To the One Who Ruined My Life

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Dearest Uncle,

Hope you are doing well because I am not! All thanks to you.

For years, you have controlled me. Abused me. Held me back from the future I deserved.

During my early years, you saw I needed guidance, and you took advantage of my weakness. You exploited me. Used me. I was nothing but a pawn in your big, ugly game.

At that time, I was too vulnerable to know the toxicity of our relationship, yet too naïve to see through the kindness hiding the ulterior motives you harbored. Motives that served your interests, never mine.

Looking back, I understand the harsh truth. You feigned friendship. Little did I know you were patting my shoulder with one hand while stabbing me in the back with the other. All I received in return were pain and betrayal. I trusted you. You failed me. Miserably.

Remember those crazy times? I can never forget it, regardless of how hard I try. Those memories haunt me like a nightmare.

It wasn’t long before I realized you were a control freak, preying on my innocence. You were jealous, possessive, and narcissistic. You only worried about yourself—so selfish!

Then I began to think for myself and question the stranglehold you held over me. The day I rose was the day you lost power over me. It was also the day I began to clean up the mess you left in my life.

Truth be told, I know nothing infuriates you more than seeing someone stand on their own without your support. Even more so because I was very close at hand.

Ever since I stood on my own feet, you have been throwing stones at me. You’ve been criticizing everything I do, calling me names, and trying your best to bring me down. You’ve hurt me beyond measure.

The moment I stood up for myself and demanded my rightful respect, you saw me as a threat. Did you really think I would live out my days subservient to you?

You threatened to cut off support. A threat you eventually followed through with. When others tried to support me, you stopped them at every opportunity. Do you realize how your decision scarred me beyond repair? You have made life a living hell for my children and me.

What infuriates me most is when you claim to have done all that because you ‘cared’ for me and all for my own good. Really? I don’t think so. If you truly loved me, truly put my needs first, you would have lent me a hand instead of pushing me to the ground.

When I was hungry, I looked to you expecting nourishment, but you delivered empty words, an empty plate. In those days of starvation, my hunger pains ate my hope.

Not that I was perfect. Nobody is, including you. You have your faults too. And don’t get me started on your wrongdoings. Trust me; it’s an unforgivably long list.

I’m smaller than you. Weaker, not as powerful. You overshadowed me at every turn! That doesn’t excuse your misdeeds, not one bit.

Don’t underestimate me. I am small yet determined. Always remember—even a tiny spark can ignite a colossal fire.

Along the way, you’ve manipulated me, convincing me I was the crazy one. And you somehow managed to pull the wool over the eyes of others too. You told half-truths, making them believe I was awful and dangerous. You justified the unjustifiable punishments you inflicted upon me.

Me? Dangerous? Look who’s talking. The one who taught me everything I know.

Remember the saying, ‘When you point one finger, there are three fingers pointing back at you.’ You’re the vile one. You’ve ruined more lives than I can fathom. Talk about hypocrisy!

But thankfully, I had a like-minded friend in my life. Someone who cared about me. He gave me what you couldn’t, or rather, wouldn’t—help, support, and above all, respect. He stood by me when you cast me aside. You despised him because he never got along with you. He challenged your authority over me and defied the limits you tried to put on him.

My friendship flourished, and I slowly got back on my feet. After all the trauma and abuse you inflicted upon me, I was healing year by year.

Everything went smoothly until the dreadful day when my friend left me. As they say—all good things must come to an end. When it happened in my life, it hit me harder than I thought it would have.

Nevertheless, being the resilient rebel I am, I picked myself up and wade through life no matter how hard it got. After all, I resisted you in the past. If I could move on after escaping your grasp, I could do the same after he left me, too.

Fast forward, and now it’s been decades since I broke free of your clutches and started surviving on my own. They say time heals all wounds. Unfortunately, that’s not the case with me.

You convinced others that the blame for my suffering lay at my feet. That’s not true. Yes, I’ve had my ups and downs. I would be lying if I said I am faultless. I accept the responsibility that is mine, but the root cause of my current problematic state is you.

In your eyes, you see yourself as a benevolent big brother—always ‘caring’ for others. But in reality, you are nothing more than a big bully. Always putting pressure on others under the guise of doing good. You took what you wanted from me, even if it meant using force. Like a mighty bald eagle preying on a weaker bird.

You wanted me to be your puppet, with you pulling the strings from behind to control and manipulate me. Fortunately, despite your many attempts, I never fell into the same trap again.

I’m not ashamed of myself, I only regret that I ever trusted you. You are the one who should be apologetic for the way you treated me. I don’t deserve any of this. In fact, nobody does.

At times, I wish you were in my shoes. I want you to feel the agonizing pain and immense struggle you put me through. But I’m not heartless like you. I don’t want others to go through the pain I endured.

Do you know how badly I needed your apology? I wished you’d realize the extent of the damage you’ve done. As expected, you never paid me any attention once I left your control. Classic you!

To this day, you don’t have the courage to own up to the mess you created in my life. You always tell me life’s hard for everyone, and I didn’t have it in me to overcome the hurdles along my way. You think I’m a piece of shit who doesn’t deserve sympathy.

You broke me, emotionally and financially. Yet there’s one thing you will never break—my spirit. That’s what has kept me going, despite my many shortcomings.

Over time, I’d hoped you wouldn’t hurt anyone else the way you hurt me. But, being the megalomaniac you are, you went on to ruin many lives just like mine.

Time and again, I wish I’d never been so close to you. The proximity made me more vulnerable to your predatory advances.

I know you will never bother to give a damn about any of this. In your make-believe world, you’ve done nothing wrong, and I’ve brought this upon myself.

Thinking about the future upsets me. If I have a future, to begin with. I don’t know what tomorrow holds for me or what will become of me. Yet I know what I strive never to become—you. The last thing I want is for me to be like you.

A John Milton poem says, ‘Better to reign in Hell, than serve in Heaven.’ I would rather be my own master than be your slave. Regardless of how shitty my life is, I can still live with dignity instead of living under your mercy.

As I am writing this letter, I recognize how pointless it is. You’re not going to mend your ways; your massive ego won’t allow it to happen. I’m not saying you’ll never change. That is always a possibility. Deep inside my heart, there is a sliver of hope that someday, you’ll have a change of heart.

Even now, you’re desperate to control me. I’m sick and tired of your never-ending reprimands and threats. I can’t take the abuse anymore. I refuse to endure any more mistreatment at your hand.
I am utterly frustrated and dismayed. Enough is enough!

Try whatever you wish. I won’t give in to your manipulative tendencies. No longer will I be a pawn in your game, for I am the master of my own destiny.

My life is not yours. It never was and never will be.

It is mine and mine only. I am going to fight to survive, whatever it takes.

So, save yourself the effort and stop playing with my life. I may make mistakes, but they will be MY mistakes. Trusting you was my mistake.

Thank you for fucking up my very existence, Uncle Sam.

Yours regretfully,

Cuba

*****
Since the dawn of the 20th Century, the United States government has tried to control its neighboring island nation of Cuba. During the 1940s, US-backed Dictator Fulgencio Batista’s pro-American policies caused public dissatisfaction, eventually resulting in political repression and human rights abuses. All this led to the Cuban Revolution, where Cuba allied with the Soviet Union, after which the US imposed an economic embargo on Cuba. For almost sixty years now, the draconian blockade has exacerbated the socioeconomic difficulties experienced by the island’s million citizens. To this day, their struggle continues.

Adrian David writes ads by day, and short fiction and poetry by night. His works explore sociopolitical themes like genocide, conflict, peace, racism, power dynamics, and everything in between, from the mundane to the sublime. Read other articles by Adrian.