This is my letter to you. I wanted to address this to you. But writing out a ‘greeting’ felt wrong. It felt too personal. Addressing something to you gives you power and giving YOU power isn’t something I am prepared to do anymore.
It is hard to put into words all that you put me through. This letter is another vain attempt to fathom the chaos inside of me. But this letter also holds MY power. This letter means I am not ignoring what happened anymore.
I am writing to you and letting you know what your actions have done.
Maybe you already know? Maybe you don’t care, or maybe you don’t realise. But I know and I’ve realised, and I am not afraid anymore.
I am writing to you and letting you know what your actions have destroyed.
Do you know what it feels like to have every ounce of innocence ripped away from you at the age of 14?
Do you know what it is like to wake up every single day and question your worth? Do you know how it feels to hate every single inch of yourself?
Do you know what it feels like to wake up and wish you hadn’t?
Do you know how it feels to stand in the shower and physically scrub every inch of yourself with a scouring brush? To get rid of the feel of you. To try and physically erase your memory.
Do you know what it’s like to be completely isolated while surrounded by the people you love and cherish most?
Do you know how it feels to be unable to sit on your own bed without flashbacks? To feel more comfortable sitting on a wooden floor.
Do you know what it’s like to be so unsure of yourself that you cannot, and will not, make the simplest decisions?
Do you know what it’s like to be unable to trust anyone? Do you know what it’s like to feel physically sick at the thought of letting anyone know you again?
Because of what you did to me, I grew up believing I had no value, that I wasn’t worthy of anyone’s affection. I grew up believing that I was to blame. Instead of living life like any other 14-year-old, with hope and with happiness, I spent my teenage years trying to diminish myself. I grew up disgusted with myself, feeling dirty. I have spent years and years trying to make myself small enough to go unnoticed. So that no one else would notice me like you did. In the hope that everyone else would forget about me as quickly and easily as you did.
Do you know what it’s like to be silenced?
Maybe I should be angry at you, maybe I should be annoyed at you, instead of afraid. Maybe I should hate you. Or, maybe I should thank you. I did not know that my voice would emerge from spending enough time in silence and maybe I should be grateful for that.
You threw me so far from myself that I’ve been trying to find my way back ever since. You were so afraid of my voice that I decided to be afraid of it too. But finally, I’m finding my voice in the silence. I’m discovering my light in the dark.
You don’t define me anymore. I define myself. I am much more than the marks you left on me. I am Emma. I am my family and my friends. I am laughter and I am love. I am forgiveness. I am hope. I am my future. And, I am not yours.
Whatever caused the wounds inside of you, I hope they heal even faster than mine. And when that day comes, it will be too late to reach out to me to tell me that you’re sorry.
But today I forgive you, because today I want to be free. Today I give you back everything you’ve given me, everything I didn’t deserve and never asked for. Today I return the shame and the guilt. The fear and the self-hate. None of it belongs to me. I am Emma and I am not a burden. My voice is worthy of being heard.
I am allowed to take up space. I am allowed to own who I am and what I want for myself. My passions, my thoughts, my ideas, my opinions. I am allowed to say no. I am allowed to say yes. I am allowed to express myself. I am allowed to belong… I might even matter.
I’m too victorious to give up.