I Survived; I’m Free!

A letter:

We were in 8th grade when “the incident” occurred. You were guys; so to you it was probably all in fun, a game of sorts. But to me, it was pain. My feelings were involved—I had liked you all at some point, and you knew that. That didn’t stop you. That doesn’t matter. You did a serious number on my self-esteem.

My trust: shattered. Like a glass hitting a concrete floor from 50 feet in the air.

My self-esteem: crushed.Like a boulder rolling over an ant.

Your words are super-glued to the inside of my brain. Like a tape they are on repeat, never to be forgotten, just turned down. Your actions are like a bad movie being replayed over and over again. Although, sometimes, the screen is turned off, granting me a brief reprieve.

Because of you, I learned that there is pain. Because of you, I learned not to trust. Because of you, I learned how to build walls. Because of you, I fell straight down—fast and hard.

But…

Because of you, I learned that there is beauty in pain. Because of you, I learned that trust should be earned. Because of you, I learned how to tear down walls. Because of you, I started fighting for my footing.

I’m stronger than I seemed to you, apparently, because I fought for my right to be here. Even when the odds were not in my favor, I fought—my strength coming from those around me, and coming from somewhere deep within me. I do matter. I do have value.

Albert Camus once said, “But in the end, one needs more courage to live than to kill himself.”

It’s true, you know. It would have been easier to give up; it would have been easier to just do what you said. But, that would be akin to me admitting defeat, which is not something I do easily. I prefer winning and coming out victorious. So I fought. And I fought hard. Even when the air was knocked out of my lungs again and again, I got up screaming through the pain, determined to prove you wrong. Because, let’s face it. I’m a girl; therefore, I’m always right.

I’m not angry anymore. I’ve grown up. I’ve moved on. I’ve forgiven. And now, I’m saying goodbye to you, to the bitterness, to the sorrow. I’m letting go. I’m free.

A lot can happen in 4 years; you grow up, you mature, you start seeing things differently. 4 years ago, I was a lot different than I am now—I was shy, I was quiet, I was broken. 4 years ago, I had my innocence ripped from me in a matter of minutes. All it took was minutes, and I’ve spent the last 4 years healing. I’ve spent the last 4 years trying to get the images of what they did out my mind; I’ve spent the last 4 years trying to get the words they said out of my head: “You’ll never amount to anything. You won’t succeed. You’re worth nothing.”

Nothing took the pain away more than cutting. So, that’s what I did. Multiple times a day, every day for two years. The wounds have faded now, but the scars are still there. The words they said don’t have as much of an impact anymore, but sometimes they come back loud, and I have to resist the urge to pick up that razor.

A lot can happen in 4 years. I entered Freshman year as quiet and insecure. I ended Senior Year as loud, and sometimes obnoxious, sometimes confident, but mostly insecure. I’m still broken, but I’ve seen beauty come from my brokenness. I’m beginning to see healing that is coming from the rain. After 4 years I’ve proved them wrong.

I SURVIVED! I’M FREE!

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