I’ve spent a good part of my life being angry.
Angry at the situations I’ve been put in, angry at the circumstances of my life — and mostly, angry with the people who have hurt me.
I don’t know if I believe in unequivocal forgiveness. There are truly things in this world that I think are unforgivable, and no amount of metaphorical restitution can be paid for some things that humans do to one another.
I’m still angry. I’m angry because I never got to have a childhood. I’m angry because I’ll always be marked as the girl with the troubled past. I’m angry because I’ll never have a true sense of normality in my life.
But I’ve also realized that my anger is what drives me. It motivates me and has taken me to places I never thought I’d go. It has and continues to push me to strive for more.
And for that, without a tinge of forgiveness, I say thank you:
1. To my father:
Thank you for teaching me how not to be a parent. Thank you for preparing me for adulthood by making me fend for myself as a child. Thank you for abusing me, and for showing me exactly what it is I will devote my life to fighting against. Thank you for showing me how to identify a sociopath. Thank you for making me learn that blood is in fact not thicker than water. Thank you for abandoning me, for not wondering how I’m doing, for never checking in. It is because of this absence that I am finally able to be strong.
2. To my rapist:
Thank you for fueling the un-extinguishable fire that lives within me. Thank you for showing me how a real man doesn’t act. Thank you for uprooting my life and hurling it into a different direction, which proved to be so much better than the path that I was on. Thank you for harassing me and threatening my life — for getting your peers to tell me that I was nothing. It is because of these hateful remarks that I’m able to accomplish anything that I put my mind to. Thank you for driving me out of the country after you raped me. It is because of this that I got to live in Ireland. It is how I found a passion for travel. Thank you for telling the police that my rape was consensual sex, and for silencing my voice. It has provided me with an even louder one.
3. To the friends who witnessed my rape and testified against me:
Thank you for making my life a living hell at the age of 13. It made me strong. Thank you for making me leave school and finish with the help of a tutor and thank you for making me switch schools. The high school I ended up going to was much better than the one I had planned on attending. Thank you for threatening me, for harassing me, for planning on assaulting me. It has made my skin thick. Thank you for berating me with messages of hate and for making me feel worthless. It has made me realize just how worthy I actually am. Thank you for turning your backs on me. It has shown me the value of true friendship.
So thank you. To all of the people above, and to anyone who has underestimated me, hurt me, pushed me aside, ignored me, or tried to silence me. Thank you for showing me just how powerful I can be. Thank you for pushing me to reach a little bit higher. Thank you for lighting the fire that lives within me. It has brought me to places I never would have gone without you. And most of all, thank you for making me appreciate the good people in my life.
Thank you for teaching me just how wonderful people can be, compared to you.