We were taught that love was pain, and hope a mere fantasy. God had forsaken us, and prayer was a useless act. Dreams were never meant to come true, and peace was non-existent.
We were the forgotten. The lost. The helpless. Our hearts grew cold and empty, our souls died.
We were the unlovable, the unreachable, the lonely. Trust, faith, love, tears - these concepts were a constant danger to our very existence.
Many days I continued to wonder if your escape had been the better option. You escaped both the tyranny and the lessons. You found light by extinguishing yours. You found light, while we continued to live in darkness.
Days turned to months, and then to years. And the darkness remained my only companion.
For many years I felt like were alone in our struggles. Yes, I had a vague understanding that there were people in the world who had it so much worse, but this was only a small notion, and one where I chose not to put my focus. Perhaps it was because I was simply too young and immature to recognize the world beyond myself. Perhaps I was simply too afraid to open my heart and care.
It took me a long time to recognize there was a light shining through that darkness. It took me a long time to stop trying to put out that light - to stop being afraid of it. It took me a long time to understand that amid all the pain and suffering, that light had stayed by my side. It took me a long time to understand that I have the power and responsibility to show that light to others.
Perhaps it was because of this realization that my heart is heavy today. Our world is broken. It has always been broken. And it will continue to be broken because so many people have refused to recognize that they too have this power and responsibility to show this light to others. So many want to lock the door and keep the hurt and lost and helpless away. So many are driven by fear or arrogance. Or both. They claim compassion, but don't truly understand what it means to be compassionate. They claim love, but have no understanding of what it means to love.
I no longer wonder if your escape was the better option. Yes, you escaped the tyranny and the darkness. But I have found something so much better hiding in the darkness - a light. Hope, dreams, love, peace. And I have found a desire to show this light to others, to help people realize they are not alone, or helpless. I have found a desire to truly give compassion and love to those who need it most - to those who were like us, or worse. To those who have that rope around their necks, and cannot find a reason not to let it tighten. To those who stopped believing, or never had a chance to believe. To the lost and forgotten.