Once I closed my eyes, I was in an eternally dark place. In this dream, a booming voice questioned me. “If you had the chance to confront the ones who hurt you, what would you do?”
I hated those who oppressed me. Now was my chance to get closure…and revenge. “We’re about to find out.” I replied.
In the pitch black space, a plump woman appeared before me. I immediately knew who she was. She said that I couldn’t be in a regular classroom because I wouldn’t speak. She put me in special education during Pre-Kindergarten. “Do you remember me?” I asked. “I talk now. That’s the opposite of what you said I would do. I escaped special education a year after you put me in it! I fit in regular and gifted classes! How do you feel about that?” She was silent, but I desired her apology. Her silence angered me so much that I actually thought about striking her. Thoughts of dealing a painful revenge coursed through my mind, but I held in my anger. “You don’t remember me do you?” I asked. Her blank stare made me incredibly uncomfortable, but I remembered that I used to be the same when she diagnosed me. I saw how hopeless and empty she looked and I saw my old self. I then decided to embrace her with all of my forgiveness.
Afterwards, the sky became blue and cloudy. I stood in the corner of a schoolyard alone while everyone else played. I was back in sixth grade when I was alone. At that moment, I felt the hatred that used to course through me back then. Tears immediately started to fall from my eyes and I strode towards a boy named Joshua who I fought twice in the past. At that moment, I found myself attacking him. Just like the lady that put me in special education, he looked as if he didn’t see me. No one saw me. They all saw Joshua being beaten, but none of them spoke. Seeing Joshua also reminded me of myself. During my years of elementary school, I was beaten up, teased, and abandoned. That is what I was making Joshua go through. I realized that my revenge was detrimental since it required that I become the person that I hated most. Seeing the damage that I did, I used the power that I had in my dream to heal Joshua. I then shook his hand and said “Thank You”.
The schoolyard became an auditorium filled with people from my middle and elementary school graduating classes. I was valedictorian in the 6th and 8th grades, so my subconscious must have combined both graduations into one event. My speech was succinct this time. “To those who abandoned me, thank you for teaching me the tough lesson of loneliness. To the woman that said that I wouldn’t make it, thank you for giving me an obstacle to overcome. Thank you to those who called me nothing because without you, I wouldn’t be here today. Now I know what not to be.” For the first time, I heard sound in the form of a standing ovation for my speech. I then saw a girl with the gorgeous hair and the most luscious face that I have ever seen on the stage. She had qualities from every female that I was too afraid to speak to. She was the culmination of every girl that I ever let get away. With the happiness that came with finally letting my past go, I grabbed her and a passionate kiss ended my dream and my journey to forgiveness.
I was finally released back into reality and I opened my eyes to a beautiful day. I examined the valedictory speeches that I wrote in the sixth and eighth grades. I took them down from my wall and put them in a folder. That spot on my wall is now meant for my college valedictory speech. I’m no longer stuck in the past. I’m too ambitious for that. In the summer of 2012, I am ready to look towards the future. My past experiences aren’t what make me who I am. It is my capacity for love and forgiveness that makes me who I am. I don’t only forgive those who hurt me, but I thank them because they made me who I am today.
Thank You from the bottom of my heart.