Letter 11 | It’s Not Your Fault

The dark blue lashes out at you like a band of accusers. The growing spots of black condemn you of cowardice. The slow throbbing reminds you of your insignificance, that pain is your right, humiliation is your reward. It swells in the silence of night, terrorizing your thoughts and dreams. It’s taken your future as a slave, crushed your hopes of intimate love.

No matter where you go, no matter who you’re with, it has no regard. In the brightness of day you take covering under the cloud that hovers over your conscience, too scared your eyes might reveal your treachery. You wish to be carried off like the wind, with nowhere to go and nowhere to return. Tears stream down as you sit staring at the bruise on your thighs. Anger and loss comingle in the desperate surrender of hopelessness. An anguish rises from your heart that cries out “Why!”  

It’s not your fault.

The image is so vivid the sounds so real that you can feel them. The door slamming, the shattered glass, the sound of your mom suppressing her weeping and your siblings staring at you blankly, lost. But you knew. You knew as you watched him throw his belongings into a suitcase like a bandit. The defeat on his face answered every question you desperately wanted to ask.

You knew as he kissed your forehead goodbye it would be his final blessing. You knew as you sat peering out through the window, your breath a contrast against the cold night. Every fiber of your being screamed at you to dash outside and plead with him, to say sorry. Sorry for being alive, sorry for not being worth worthy enough to be love, sorry because you didn’t know what else to say. But you couldn’t because you knew. You knew you would only remember your father as a stranger wearing black, shoulders slumped, and a head dragged down his head by the flow of shameful tears.

It’s not your fault.

You didn’t expect those texts to mean anything. You always convinced yourself his smile for you was different. Maybe her hand didn’t know as it brushed against him that he was taken. Surely it was jealousy that caused your friends to spite him and to spread those lies. The man you knew was different because he loved you and cared for you. But his lips told a different story, his glances confessed a different loyalty. Her laughter began to cut you’ you could smell the bitterness of deception hanging on his every word. And when you saw them hand in hand, your mind began to berate you. She’s prettier. He didn’t really love you. He just used you. You’re nothing.

It’s not your fault.

His wickedness is not your fault. His blindness and stupidity are not your fault. Your naivety, your insecurity, your longing for love? They are the precious ornaments of womanhood, the sparkle of your nature. They are yours to struggle with and yours to grow out of. No one can default to your humanity as your fault. You trusted more than this world was capable of accepting. You loved not to receive love but to love. And life tried to strip you of that, but it failed because you chose to receive love.  

He went out searching for treasure, looking for life unburdened by responsibility, but little did he know that he would be chained to regret. Only in his sobriety did he realize he had walked away from the greatest treasure of all. It’s not your fault the brilliant light of your beauty was more than he could grasp. It’s not your fault he wasn’t able to raise you as a good father. It has nothing to do with the words you spoke, the mistakes you made, or the way you look. He didn’t walk out on you and your family, he walked out on happiness and the privilege of being your father. Life tried to make you an orphan, but you chose to belong.

Immaturity ravages the hearts of men, lust takes us down dark and lonely paths. We look only to satisfy ourselves and until wisdom confronts us, foolishness remains our motto and becomes your poison. His erratic behavior, his flippant heart, it’s not your fault. That you had to bear the consequences of his selfishness is not your fault. He didn’t know how to appreciate the value of your life. He didn’t see you the way I see it. Life demanded you become a cynic, it did everything to cut you off from people, but you chose to trust.

Life certainly has not gotten the best of you. Indeed, I see it right before my eyes.

Yours Truly,