All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.
Julian of Norwich
Child. Sweet girl.
This is going to be so hard. I wish I could tell you otherwise, but that would be a lie- and I will not lie to you, okay?
It is going to be hard for a very long time.
Someone was hurting you. Badly. You told, eventually.
You brave girl.
You did what you were supposed to do, as a child. Someone hurt you, and you told the adults whose sacred duty it was to protect you. Some rose to the occasion. Some, sadly, did not.
A lot of them are angry.
Their anger isn’t because you have done something wrong by telling. Their anger isn’t at you for being abused, even though it feels that way. It’s not even because they think you are lying.
Their anger is about them. Their anger is at having their comfort threatened by an inconvenient and ugly truth. Their anger is fear turned outward. Their anger is about being forced to confront the fact that they are adults who would rather throw a child to the wolves than disrupt their lives. Their hateful words are actually a reproach to themselves. They will now have to live with the knowledge that children have been, and will continue to be, hurt on their watch.
Every child hurt after you told is a stain on their souls, and they know it. Imagine living with that.
You are going to try different things to cope. You’ll eat. You’ll starve. You’ll stay up all night working on your make-up and hair- maybe if you LOOK okay, you’ll finally FEEL okay. You’ll drink too much. You’ll stay with people who treat you badly because that feels a lot like home to you. You’ll hurt people who are good to you because it feels like an affront to what you believe about yourself. You’ll not say NO when you want to because you’ve come to believe your NO is toothless. You’ll volunteer on every committee, say yes to every ask. You’ll try to be perfect, as though that’s even an option. You’ll exhaust yourself. You’ll exhaust others.
You are going to be okay.
You will use all of these things as anaesthesia to avoid the pain, but here is the thing about numbing agents- they dull all feeling. Not just the pain, my love. All of it. Joy and sorrow, peace and unrest. And when you feel nothing, floating away is easier. And you cannot float away.
The world needs you, darling. The world needed the little Daddy’s girl in the tutu, that little girl who worked up the courage to speak her truth. It will require the awkward, messy girl who is all elbows and knees and crooked teeth, who likes animals more than people. It will need the teenager who writes poems furtively in class. The world will hunger for the angry college girl who crashes around, trying to make sense of the fury she feels.
The world will need the impossibly young mother, startled out of her frozen reverie by the cry of a tiny boy who will teach her how to love, and how to BE loved.
The world will require her presence when her tidy life implodes, and she begins writing again because she quite simply does not know what else to do.
The world will need exactly you. The broken parts, too. Maybe especially those.
You are going to be okay, honey. I promise.
I know. It doesn’t seem possible. It doesn’t seem possible that you will ever live without that ache, without that mantle of shame. It doesn’t seem possible that all of those the heavy things are not actually part of you, but they’re not. You can lay them down anytime, sweetheart.
You are going to be okay.
Hang on. Both hands.