The Dear J Letters

Reunion, Part Four

Dear Jim,

You say you don’t know why you decided to reply to my second email, and I must tell you I’m also surprised you answered. As for seeing you in town, I thought I had. It was someone else, apparently.

Yes, I did lie about helping the planning committee. I wanted the list for one reason. I wanted to see if my stepbrother, Dave, was attending. As you know, he is in our graduating class. We haven’t communicated in the past six years for reasons you are unaware of. After getting the information I needed, I skimmed and saw your name. I wrestled whether I should contact you or not. I figured reaching out to you as a necessity for both of us.

You mention that my actions don’t define you anymore, but they outline who I am today. In trying to shame you, I only shamed myself. I went along with Dave to protect myself. I chose you hoping to impress him, and I thought he might be nice to me for once. Of course, it didn’t work.

Since you want me to fill you in on my brutal home life, I will. I witnessed my birth father punch my mother in the stomach because she didn’t make herself look her best for him. He would leave work, go to a bar until dinner, then come home.

I’d watch my frantic mother curl her hair, make up her face, dress in her best clothes, and cook the best meal she could. Most of the time, my father would come home and call her a poor excuse for a wife. He told her she was ugly though she was so beautiful. He’d beat her nearly every day, being careful not to hurt her in areas where bruising would show.

My father always told me that men hated unattractive women. He told me I was going to be just like my mother. He called me useless, and he wished for a son. My mother finally had enough and divorced him when I was 12. I had already started to form a negative opinion of men. I despised my father and was glad he left. Our freedom and happiness didn’t last long.

When I was 13, my mother met a man who had a son my age. They married three months after meeting. I suppose my mother’s self-confidence was so damaged that she needed to feel important to a man. My life turned to nothing but a horrendous loop of verbal, emotional, and occasional physical abuse.

It didn’t take long for my stepfather to start beating my mother and calling her fat. He considered me to be chunky. I weighed a mere 103 pounds. Dave would taunt me with pizza, ice cream, cake, and anything fattening. That began my cycle of bulimia and anorexia.

You were the object of teasing and tormenting from many in our school. You were chubby, but I felt even fatter than you. The hate I experienced over my body and men manifested into relentless bullying of you. I would have done anything to stop the continued mistreatment from my tormentors. I had a warped example of how to treat people. I begged every night to be free.

The past few years gave me more perspective. I dug deep and wondered how you were. I prayed for a chance to get a resolution somehow. Even if you disliked me so much that you cursed me, I wanted to tell you that my soul suffered from my conduct as did yours. I didn’t recognize this in high school, but I do now.

I can’t make up for what I did to you, but I can, at the very least, tell you that I am a woman who did horrible things in her past and is trying to rise above it. I am more than sorry for treating you with such callous torment.

Time, if anything, can open up the eyes, heart, and mind of the tormentor. I am getting counseling regularly to sort out my feelings on body image and self-esteem. I am also working on my guilt of how I treated you and others.

What I did to you is unacceptable, and I hope forgiveness can be in your heart. Jim, I am honestly sorry for all that I’ve done to you.

~ Jolyne

To read more work from this author visit Jill Yoder ~ Inspired Pen

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