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A PERSONAL MESSAGE FROM UPWORTHY
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Family

Man responds to family looking to reconnect after throwing him out of the house 37 years ago

At 16, they accused him of something he didn't do and left him on the streets.

families, abandonment, homelessness

A man contemplates how to respond to an email.


On March 16, 2024, Upworthy shared the story of a Redditor named Fancy-Anywhere-4733 (FA for short) who had an incredible dilemma: How do you respond to your family 37 years after they threw you out of the house as a 16-year-old for a bogus reason?

Now, he has shared his response, which is full of honesty, strength and grace.

First, here is some background (you can read the whole story here).

FA’s mother died when he was 12 years old and 2 years later, his father married a woman named Ashley with two kids, Mark (14) and Emily (12). “I got along with Ashley and Emily really well, but Mark, not so much so,” FA recalls. The following year, this rivalry came to a head when both boys fell for the same girl, Lisa, that FA began to date, much to Mark’s annoyance.


To get FA back for dating his crush, Mark planted some of Emily’s panties in his dresser drawer for his stepmother to find on laundry day.

broken family, upset teen, homeless teen

A distressed teen afraid of his future.

via Christian Erfurt/Unsplash

“I had no answer as I'd never seen [the underwear] before,” FA wrote. “Of course, no one believed me. No matter how much protesting I did." Mark added to the lies by saying that FA often stared at Emily and once said he wanted to marry her.

FA’s father threw him out of the house for being a "perv" and he was forced to live on the streets, doing whatever he could to get by. After decades of hard work he created a new life. He had a good job, was married with 4 kids and had finally found real happiness.

Recently, at the age of 53, his stepsister, Emily, whom he hadn’t spoken to in years, emailed him. Emily revealed that Mark got drunk and admitted that he set FA up and the news has been like a “bombshell” was dropped on the family.

“After sharing this revelation with Mom and Dad. Dad started crying, like really crying,” Emily wrote in the email. “I've never seen him cry before. I believe it because he has been carrying around a lot of guilt all these years. Obviously, now knowing the truth, he is now having to deal with the consqueses of his actions. However, after several hours of talking, we all came to the conclusion that we needed to find you and make amends. I have spent hours trying to locate you, in the hopes that I could reach out and extend a heartfelt apology for the years of misunderstanding and mistreatment and hurt.”

woman on computer, family fights, forgiveness

A woman writing an email late at night.

via Muzuno K/Pexels

Receiving the email was an incredible shock, and FA wasn’t sure whether he would respond at all. “I'm, however indifferent to the idea,” FA admitted. “Like, I have no ill feelings towards [Emily]. She obviously was young and had no real say in the matter. But with lots and lots of therapy, I learned to let go of that hate and anger and to let go of them. As well with all the love I receive from my wife, kids and in-laws, it's all I really need.”

FA received countless comments from people who suggested some ways to respond to the to the email. Two days later, he shared his response to Emily in a new post:

Dear Emily,

I appreciate you taking the time to reach out to me, but I must be honest with you. The years of pain and hurt caused by the lies and manipulation by Mark and the betrayal by Dad have left deep scars that will never be truly healed. While I understand that you are now aware of the truth and are genuinely sorry for what has transpired, I find it difficult to simply forgive and forget.

The betrayal and abandonment I experienced at the hands of my own family have left me with a sense of distrust and resentment that can never be overcome. The damage that has been done has impacted me in ways that you may never ever fully and truly understand, and the idea of trying to reconcile now feels like an insurmountable task.

I have spent years in therapy trying to come to terms with the pain and deep trauma I endured, and I have worked hard to build a wonderful life for myself that does not rely on the presence or approval of those who turned their backs on me.

While I am grateful for the apology and the newfound awareness of the truth, I do not feel compelled to rekindle a relationship that was built on lies, deception and betrayal. Especially after all these years.

I have found peace and closure in distancing myself from those who caused me harm, and I do not see the need to reopen old wounds in the name of reconciliation. While I believe in the power of forgiveness, that isn't something I can give.

I wish you all the best in your life, I really do, but I must prioritize my emotional health and self-preservation above all else. I hope you can respect my decision and understand that the wounds of the past will take a lifetime to heal. I would appreciate if you pass this fact on to the others and please don't reach out again. I must look to my future and not my past.

Sincerely, [FA]

email, man writing, family drama

A man writes an email on his laptop

via Christian Hume/Unsplash

"This is a good response. You are letting them know that the door is closed, and you didn't give them any information on whether you have a family," Primierofilho wrote in the comments. "That’s (one of) my favorite parts of [FA's] beautifully eloquent reply. By denying his ex-family any information of how he is doing, they don’t get to know which way to turn their feelings," Darkstormchaser added.

One of the most powerful parts of FA’s letter is the clear reason why he will never be able to forgive them. Even though he believes in forgiveness, doing so would unravel a lot of the work he’s done to heal after the incredible, nearly insurmountable pain they have caused him.

Forgiveness was simply a bridge too far and FA should be proud that he drew up clear boundaries with his family. There was no reason why he should trade an ounce of his peace of mind in exchange for giving solace to those who abandoned him as a teen.

Sponsored

3 organic recipes that feed a family of 4 for under $7 a serving

O Organics is the rare brand that provides high-quality food at affordable prices.

A woman cooking up a nice pot of pasta.

Over the past few years, rising supermarket prices have forced many families to make compromises on ingredient quality when shopping for meals. A recent study published by Supermarket News found that 41% of families with children were more likely to switch to lower-quality groceries to deal with inflation.

By comparison, 29% of people without children have switched to lower-quality groceries to cope with rising prices.

Despite the current rising costs of groceries, O Organics has enabled families to consistently enjoy high-quality, organic meals at affordable prices for nearly two decades. With a focus on great taste and health, O Organics offers an extensive range of options for budget-conscious consumers.

O Organics launched in 2005 with 150 USDA Certified Organic products but now offers over 1,500 items, from organic fresh fruits and vegetables to organic dairy and meats, organic cage-free certified eggs, organic snacks, organic baby food and more. This gives families the ability to make a broader range of recipes featuring organic ingredients than ever before.


“We believe every customer should have access to affordable, organic options that support healthy lifestyles and diverse shopping preferences,” shared Jennifer Saenz, EVP and Chief Merchandising Officer at Albertsons, one of many stores where you can find O Organics products. “Over the years, we have made organic foods more accessible by expanding O Organics to every aisle across our stores, making it possible for health and budget-conscious families to incorporate organic food into every meal.”

With some help from our friends at O Organics, Upworthy looked at the vast array of products available at our local store and created some tasty, affordable and healthy meals.

Here are 3 meals for a family of 4 that cost $7 and under, per serving. (Note: prices may vary by location and are calculated before sales tax.)

O Organic’s Tacos and Refried Beans ($6.41 Per Serving)

Few dishes can make a family rush to the dinner table quite like tacos. Here’s a healthy and affordable way to spice up your family’s Taco Tuesdays.

Prep time: 2 minutes

Cook time: 20 minutes

Total time: 22 minutes

Ingredients:

1 lb of O Organics Grass Fed Ground Beef ($7.99)

1 packet O Organics Taco Seasoning ($2.29)

O Organics Mexican-Style Cheese Blend Cheese ($4.79)

O Organics Chunky Salsa ($3.99)

O Organics Taco Shells ($4.29)

1 can of O Organics Refried Beans ($2.29)

Instructions:

1. Cook the ground beef in a skillet over medium heat until thoroughly browned; remove any excess grease.

2. Add 1 packet of taco seasoning to beef along with water [and cook as directed].

3. Add taco meat to the shell, top with cheese and salsa as desired.

4. Heat refried beans in a saucepan until cooked through, serve alongside tacos, top with cheese.

tacos, o organics, family recipesO Organics Mexican-style blend cheese.via O Organics

O Organics Hamburger Stew ($4.53 Per Serving)

Busy parents will love this recipe that allows them to prep in the morning and then serve a delicious, slow-cooked stew after work.

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 7 hours

Total time: 7 hours 15 minutes

Servings: 4

Ingredients:

1 lb of O Organics Grass Fed Ground Beef ($7.99)

1 ½ lbs O Organics Gold Potatoes ($4.49)

3 O Organics Carrots ($2.89)

1 tsp onion powder

I can O Organics Tomato Paste ($1.25)

2 cups water

1 yellow onion diced ($1.00)

1 clove garlic ($.50)

1 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

2 tsp Italian seasoning or oregano

Instructions:

1. Cook the ground beef in a skillet over medium heat until thoroughly browned; remove any excess grease.

2. Transfer the cooked beef to a slow cooker with the potatoes, onions, carrots and garlic.

3. Mix the tomato paste, water, salt, pepper, onion powder and Italian seasoning in a separate bowl.

4. Drizzle the mixed sauce over the ingredients in the slow cooker and mix thoroughly.

5. Cover the slow cooker with its lid and set it on low for 7 to 8 hours, or until the potatoes are soft. Dish out into bowls and enjoy!

potatoes, o organics, hamburger stewO Organics baby gold potatoes.via O Organics


O Organics Ground Beef and Pasta Skillet ($4.32 Per Serving)

This one-pan dish is for all Italian lovers who are looking for a saucy, cheesy, and full-flavored comfort dish that takes less than 30 minutes to prepare.

Prep time: 2 minutes

Cook time: 25 minutes

Total time: 27 minutes

Servings: 4

Ingredients:

1 lb of O Organics Grass Fed Ground Beef ($7.99)

1 tbsp. olive oil

2 tsp dried basil

1 tsp garlic powder

1 can O Organics Diced Tomatoes ($2.00)

1 can O Organics Tomato Sauce ($2.29)

1 tbsp O Organics Tomato Paste ($1.25)

2 1/4 cups water

2 cups O Organics Rotini Pasta ($3.29)

1 cup O Organics Mozzarella cheese ($4.79)

Instructions:

1. Brown ground beef in a skillet, breaking it up as it cooks.

2. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and garlic powder

3. Add tomato paste, sauce and diced tomatoes to the skillet. Stir in water and bring to a light boil.

4. Add pasta to the skillet, ensuring it is well coated. Cover and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

5. Remove the lid, sprinkle with cheese and allow it to cool.

o organics, tomato basil pasta sauce, olive oilO Organics tomato basil pasta sauce and extra virgin olive oil.via O Organics

Family

Texas UPS driver proudly explains why he never helps his wife do any chores

“I don’t help her clean, do laundry, take care of the kids — none of that.”

J.R. Minton's video has over 6 million views.

Even though America has come a long way in gender relations over the past few decades men are still far behind women when accepting domestic responsibilities.

A recent study from the Bureau of Labor Statistics' American Time Use Survey found that women aged 15 and over spend 5.7 hours daily on domestic tasks, whereas men spend 3.6 hours, a 37 percent difference. Women with a 35-hour week devote 4.9 hours daily to home chores and child care, compared to men's 3.8 hours.

In a world where men still trail behind women when it comes to work on the homefront, a Texas UPS driver is going viral for a TikTok video where he urges men to reconsider how they think about domestic responsibilities.


In a video with over 6 million views, J.R. Minton proudly says he doesn’t “help” his wife with jobs around the house. “I don’t help my wife cook. I don’t help her clean, do laundry, take care of the kids — none of that,” Minton, 32, began his clip.

Warning: Strong language.

So, why does Minton refuse to help his wife?

"Because I do what I am supposed to do as a father and a husband. I cook. I clean. I do the laundry. I take care of the kids. I can't help my wife do those things because they are my job, too,” he reveals.

He then urged men to change their perspectives on how they view their relationship to domestic responsibilities and their wives. “Change the way you speak, change the way you think, and grow the f*** up and be a man," he added.

The video received raves from women in the comments. Sadly, many used the video to share that their husbands have fallen short of Minton’s level of understanding. "My husband sometimes doesn’t even flush the toilet," Human Robot wrote. "I am sending this straight to my man he needs to see this," JJsMom added.

"Yep! My husband and I recognize it’s BOTH our kids and BOTH our house, therefore BOTH our responsibility," Sweetheart wrote.

Minton is an equal partner to his wife because he was raised much differently and wants to right the wrongs of his past. “Pretty much everything about my parenting style is in spite of what I saw when I was growing up,” he told Today.com

Minton knew that his philosophy on marriage was necessary when a woman at Target praised him for doing the “bare minimum." “I was wearing the baby, and I had two kids in the cart, and this lady comes up to Brittany, and she’s like, ‘Oh my God. Is this your husband!? Look at him. You should take a picture of him,’” Minton said. “I get so much credit for doing nothing. How low is the bar?"

Minton responded to his viral video with a heartfelt follow-up to everyone who loved how he cared for his wife and family. “I’m truly humbled at how far my message has gone,” he said. “However, I’d like to take a second to say: I am not special. I am no ‘unicorn.’ I am normal.”

“Nothing about my parenting style or my commitment to my wife is unique. Although it may seem out of the ordinary, it is far from extraordinary,” he continued. “Every father and husband we know (that seems to come up short) is fully-capable — yet unwilling.” He added that there was one thing that separates dads who do their part and dads who don’t: “Effort.”


This article originally appeared on 10.16.23

Images provided by P&G

Three winners will be selected to receive $1000 donated to the charity of their choice.

True

Doing good is its own reward, but sometimes recognizing these acts of kindness helps bring even more good into the world. That’s why we’re excited to partner with P&G again on the #ActsOfGood Awards.

The #ActsOfGood Awards recognize individuals who actively support their communities. It could be a rockstar volunteer, an amazing community leader, or someone who shows up for others in special ways.

Do you know someone in your community doing #ActsOfGood? Nominate them between April 24th-June 3rdhere.Three winners will receive $1,000 dedicated to the charity of their choice, plus their story will be highlighted on Upworthy’s social channels. And yes, it’s totally fine to nominate yourself!

We want to see the good work you’re doing and most of all, we want to help you make a difference.

While every good deed is meaningful, winners will be selected based on how well they reflect Upworthy and P&G’s commitment to do #ActsOfGood to help communities grow.

That means be on the lookout for individuals who:

Strengthen their community

Make a tangible and unique impact

Go above and beyond day-to-day work

The #ActsOfGood Awards are just one part of P&G’s larger mission to help communities around the world to grow. For generations, P&G has been a force for growth—making everyday products that people love and trust—while also being a force for good by giving back to the communities where we live, work, and serve consumers. This includes serving over 90,000 people affected by emergencies and disasters through the Tide Loads of Hope mobile laundry program and helping some of the millions of girls who miss school due to a lack of access to period products through the Always #EndPeriodPoverty initiative.

Visit upworthy.com/actsofgood and fill out the nomination form for a chance for you or someone you know to win. It takes less than ten minutes to help someone make an even bigger impact.

Photo from Pixabay.

Running on empty.

There are two types of people in this world – those who panic and fill up their cars with gas when the needle hits 25% or so, and people like me who wait until the gas light comes on, then check the odometer so you can drive the entire 30 miles to absolute empty before coasting into a gas station on fumes.

I mean…it's not empty until it's empty, right?

But just how far can you drive your car once that gas light comes on? Should you trust your manual?


Now, thanks to Your Mechanic sharing this information in a recent post, you can know for sure. Of course, they also want to warn you that driving on a low fuel level or running out of gas can actually damage your car.

Proceed at your own risk.

fuel efficiency, cars, science, gasoline, gas

How far you can go on empty.

Graph from Your Mechanic.

Here's a link to a larger version of the chart.

These are, of course, approximations that depend on several factors, including how you drive, your car's condition, etc. So don't automatically blame Your Mechanic if you find yourself stranded on the side of the road.


This article originally appeared on 7.28.21

Education

A teen student delivered a masterclass on the true history of the Confederate flag

Christopher Justice broke it down into incredible details most of us probably weren't even aware of.

Six years ago, a high school student named Christopher Justice eloquently explained the multiple problems with flying the Confederate flag. A video clip of Justice's truth bomb has made the viral rounds a few times since then, and here it is once again getting the attention it deserves.

Justice doesn't just explain why the flag is seen as a symbol of racism. He also explains the history of when the flag originated and why flying a Confederate flag makes no sense for people who claim to be loyal Americans.

But that clip, as great as it is, is a small part of the whole story. Knowing how the discussion came about and seeing the full debate in context is even more impressive.



In 2015, a student at Shawnee Mission East High School outside of Kansas City came up with the idea to have student journalists document students engaging in open discussions about various topics. In support of this idea, history teacher David Muhammad helped arrange a debate about the use of the Confederate flag in American society in his classroom.

According to the Shawnee Mission Post, Muhammad had prepared a basic outline and some basic guiding questions for the discussion, but mainly let the students debate freely. And the result was one of the most interesting debates about the Confederate flag you'll ever see—one that both reflects the perspectives in American society at large and serves as an example of how to hold a respectful conversation on a controversial topic.

The full discussion is definitely worth a watch. Justice had quite a few Confederacy defenders to contend with, and he skillfully responded to each point with facts and logic. Other students also chimed in, and the discussion is wildly familiar to anyone who has engaged in debate on this topic. For his part, Mr. Muhammad did an excellent job of guiding the students through the debate.

"I had Chris in class, so I knew he was super intelligent and that he read a lot," Muhammad told the Shawnee Mission Post in 2018. "But that really came out of left-field. He was never out there very much socially, so I didn't expect for him to want to speak in front of a crowd like that."

(In case you're wondering, according to LinkedIn, Christopher Justice is now studying political science at Wichita State University after switching his major from sports management. David Muhammad is now Dean of Students at Pembroke Middle School and also serves as a Diversity Consultant.)

Thanks, SM East, for documenting and sharing such a great discussion.


This article originally appeared on 08.05.21

Family

This is the best mother-daughter chat about the tampon aisle ever. Period.

A hilarious conversation about "the vagina zone" turned into an important message about patriarchy from mother to daughter.

A mother and daughter discuss period products.


Belinda Hankins and her 13-year-old daughter, Bella, seem to have a great relationship, one that is often played out over text message.

Sure they play around like most teens and parents do, but in between the joking and stealing of desserts, they're incredibly open and honest with each other. This is key, especially since Melinda is a single parent and thus is the designated teacher of "the ways of the world."

But, wow, she is a champ at doing just that in the chillest way possible. Of course, it helps having an incredibly self-aware daughter who has grown up knowing she can be super real with her mom.

Case in point, this truly epic text exchange took place over the weekend while Bella was hunting for tampons at the store.


Here's how Belinda introduced it on Facebook:

"THIS was the highlight of my parenting week. Sending my 13-year-old daughter into the store for (whispers) 'feminine hygiene products,' and having the following text exchange."

Let's give this the fanfare it deserves.

Act 1: The "right" aisle.

Every woman, whether she's 13 or 30 has said or thought "THEY'RE NOT HERRREEEEEE" while standing in an aisle, desperately searching for period products. It's like they're trying to make it a scavenger hunt for which we did not sign up.

Act 2: Everything is a lie.

Act 3: Success! Well, sort of.

That's right, Bella. Vagina, like Voldemort, is a word some people refuse to invoke because they're terrified what great, untamed powers doing so might unleash.

Act 4: The truth.

Only a truly great mom could put this in such a way that inspires laughter and fist-pumping agreement at the same time.

Act 5: Smash the patriarchy!

A brilliant conclusion, mom/daughter solidarity AND an accurate map that illustrates what women encounter on a daily basis? If this exchange were a stage play, it would receive five stars.

And many others have agreed; the Facebook post has already been shared over 57,000 times in just two days.

So hip-hip-hooray for moms like Belinda who are candid with their kids on issues big and small and teach them how to be strong using humor and real talk.

The more hilarious conversations like Belinda's and Bella's about vaginas and the patriarchy that there are in the world, the better.

This article originally appeared on 09.14.16

Image from Facebook of Alexandra Dal.

People of color experience many types of subtle racism.



If we're being honest, we all make assumptions about other people, right?

We look at their skin, their clothes, and their car, and we make guesses about them that we don't even realize we're making. Everyone does it.

You ask a pregnant female coworker if she'll keep working after the baby is born — but you wouldn't think to ask that question of a guy who was about to become a dad.


You ask that nice girl behind the counter at the bagel shop whether she'll ever go to college so she can get a better job — only to learn that she's an underemployed Ph.D.

You ask a hipster-looking guy on the subway whether he's into artisanal pickles — but he just happens to be a bad dresser who has no idea what you're talking about.

The fact is, though, that people of color deal with other people's assumptions constantly.

Research shows that other people's expectations can have a profound effect on us. They can determine our success or failure. And black women deal with this nonsense more than others. In a recent study, nearly half of the female black and Latina scientists polled reported being mistaken for janitors or administrative staff.


Let's agree to fix this.

racism, comics, artist, Alexandra Dal

A comic created by Alexandra Dal on racial expectations.

Image from Facebook of Alexandra Dal.

This story originally appeared on 12.15.15