I do not believe that we are born with hate in our heart, and I do not believe that we are wired to hold hate in our hearts after bad things happen to us, and unfortunately it took me a very long time to realize that forgiveness is okay and that forgiving someone and letting go of the hate that you harbor makes you stronger.
It has taken me 19 years to bring this story to the surface, and it’s not because I am ashamed, but I think it’s because I wasn’t ready. When you forgive someone for the things that they do to you, it doesn’t mean that you’re ready to share it with the world. So I share this with raw emotion and vulnerability, but more importantly, I share this with strength and because I’m not sure that if I don’t share it now I will never be ready.
I’ll never know or understand if you know what you took from me, if you understand that your selfishness left me in a world of fear that over the past few years I have learned to tame. And I’ll never know if you regret what you took from me or whether you feel remorse at all for hurting me the way you did. But, none the less,
I forgive you.
I once said these words with such numbness to the fact of what they truly meant but now I know that I forgive you. In the beginning, I didn’t think that I would ever know what forgiveness looked like when it was referring to you but as I let go of hate I learned that you are the one that needs forgiving, not me.
I’ll never know when I blocked out all the things that happened or when I suppressed them so far down that when I brought them back to the surface I was struck with a feeling so deep in my stomach I was paralyzed with fear. I’ll never know why it took me 7 years after the incident to finally talk about it. But all I know is that when I brought it back to light my whole world was spinning yet standing still at the same time. I became angry that I let you get away with it for so many years, and I became angry that I didn’t tell anyone because I was embarrassed and ashamed, and I became angry because now that I decided to speak up it was MY life that was being turned upside down, again, not yours. I became angry because I felt that after all that I had been through I would have peace after setting my secret free, but little did I know only more pain was to follow.
After I spoke out I started to realize all of the things that had a rippling effect on my life but still I forgive you. Maybe you didn’t know the pain you would cause me after you did what you did and maybe you didn’t know that still, 19 years later, I would be fighting the demons you left with me, but I forgive you.
I forgive you for the fear you once left me with, the fear of being alone at night, the fear of walking to my car in broad daylight, the fear of ever being vulnerable, the fear of being taken advantage of again, the fear of being intimate. I forgive you for making it impossible to trust anyone for a long time because after all, I trusted you, and you broke every ounce of trust I had. I forgive you for all of those things and so much more.
I forgive you for hurting me so deep that learning to love myself was not only my hardest battle but one that I never thought I would accomplish. I forgive you for making it hard for me to know how to love, I forgive you for trying to take away knowing how to let someone love me. I forgive you for making me afraid to ever be intimate for a long time. I forgive you for not letting me enjoy my life for the fear of my secret getting out. I forgive you for being able to live your life with no consequences of your action, while I sat dealing with the pain you left me with.
But after all of those things, I somehow thank you. I thank you for making me keep my heart guarded because without that I would have let the wrong people in and I would have been hurt more than you hurt me. I thank you for showing me that not everyone is out to hurt me like you did and I thank you for making me so timid with my intimate side. I thank you for putting me through hell only to find out that I am stronger than I ever thought possible.
I forgive you, but I will never forget. I will never forget the innocence you took from me, a feeling that I never thought I would miss. I will never forget the way I was paralyzed with fear by just hearing your name. I will never forget how I laid awake crying wishing that this wasn’t my life and that I could just be normal. I laid awake praying that one day someone would love me for all of me, even the parts you damaged. I will never forget how I laid awake scared that one day you would come back.
As the years have gone by I have realized that the more of you, and the damage you caused, that I set free the more of myself that I get back. You had no idea of the grip you had on my life, the control that I let you have, but a while back I decided that you took enough from me and you were no longer in control of my life.
You do not haunt me anymore. The fears I once laid awake at night over no longer have their chains on me. And the fears you once left me with are merely battle scars on my beautiful canvas.
It hasn’t been easy learning to forgive you and it hasn’t been easy learning how to put back the pieces I let you break. But it has been liberating to know that you can no longer hurt me and you can no longer control my emotions, my happiness, or my life. I have learned to love and I have learned to be loved and it is the most beautiful thing, and no memory of the things you tried to take from me when I was younger will ever take this new life I have created.