There is a common saying that I remember you teaching Donovan, Cole, and I when we were younger. You used to say to us “blood is thicker than water” which insinuated that friends and romantic interests didn’t last, but family would last forever… that you would always be there for us no matter what. Frankly, I find this idea to be hilarious. I personally think that your idea of family and my idea of a family are completely different. The idea that someone is considered part of your family simply because they are related to you is idiotic, to say the least. I believe that “family” consists of those that you choose and if I am being quite honest, if I could, I would never choose you. Tell me, how does it feel to “only have two sons now” even though you have three children? How does it feel to know that because of you we will never be close? I still remember when I first told you that I might like girls. I remember the way in which your face went from “mildly concerned” to “complete and utter disgust” in the span of seconds. The way that you looked at me that day is so ingrained in my mind that even if I wanted to I could never forget it. Every time I close my eyes I can see the way in which your face contorted into a sort of loathing… I can feel the physical ache that I felt when you looked at me that day almost as if this happened yesterday. I remember the way that you laughed as I cried… the way that you made me tell my dad and how he looked at me like I was the dumbest person to ever exist on this planet. That day was the beginning of something that I could have never even imagined. That day was the day that everything turned to shit. After that day you began to keep a close eye on me. You watched me, went through my things, checked my text messages, and asked around to make sure that I wasn’t turning into another one of those “freaks” as you used to say. You were so paranoid about the idea of me being gay that you kept me in my room for an entire summer without any contact with the outside world. I was unable to see my friends or even leave my room. Every electronic that I owned was taken out of my room and I had no way of seeing my girlfriend at the time for months. I remember how you refused to look at me… I remember how you used to send people into my room to speak to me for you. I remember how you used to hit me and how you cried as if you were in mourning… how the first words that I would hear from you in months would be “sinner, disgrace, disgusting, and you will rot in hell.” How my name “Sydnie” was replaced with “freak” and how I was expected to respond to you when I was called this… I remember how you bought me a necklace with the words “change” engraved in the center and how me, being the naive girl that I was, thought that it was your way of apologizing to me until you whispered, “I hope that you change.” I remember how that was one of the longest conversations we had had in about a month. I remember how I wanted to die… How the idea of living was so painful to me and I imagined that death was much more bearable than this living hell. I remember how you used to come into my room and go “don’t be stupid and kill yourself because you’ll go right to hell.” I remember how you never apologized or even looked remotely sorry for the way that you treated and still continue to treat me. I remember all of the horrible things that you did to me and I will never forget it. Do you know what else I remember? I remember the day that I decided that I love myself. I remember the day that I fell in love with myself… the day that I decided to be myself wholeheartedly and unabashedly… the day that I decided that no matter how horrible you treat me I will never feel as though I do not belong on this earth. I remember the day that I decided to let myself be happy and the prospect of loving a girl was no longer as terrifying as it used to be. I will never forget what you did to me, but I will also always remember who I am and I will never let you make me feel the way that I used to feel. I will always remember, but more importantly, I will always remember to never stop being me.