Tuesday, August 27, 2013

UNWRITTEN: An Open Letter to My Father

July 23, 2013

Dear Dad,

I apologize for not getting back to you sooner but I had to process my thoughts before responding. 

Unfortunately, I had to withdraw from the course and defer admissions since I was about $950 short and was unable to borrow the money from Karen since she told me that she could not afford to lend me the money. 

I was devastated and felt she was being dishonest with me since she just sold the condo my grandmother gave her for over $750,000. 

It wasn't worth fighting over since we both know that it may have resulted in a drawn out battle like the one she had with her brother when Grandpa Al died. 

I was in a deep depression when I saw the deed to the house since Karen promised that she would leave the property to Lauren and I to return the favor. Instead, she threw out all of our things and I collected photographs you had taken of us when we were little girls. 


On a side note, she also wants us to reimburse her for the ObGyn bill when I was born! 

I can't tell you how disappointed I am since I would only need one more class after that for my degree and I was really looking forward to a visit with you since it has been a while and I have some things I want to tell you. 

I finally get it. 

I just wish I could have "gotten it" earlier in life so I could have made better choices and decisions. 

Now that I am growing older, I see a lot of myself in you. 


I have always respected you. Your amazing focus, work ethic, and self discipline. 

Hate to break it to you, but even though I don't have to, I actually kinda of like you!

I used to make fun of you for buying three pairs of the same jeans and cutting them at the ankles. 

Guess what? I do it now too!  I buy three of everything too because I have to come to value comfort more than fashion. 

My ears are sensitive like yours and I go apeshit when I hear noisy teenagers on a train. And if I had a badge? You bet your ass I would flash it too!

I have zero tolerance for histrionics and manipulative behavior and I would rather be told the most awful truth than a well constructed lie. 

I make good eye contact and often find myself speaking in monotone, repeating the same words until they come out just right or are understood. 

I don't know if these traits are from your strict upbringing or if they are a genetic predisposition since I have come to learn that they are common for people with Aspergers Syndrome. Echolalia, sensory overload, a need for consistency. 

Like you, I can be extremely focused and have special interests that have allowed me to become one of the "top four policy analysts to graduate from Columbia's program in the last 40 years" and "the only person [Congressman Cooper] knows in the state of Tennessee capable of understanding the complexities of the relevant health care law and policy issues."

Things haven't worked out the way I hoped and planned but you never told me life was fair or that everything would be okay.

I resigned from my job with the state because I couldn't tell my clients (juvenile offenders or victims of horrific abuse and neglect) that things "would get better" when I knew in my heart that they were in for a cruel, unjust ride through a corrupt welfare system and had little to no chance of surviving in this society if they expected to rely upon the "system" to meet their basic needs. 

The system is designed to keep people locked into a dependence and learned helplessness with little chance of ever breaking free.  
Having lived on under $17/day for more years than I care to admit.

I simply could not be a party to encouraging children and young adults to subscribe to that mindset and tell them their lives would improve; that the system would help them achieve independence when I knew damn well that I was fostering false hopes by encouraging a lifestyle of dependence that would likely continue into adulthood. 

It broke my heart. It broke my spirit and it broke my faith in the system. 

I no longer want to save the world. Quite frankly, I have given far too much of myself and my time working with charities and volunteering with non-profit agencies that paid me far less than I deserved because I let them. 

I am paying for that now. But maybe someday, I will feel confident enough to   demand a real salary and maybe even collect royalties on my publications and the book I wrote that sold 62,000 copies without paying me a dime. 

I hope you will read it someday if you haven't already and know that I finally learned to speak and write the way you taught me to... 

I do hope you know that despite my past and residual anger, I love you and hope that you love me too. 




Elyssa D. Durant, Ed.M.
Research & Policy Analyst

On Jul 23, 2013, at 7:39 AM, Marc Durant
Did you ever make it to Columbia and NYC?
Marc Durant
Durant & Durant LLP
325 Chestnut Street
Suite 1116
Philadelphia, PA 19106-2611
From: Elyssa Durant
Sent: Tuesday, July 23, 2013 7:19 AM
To: Marc Durant; Schuessler George; Rick; Stu; Social Justice; Vaxen; Joel; Elyssa Danielle Durant
Subject: Yahoo's Very Bad Idea to Release Email Addresses | Threat Level | Wired.com

Holy mother of God!!

Elyssa D. Durant, Ed.M.
Research & Policy Analyst

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Elyssa D. Durant, Ed.M.