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 donned 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 seven, and the wonder, innocence and excitement in his very being as he discovered the world 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 bit more frightening. Imagine it as if you were always wearing sunglasses; you can see the light but it can’t quite reach you.
I haven’t ever given great thought to speaking to this inner child of mine and I really don’t know what I would say. Would I take the practical view and point out the obvious things like tell someone this time or don’t even try to trust adults; would I point out that spending that much time with older kids could be dangerous? That spending that amount of time hanging out in the park or on the street could lead to violations?
Would I be angry? Would I yell at my inner child for not doing something to make things stop; from my dad hitting my Mom to the boys and young men who violated me? Would I be mad that I never told my Mom as not to burden her because of what she was dealing with, or that no one noticed the behavioral changes? Would I tell myself to not let that anger internalize and to try and get it out in any way possible, because keeping it in will lead to a destruction of sense of self which may never be recovered?
Perhaps I would blame my little self; believing somehow that my silence just attracted more predators; that it must have been something I wore or the way I acted that allowed the abuse. Blame myself for not being brave or bold, or for seeking attention in the wrong manner from the wrong people. Blame myself for not having a sense of confidence or a voice to speak up with. Would I tell l tell myself to direct the blame where it is deserved; not only the perpetrators but all the people who failed to see the signs, or would I blame myself for not giving the right signs, or perhaps not enough signs.
I wonder if I would 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 is ok to be a kid and laugh and play and not take on adult responsibilities or that it is safe to trust some people and that not everyone would hurt me; That it was ok to believe that Santa was real without a sense of skepticism, or that what was happening to me was not happening to all the other children and that it was not normal. Would I say how important it is to remember the details of the good times because the darkness will eventually take over, losing not only memories but chunks of time.
After all these maybes and “would-bes”, I think I finally know what I would say:
Dear Little Me
Your life is going to have more curves than straight lines. It is going to be a rollercoaster ride that you will want to, and will repeatedly attempt to jump off. 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 and remember your body is just a vessel for your soul. That no matter what happens or what anyone says, none of it, 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 and that will eventually 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.