Dear Mom,

As you know, our relationship hasn't been comfortable. It has had more than its fair share of fights, harsh words, and hurt feelings. Indeed, there have been happy moments filled with laughter; I do not deny that. I believe our relationship being more complicated because you were a single mom who always held two jobs. Whenever your primary support system – my grandmother and godmother – died, you probably felt truly alone. I know that must have been hard. I also know that what I went through was hard and hurtful because you felt alone. However, I have chosen to forgive you, learn from it, and carry on with my entire life. All while applying the lessons I’ve learned on the way. 

It wasn't until I moved away and started living with a significant other which i realized how our combative relationship affected my self-esteem and attitude towards confrontation. 

I can still remember being in the car with you, arguing over something trivial, but soon the argument turning monumental and ending with lines for example “You live your life, and I'll live mine” or “I am still your mother, and you'll respect me.” Though I understand I am not perfect. I now know that having an opinion different from someone else is not disrespectful. It's proof that i am a free-thinking individual. 

I remember walking to my room and having to dodge an ashtray that came flying towards my head because you were having an explosive meltdown. Similarly, I recall the threat of a wooden spoon if my voice came off as a little bit cross.

It was the very first summer of living with A (my girlfriend at that time) and a small argument ensued that could have easily been discussed, resolved, and left in the past. Instead, I found myself shelling, re-examining every word I said, every action I took. I was profusely overanalyzing the situation and apologizing for my actions. This would continue through the relationship and eventually drive a bigger wrench. While this wasn't the main reason for the relationship to crash and burn, in hindsight, it was a large factor in my mental well-being and just how I did and – truthfully still do – perceive myself.

Fast toward today, I am in a nurturing, loving relationship. My partner assures me every day that she loves me, all of me: the good, the bad, and the ugly. 

At the risk of sounding blunt, many of the scars from our combative relationship are 'the ugly.' I am working every day to write over those scars and replace them with etchings of blessings. A new perspective, a brighter tomorrow, a far more positive, self-loving me. I can't do that without forgiving you though. With this, Mom, I forgive you. I set us both free of the chains of our troubled past. As i may not truly understand (and i'm sure in the future, I will discover other hurdles I have to overcome), I am releasing myself for the time being.

I pray that you can come to terms with the demons you personaly are facing, for your own sake. We all have them. We are all flawed in our own ways. That is what makes us human. Yet, the true great thing about humanity is finding a way to love someone despite their flaws. To put those imperfections aside and shed light onto the good things. Life is not guaranteed why don't we spend the time we have making the best of it.

In love and forgiveness,

Your daughter