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  • “When you asked us during the meditation, what we need to forgive another or ourselves," she explained to me afterwards," I realized that I need most to forgive myself. I need to forgive myself for never having stood up for myself. I have lived like a puppet: first my mother ordered me around and whenever I did not behave well enough my brothers beat me up - my father was long gone by then and had he been there, he probably wouldn´t have protected me but joined in with the others. Then I stayed much too long with my violent first husband. After that I met another man and after only a month I went to live with him and his grandmother. I got pregnant with my third child. The man and his grandmother started to shut me into a room and never let me leave. They wanted that baby, they announced, and then I would be free to go. And would I try to escape, they would go to the police and accuse me of robbery and I would end up in prison! I was so scared, I did not try anything to flee. I gave birth to a baby - boy, left the child with them and returned to live with my mother and two other sons, who my mother takes care of. I think and think of that child I left behind. I have tried to see him, I have gone to his school, but his father and great grandmother are fierce and do not give me a chance."

    "Now I live with another man, we have a 5 - year - old son, who also lives with my mother. Them, my sons, my mother does not beat, she loves them. I work 12 hours a day in a bakery to pay for us all, because my husband just holds a half - time - job. Yesterday I realized that also with this husband I behave as if I am the least valuable person on Earth: whenever he visits his best friend, I have to wait outside his best friend´s house. His friend does not like me. But there I go, like a complete fool, and accompany him to that house. Yesterday it was raining and he still asked me to stay outside on a bench and I did. Can you believe that? While he had a good time with his friend, I got drenched by the rain until, after 3 hours, my husband finally appeared."

    "I realize now that I have always just tried to fulfill others’ expectations of me. That is what I need to forgive myself. To be able to do that I need to change. I will never again wait on that bench outside, I promise! And this promise is not to you, but to myself...."

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    Art by Kiki
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