, to tell you off, because I want it so badly. I always feel more relieved in the end of those dreams, but also really worked up and scared. It's my brain's way of trying to do something I’ve always been too scared to do, to try and make me feel better. I hate it so much. I’m ready to be done with this I’m ready to be able to trust someone again. I’ve always felt telling you how what you did affected me would make me feel better. I always felt it would let all of the thoughts stuck in my head free. I guess we’ll see how it works. I want to tell you what you did so you never do it again. I don’t want anyone else to feel how I feel. I felt like the only way to do that was to kill myself and send you a note. But I guess this will do. I’ve written about this and you so much. Normally when I write my thoughts out and get it on paper I am able to move on, forgive and forget. It’s like writing it down helps it leave my mind. But it’s never worked with you, it’s wedged in the corner of my mind and refuses to budge no matter how hard I try. Maybe this will help, maybe it will finally leave my mind, so I can live again and trust. I have so much I still want to tell you and say to you but if I wrote it all down it would be a whole book. This is it. Please never talk to me again and I hope you realize what you did and how hurtful it was and still is to me and my family. My parents feel the regret of letting you into our lives everyday, they blamed themselves for a long time like I did for what you did to us. But how were they supposed to know who you truly were. How were they supposed to know that you were just using us and once you didn’t need us and moved out you would just drop us and never want to talk to us again. It's your fault and I really hope you realize that and never do such a horrifying thing again. Please.
Your ex-long lost sister,
“Oh God,” I say to myself in a panic, “I just sent it.”
“What if she replies, what will she say?” I say to myself.
It took me four years to press that send button. I actually did it. It feels like a dream. I continued to go through all of the “what if” scenarios in my head, all of the bad things that could end up happening and making me feel even worse than I did before. There’s no way of knowing and that scares me. I was shaking vigorously, that always happens when I have any kind of overwhelming feeling, it happens every time I think or talk about her. It’s a weird feeling, sometimes I don’t know why it happens, but this time I did, It was fear, excitement, anxiety, and relief. In a way knowing why I was shaking was comforting, because I hate not knowing. I’ve been waiting for this moment for so long and it’s over, I did it. I continued to shake for the rest of the day, worried out of my mind. That was the last time that happened. Whenever I go back through this to edit it, I don’t shake, I don’t get scared or worked up.
Amanda hasn’t replied and it’s been a few months, so that’s good, I told her not to. But there’s no way for me to know she got the e-mail, for all I know it could be in her spam. I guess we’ll see. It’s weird, because I’m ok with not knowing that, which normally never happens. I mean at least it’s out there, right? It’s over, and I can let go. It’s no longer hard to read through it. I no longer get all worked up and start to shake whenever I read through it. I don’t have those dreams of telling her how I feel, because I finally did it. It’s over, at least for now. I’m feeling better and I’m ready to trust again. I’ve gotten some closure, and it feels really nice. I didn’t think this would ever happen. I wrote that letter when I was really worked up, I haven’t felt the way I felt while writing that letter since I sent it. I’ve let go.
I sent that e-mail during a block schedule period of study hall, so I had over an hour to think it over and work up the courage to press that send button. I didn’t believe I actually did it for weeks, then it really sank in. I sent it the day after my therapy appointment. My therapist said something that really stuck with me when I told her I finished writing my e-mail to Amanda but hadn’t sent it even though I wanted to. She had been encouraging me to send it for the past few weeks. She told me that I had been through a traumatic experience. I looked at her funny, as if to question her logic. I wasn’t abused or anything, I never really thought of it as trauma. She said, “It might not be trauma with a capital T, but regardless, with the way it’s affected you it’s trauma.” It was like a lightbulb went off in my head, and it made sense. I felt a sense of urgency to send that e-mail more than ever. It gave me more motivation to move on and send it. I think I had really accepted how much it hurt me and felt an even more strong need to do something about it.
I didn’t tell my parents about e-mailing Amanda for a few weeks. I knew I had to do it on my own, and for some reason I thought they would be mad or upset, probably because they had always told me not to reach out to her after what happened. I remember telling my dad I wanted to send her an e-mail or a letter, and he said, “Maybe you could write a letter and send it to the North Pole or something, that way you get it out there, but it doesn’t get to her.” It just always seemed like they didn’t want me to do it. I think they were just trying to protect me from anymore hurt. But to my surprise, they were proud of me. I read them the letter, and they sat there tentatively, just listening and nodding their heads. I took out some of the things in the letter though, I was a bit scared to tell them everything. My mom came up to me and gave me a hug, then she apologized to me. I asked her what for and she said, “For ever letter Amanda into our lives.” It troubled them too. I told her there was nothing for her to be sorry about, it wasn’t her fault. I think in a way the letter lifted a weight off of their shoulders like it did mine.
I have made great strides in the short time since I was in the hospital, I’m getting help, closure, and I’m moving on, letting go. I’ve moved on from a lot of things I’ve been holding onto, not just Amanda. Things I suppressed for years thinking I didn’t have time to deal with them. I hadn’t been letting myself feel, I was holding back because I thought that would make me feel better. But ignoring it made it worse, it would just build up and then I’d explode with all of the emotions I had been hiding. It took up a lot of my energy to hide it, I was always tired. I didn’t think I would ever get to this point, I’m starting to feel happy. I’ve learned so much from all of this, so much I can’t seem to put into words that accurately describe how I feel. It’s beyond words. I will always be working on myself and working to get better, but I’m at a point now where I’m happy, so I can keep going, and moving forward. You have to focus on yourself before anything else sometimes. It’s not selfish, it’s survival. I’ve learned that sometimes I can’t put other people's needs first, I’ve accepted that sometimes I need help and that’s okay. Sometimes you have to put yourself first, just so you can live, and then get to the point where you can do more for other people. I’m finally at that point I never thought I’d reach. I’m comfortable in my own skin, and happy with who I am and the life I’m living. I’ve learned to stop suppressing my feelings to the point they build up and make things worse. I’ve learned how to cope with the troubling thoughts that still come around from time to time. All of this doesn’t mean my life is amazing, or easy, it can still be hard, but I think it’s like that for everyone. I’m happier than I’ve ever been and I’m excited for what's to come, and what I can do now that I’m doing better.