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One day after school in eighth grade, I was pursued by a group of my most persistent abusers. They cornered me by a fence and began harassing me. I kept my face blank, but I was being destroyed on the inside.
When the harassment had escalated considerably, a girl stepped forward and tried to kick me. My poker face turned quickly into a snarl and I downed three of them, with two that left before they could know what the ground tasted like.
I ran home crying after that, but not because my classmates had hurt my feelings. That day, I had seen a part of me that could hurt people and that scared me more than anything.
My father had been a violent man, a fact which would make me question my own being for many years to come.
The violence I had seen in myself made me stay away from social situations and it made me look inside myself until I could answer one question: am I like my father?
When I got into the teen years I started self-harming as a stress reliever. Through the process of quitting this bad habit, I re-examined myself as a way to address what exactly was stressing me out so badly that I couldn’t stop doing something so obviously stupid.
I went around and asked my family and others how they would describe me to someone who has never met me.
To my bewilderment, nobody mentioned all the negative things I thought they would.
I realized that nobody cares what I look like or that I had an abusive father or that I like to eat muffins with a spoon.
I found out that anything someone says that is purposefully hurtful, is a reflection of that own persons hurt or a side effect of peer pressure.
I am stronger now and I could not have become this strong without the obstacles that I had to overcome.

So today, I forgive.
I forgive all the people who have hurt me through the years.
I forgive my father for who he couldn’t be.
And I forgive myself.
Because even though my father was a violent man, I am not him.

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