‘Thank you my grandfather, who sexually abused me for years. You taught me how to protect my children. You taught me the good and bad in the world. That bad exists, but it never wins.’

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“Thank you to my first-grade teacher, who smacked my hand when I asked him why he was so mean. You taught me that questioning someone’s bad behaviors can intimidate someone. No matter how small my voice was then, I knew it made an impact, so I learned to never stop using it. 

Thank you, teachers who told me, to never take up writing, as I lacked expression. You taught me people will always tell you what you can’t be, but you should never listen and strive for what you love. 

Thanks, mean girls in high school, you taught me bad attitudes might make you peak in school, but the real world is for us dorks, losers, ugly fatties and sluts. Loving our curves, our flaws and our sexuality is more empowering than being a popular girl in school… and being your boss is the best revenge. 

Thank you to my grandfather, who sexually abused me for years. You taught me how to protect my children. You taught me the good and bad in the world. That bad exists but it never wins. People will try to disguise their perverted feelings as love and it’s never the victim’s fault. You made me aware of society’s culture around this, that silencing victims and being forced to forgive isn’t what should happen. That our voices should be loud and strong. Healing is a journey; being angry or sad, or whatever you want is totally fine and normal. You hid behind religion but the god you used to justify yourself made sure he killed you the most painful way. Karma always comes around. 

Thank you to the adults who I told about my abuse, who didn’t listen nor do anything. You taught me that children need a voice and inspired me to become a social worker and make sure everyone is heard and believed. 

Thank you to my ex-boyfriend, who cheated and treated me like I was never good enough or never thin enough. If it wasn’t for you, I would have never known my true worth and that I would never tolerate being treated that way again. You taught me that only the insecure act this way. 

Oh, and thanks to my ex-boyfriend’s mom. All her constant put downs made me learn that people can hurt and project it on you. That the hurtful words are not a reflection of you but come from someone who needs help with unresolved issues, so to be kind. She also taught me to hang clothes properly as to not leave marks, this has come in handy. 

Thank you to the online trolls and bullies, thank you for talking some serious sh*t to me and about me, you brought me down to a bottom of a hole, but it made me stronger enough to climb from the bottom to be even better and confident than I was before. 

Thank you to my depression and anxiety, you taught me it’s okay not to be okay. That through every heart ache or painful experience, I can build resilience and learned the greatest thing I can do for others is be open about it, so that they can be empowered enough to say, “me too”. You taught me people mock mental illness because they’re scared of it, so to forgive and never stop trying to educate.

Thank you to the bad, you taught me an invaluable lesson, to appreciate the good in my life and I feel like I’m the luckiest girl in the world.”

Laura Mazza

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Laura Mazza of Mum on the Run, where it originally appeared. Submit your story here, and subscribe to our best love stories here.

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