Tuesday, November 12, 2013

No Shame November: A letter to my 20 yr old self

A reader's submission for No Shame November:

Dear 20 Year Old Self,

What do I say to you? You have been through hell. And you are so blocked off and alone inside that I’m not sure that you would be capable of hearing what I would want you to know. It sounds strange I guess but I am trying so hard to come back and help you. You see our hell has not ended yet. It continues inside of both of us.

We have taken that pain, terror, and desperation that we lived with for so long and locked it deep inside. Sometimes it breaks out and overwhelms us. So we try desperately to find comfort. But we end up hurting even more. You are eating and eating trying to feel okay. Guzzling down the booze to fit in and let go of the tension, the pain, and the anger. But it doesn’t really work does it? It's a kind of hell all on its own.

It feels inadequate for me to say “hang in there.” It is not enough to say “it get’s better.” Because I know where you are at. I know you are hurting. And when it hurts the future seems far away and life getting better feels impossible. You are in survival mode – just keep pushing, keep moving, keep going, and figure it out. Lock it down, shut it out, don’t think about it. You think because you are on your own now and a thousand miles away that it is all in the past. But in the dark of the night you know that’s not true. It’s still there.

So I guess what I would say is I love you. You didn’t deserve what happened to you and it wasn’t your fault. I wish you a few moments of relief. And I guess if that is what the food and the booze gave you then I understand. And I forgive you.

I will still say hang in there. And it’s going to be okay. it gets better. Because maybe those tiny, inadequate words were what gave us the strength to keep going.

And it is strength. Pure, hard-headed, grit your teeth, don’t think about it just do it determination. It is one of our strongest assets. It will pay off in the end.

You see I am out here too – your 35 year old self – living a better life because you survived and didn’t give up. We have a beautiful family and a sweet baby girl. And they have never known suffering like that. She will never be beaten. She will never be left alone. She will never go without food. We can protect her.

I wish you peace. And I love you.

Your 35-year-old self.

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