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here’s to all the conversations I have in my head

because many things are easier left unsaid

To my mother and my father:

I’m sorry. I’m sorry I haven’t been the perfect daughter.

I’m sorry I don’t respect all your hard work, all the sacrifices you’ve made as an immigrant to this country, all the sacrifices you’ve made to ensure we get the best of everything.

I’m sorry all I can do is argue, perpetually falling into that vicious cycle of screaming and crying and avoiding.

I’m sorry I blame you for my shortcomings without thanking you for my strengths.

I love you.

To the guy in my life (because I still don’t have a name for what we are, even after two years):

I’m sorry that every time I want to talk about something real, the words get swallowed up in my throat. Fear and uncertainty shove them down, choking me. So I never told you that

I woke up one morning and realized that I wanted to wake up next to you for the rest of my life. But I didn’t say that because that’s scary to me and probably even scarier to you.

I’m sorry that even being with you is a battle. That I’m fighting with my parents to give you this chance in my life. I’m fighting with my friends to give you a chance in my life. It feels like you and me against the world, and sometimes I’m scared we won’t survive.

I love you.

To the friend I lost because of this guy:

I’m sorry that I faked a smile and an “I don’t know” every time you asked why he was pulling away from you.

I’m sorry that I didn’t tell you how he felt, how I was beginning to feel, that we honestly only wanted to protect you (and selfishly, protect our friendships).

I wrote a poem that held all the words I could never say—maybe someday I’ll let it see the light of day.**

I love you.

To my younger self:

I’m sorry I let all of the insecurities swallow you up, that I led us down a dark, dark path. But it only served to make us stronger — look where we are now.

I’m sorry for all the times I told you that you weren’t beautiful, that you weren’t smart, that you didn’t deserve to be happy.

I’m sorry for all I’ve put your body through. You deserve better.

I love you.

Those three words I don’t say enough when I truly mean them, and say too much when I truly don’t.

**I let it see the light of day

the words I could never say, but managed to put down on paper.