Sometimes life can feel tainted, unrelenting, polluted, unforgiving. People push you, prod you, poke you, question you. Sometimes their intentions are just, constructive, empathetic, supportive. Sometimes those voices have an ulterior motive.

Life doesn’t have to feel suffocating. We all have those voices in our head that tell us we’re a disappointment. From time to time, these thoughts will slide to the surface. They will overwhelm us, pull us back to exactly where we started to doubt ourselves, suppress our courage, censor our identity, crush forgotten dreams.

We don’t need to listen to those voices. The voices that make us feel worthless, empty, meaningless, discouraged. The voices who cast doubt on who we are, where we came from, where we’re going. It’s important to sit back and question those voices. Do they help me become whole? Do they help me stay in touch with who I am? Do they help me understand my own identity? Do they really understand love?

Family that love you should warm you like the sun. Yes, we all need love, but family must also feel our pain. Love shouldn’t be restrictive. Love should be open and honest with us. Love shouldn’t hide events and people who helped shape us. Yes, we all need love, but we shouldn’t be barred, tethered or deprived from the love of those who remember us.

Family should not freeze you in their contempt and hate for an imaginary demon. Love shouldn’t be restrictive. Anger can shackle love and corrode our belief that anything good can happen to us. Anger, animosity, revenge eats away at our entire soul. It can spawn a victim mentality that everything is always someone else’s fault, that the world is unjust, that misfortune follows.

Phi, don’t allow that to happen to you. Make your own decisions, shape your own future. You’re not betraying anybody if you follow what is truly in your heart. In tough times, we need tough dreams. We need courage, spunk, daring, but more than anything, we must be true to ourselves.

Phi, when you’re ready, take responsibility for your own actions and needs. Be aware of the root of any sense of powerlessness. Practice gratitude. Be kind and true to yourself. You can do this. You need to fight for yourself, Phi.

Let me know when you need me to listen.

Dad… XoXo…

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