To the one who tried to destroy me,
I don’t know if this letter will ever reach you. And now, as I sit here, my shaking hands typing this, I’m not sure that I care. Last year, this would’ve been a different story. Just a year ago, I would have wanted to make sure that this letter reached your hands. I would have wanted you to cling onto every word, so you could know how miserable you made me. I would want to tell you my entire story, every gruesome detail, so you could understand just how badly you broke me.
This year is different. This time, it isn’t about getting even. Nor is it about trying to make you understand just how severely I suffered at your hands. It’s about getting closure, being courageous, and most importantly: it’s about thanking you.
I’ve come to terms with the fact that even if I did spill my entire story, you wouldn’t care. You’d make up some excuse for your actions, or try to place the blame on me. Maybe you sincerely don’t understand the wrong you have done to me, but I doubt that’s the case. I think the fact is that you are incapable of caring, on a deeper level at least, for anyone but yourself. You don’t recognize the emotions of anyone else as valid. You are devoid of true friendship and love, and honestly, I feel sorry for you.
Sometimes, I remember what you did to me. You tried to destroy me. Of course, you didn’t start this. I disliked myself long before you came along. But you sure finished it, because like an injured animal, I was already battered and bruised when you noticed me. It made me an easy target. When I trespassed on what you saw as your territory, you pounced.
Rumors spread like wildfire directly from your lips. The flames consumed every aspect of my life. For months, I sat among the burned ruins, depressed and alone. It seemed like every time I was close to salvaging what little I had left, a new flame would ignite, and I would be back to square one.
To this day, I don’t understand why you chose arson. Maybe it was because it was slower and more painful than a quick bullet. In an instant, you could’ve ended this. Any of your tactics would have worked. You could’ve destroyed me and walked away victorious. Luckily for me, you wanted to watch me suffer.
I say luckily because if it weren’t for your slow and sporadic attacks, I wouldn’t have had time to really think about this situation. I wouldn’t have been able to plan ahead, to strategize your next move. Most importantly, I wouldn’t have had time to notice the invisible army behind me; a militia whose love for me was no longer drowned out by your proclamations of hate.
You see, for every blaze you started, someone else was helping me extinguish it. People got tired of hearing my name come out of your mouth. They started to question your credibility on the subject of me. Finally, they started to realize you didn’t know me at all.
I found a support system in the most unlikely of places. These loved ones helped me up as I rose from the ashes. I became a beautiful phoenix that you couldn’t touch. It is because of you that I gained my wings. So for that, I thank you.
Because of you, I have realized what a beautiful, strong woman I am. I learned to combat the hate that radiated from your body with an immeasurable amount of self-love. This is, in part, because I hope that I can never loathe myself enough to try to destroy another woman like you did. From the depths of my heart, I hope that one day you can love yourself and others enough to bury this hate for good. Until then, I will continue to forgive you every day for what you did.
Or rather, what you tried to do. You did try to destroy me. You tried, and you failed. In your attempts, you inspired me to empower myself.
Thank you for inadvertently teaching me how to love myself. It’s such a stark contrast to the hate you cast upon me. This is a love so pure and unconditional that, given the chance, I wouldn’t change a thing about the events that unfolded. They made me who I am today: a strong, beautiful, and compassionate woman.
As Dr. Luther King Jr. said: “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” Your hate awakened the love within me. It worked from the inside, driving every speck of hate from of my heart.
I want to thank you. Because of you, I am reborn.