I started out wanting to write a letter to my inner child; a letter to the frightened and traumatized little girl I was. I planned to write it in a tone that I would speak to a young child when it suddenly dawned on me that my inner child is more like an inner mini-adult. My trauma started as an infant, and I truly feel I have never fully felt that sense of innocence that is the marvel of childhood. I have watched my best friend’s son grow from an infant to now, being 12, and the wonder, innocence, and excitement in his very being as he discovered the world. It was not only a delight to see but an awakening of sorts for me. Through his eyes, the sights, scents, and sounds were all so innocent and full of awe and adventure. How refreshing it was to see the discovery of life with a fresh, unbiased view. For me, the sights were a bit darker, the scents not so fresh, and the sounds a lot more frightening.
I haven’t ever given much thought to speak to this inner child of mine. I really don’t know what I would say.
Would I point out the obvious things like; don’t even try to trust adults. Would I point out that spending that much time with older kids could be dangerous? I would say that all the time hanging out in the park or on the street could lead to sexual violations?
Would I be angry? Would I yell at my inner child for not doing or saying something to make things stop? Would I be mad that I never told my Mom because I never wanted to burden her due to the abuse she was dealing with? Would I tell myself not to let anger internalize; and to try and get it out in any way possible, as keeping it in will lead to self-destruction, and a loss of sense of self which may never be recovered.
Perhaps I would blame my little self; believing somehow that my silence attracted more predators; or that it must have been something I wore or the way I acted. Did I allow the abuse? Was I seeking attention in the wrong manner from the wrong people? Would I shame little me for not having enough confidence to have a voice to speak with?
Would I let that child know the abuse was never her fault, or tell her it’s ok to have fun; or that it’s ok not to be on guard every moment of every day; that it’s ok to be a kid and not take on adult responsibilities? Maybe I would say it’s safe to trust some people. and not everyone would hurt me. Would I mention how important it is to remember the details of the good times as well? If not, the darkness will eventually take over and steal your good memories as well as blocking out chunks of time.
I would say something like this…
Dear Little Me,
Your life is going to have more curves than straight lines. It’s going to be a rollercoaster ride that you will want to, and will repeatedly attempt to jump off of. Know that the failures when jumping were meant to work out as they did. You are going to see and experience things no living being should have to and you are going to be scared, but I need you to stay strong. I need you to do exactly what you did because those actions were what got me from you to me. I need you to be brave and valiant, and not let them completely destroy your mind.
Remember your body is just a vessel for your soul. No matter what happens, or what anyone says, absolutely none of it is your fault, and it never will be. What you will go through will make you stronger than you thought possible. It will lead to you having a voice; a voice for all the children like you that can’t speak. It is said that you are only given the life tests you can handle, so hang in there, little one, because despite what may seem like insurmountable odds, above all, you are a survivor.
Know that how you feel now will not be permanent. Nothing is permanent. Feelings change. People change. There’s a healing journey you will take, and although it will be an uphill battle, you will begin to climb and grow with each step. You will find your voice, and you will use it however you can, to reach and help others. You will fight for things you believe in. Most importantly, you will be heard, truly heard.
So hang in there little one. Stay strong and show courage. Know that regardless of all that will happen, one day you will allow yourself to feel, and to heal. You’ve got this. I love you.