For me this past year has been one of healing, digging deep, and letting go of the past. For that I want to say thank you.
Thank you to the boys who raped me in college. I love you. I forgive you. You taught me how to be stronger, how to find my own voice, how to overcome trauma and discover that I alone define my worth, no one else. I wish you both luck on your journeys to becoming better human beings.
To the kids who bullied me in school, and to the acne that plagued my face for over 10 years, thank you. Thanks to you I kept my nose in books instead of obsessing over beauty in magazines. You helped teach me humility, the power of inner beauty, and compassion for the underdog. Thank you to every ex-partner or lover who ever let me down or betrayed my trust. Were it not for you, I might never have learned that the deepest wellspring of trust and unconditional love originates in my soul, and not in the arms of others.
Thank you to Batman, Superman and friends for teaching me that there is no man on this earth who can rescue me. Only I have the power to rescue myself, and I make a pretty badass superhero, I'm not gonna lie. To everyone reading this, be your own damn hero. Marvel's got nothing on you, baby.
To my grandfather, my father, Jack, Rick, David, Brandon, and Danier, to name a few, thanks for being examples of men who are strong as well as gentle, kind and compassionate. To my friends and family who have always loved and supported me, thank you for helping shape me into the person I am today. I love you all.
Lastly, to my first and primary soulmate. To the little girl who survived the above disappointments, insults, curveballs and grief, look at the incredible woman you have become. All the tears, pain, and façades you have shed have made you stronger, wiser, more beautiful than ever. I am so proud of you. I love you now and always.
To my dear reader, it's time to take back your power. Heal yourself first. Forgive yourself first. Trust yourself first. Love yourself first. Only then can you truly love and forgive others. With gratitude and compassion, Caroline