dear younger me




I have so much to say to you that I honestly have no idea what to say. I know you have blamed yourself for many years. I know that you have been looking for a solution, for a way out of your pain and suffering. I want you to know that I have found a way out, and all it requires is the truth: saying it and believing it.

For so many years I thought you were bad. You were punished for so many things, you made mother so unhappy; it just made sense that you would deserve to be treated like this because you were bad. First and foremost, I want you to know that no person, any person, good or bad, deserves to be abused in any way, especially in the way that you were abused. I want you to know that just because your family was sick it does not dismiss the pain they inflicted on you. Sick or well, they are responsible for their actions, and under no circumstances is it acceptable to abuse another human being.

You have been through such pain by the hands of other people. I myself have put you through pain. This is my sincere apology for the pain that I have caused. Please know that I didn’t know better. I did not know that what I was doing was hurting you just as much as you have been hurt by others. I truly thought that you deserved the pain. I thought your body’s purpose was to be a punching bag for other people’s rage. I thought your body was meant for other people’s pleasure. I did not think you deserved your body to be your own: I did not think your body was worthy of anything good. Pain was all I knew and I thought it was all that I was supposed to know.

Years ago people started telling me that I didn’t deserve the abuse I was handed in my teenage years, and I don’t deserve the punishment I was doing to myself now. I didn’t believe these people. I thought that you were a shameful, dirty, disgusting excuse for a human and deserved all things bad. I slowly was starting to accept that the present me might not deserve bad things; that I might have actually earned some “good points” for life. With turning my mind to believe this; however, I still believed the younger me, that you, were disgusting. I understood that I can be a good person now, but I still believed that I was a bad person then: it is the only way to explain why I was abused. Except of course the truth: that my family was sick and did not know how to appropriately manage them. They took their illnesses and their defects out on me: I was not abused because of my defects.

I will keep going back to the assignment I did in treatment. The assignment truly turned my mind to think differently about my body. I never thought it was something of mine for me to have and take ownership for. Once I realized this, I learned and accepted that taking ownership of my body means taking care of my body; nourishing it, respecting it, and not hurting it. Something in me just shifted. Days after completing and sharing this story depression settled in. That night was rough. I was so low and all I wanted to do was self-injure. Then I realized that self-injuring would only increase my pain as it would cause guilt and shame to creep in. I told myself that I was feeling sad and feeling sad was okay. I told myself that the pain will pass and I didn’t need to cause suffering because of this pain. I told my therapist the next day that I just sort of thought about it: why would I punish myself for feeling low. I explained that I knew I had high energy levels for a few days prior to the low, and I just needed to tell myself that the low would pass to. After telling my therapist that I didn’t think it warranted hurting myself because in all honesty, I don’t deserve to be hurt, she asked me who was talking because she could not believe it was me. Over the last couple of weeks, I have come to the conclusion that I need to eat to nourish my body. I have learned to separate my emotions from my eating habits. I have learned that I am allowed to feel emotions; that there are not good or bad emotions, and all emotions pass. I have learned that I give my emotions full range to control me; I can try to unsuccessfully control my emotions; or I can manage them as they come with the DBT skills I have learned, acknowledge them, validate them, and move past them.

I am telling you this because I want you to know during this trial of discovering a new way to live, I have learned that it includes having all parts of me know that we are a good person, we deserve good things, we did not deserve the abuse from our past, and together we can have a great future. I am telling you this because I want to make amends: I want to apologize for my actions:

I am sorry I treated you like trash. I am sorry that I worked so hard at bringing you down and did not try to ever pick you up. I am sorry that others abused you. I am sorry that you were an easy target for them. I am sorry that they thought it was appropriate to hurt you the way that they did. I am sorry that you were neglected. I am sorry that not only were your needs not met, but other people dropped their needs onto you. I am sorry I never gave you a chance. I am sorry I believed the lies. I am truly sorry that I became friends, best friends with my lower power. I am sorry I did not realize sooner that his mission was to destroy us. I sorry I let my lower power separate me so much from you. My lower power threw that wedge between us and did everything in his power to enlarge it. I am sorry I believed his words: they were truly said to me with the sweetest melody: truly a pile of shit disguised as a chocolate cake. I don’t like cake. I never ate it but I thought it looked pretty. It was not until others started taking pieces of it and showing it to me that I realized what it was. I am so truly sorry that I thought his suggestions were what was best for me. I honestly believed that the only way to happiness was punishing you for all the things that were wrong. You did not deserve to be punished, the wrongdoing that were done to us was not your fault.

I know this is hard for you to believe, because it took me years to believe it too, and I know it’s hard to trust someone who has hurt you over the years: You are deserving of good things and worthy of a beautiful, meaningful life. You did not deserve the abuse, the dark days that you went through. You deserve more than self-punishment for the rest of your life. You deserve to enjoy the beauty that this world has to offer. You deserve not to suffer. You are a strong, beautiful young lady with a hell of a lot resilience. 

This is my “please forgive me” plea. This is “I plan to make it up to you, to better from now on” promise. I will honestly tell you that I do not think this means that we are destined for rainbows and sunshine for the rest of our days. The will be dark days ahead; this I can certainly promise you. I can guarantee that there will be bumps in the road and slips in our future, but I can tell you that I am prepared for them. I have an emergency kit of skills that I am willing to use at any moment. I know that I have had these skills for a while now. I know you are probably skeptical of my words and commitment to use these skills because of my actions, or lack of actions, to use these skills in the past. Please know though, that I was not dedicated to us in the past because I did not think that we deserved the goodness of recovery. Today, part of me still believes this, but more than this I believe in a Higher Power that is all loving and all nurturing. I believe that disease is manmade and is exacerbated by our lower powers. I believe without or with disease our Higher Power does not mean or intend for us to suffer. I believe our Higher Power loves us and cares for us and if I am worth of his love, I am worthy enough to love myself, and to love you. Because I know and truly believe what we are worthy of, I am dedicated to ensure that we receive it. I am dedicated to creating a meaningful life that honors both our bright and dark days. What happened to us will always be the truth, but all the things I ever thought of us only becomes the truth if I let. I am dedicated to living our truth, for seeing and soaking in our true colors. A picture represents a thousand words; our life’s play out like a movie, a motion picture. I am encouraging you to watch this scene. I know the beginning of the film was dark and scary, and I know there are a lot of rocky times between then and now. I can’t promise you what our future holds, only our Higher Power can do that, but I can promise you that my head is out of the dark clouds, and while my feet are planted on this ground I promise to collect all the armor I can find to prepare us for our next battle. I also promise to make the most of the time we have here; to love us, respect us, care for us, and treasure us. Although I cannot promise what the future will hold, know that I am optimistic about it. Although I cannot promise what the future will hold I can tell you that I will stand by you and not against you.

I know it’s hard to believe me, to trust me at all. My actions will speak volumes to my words. You are forgiven for the things that were done to you, out of your control and my only hope is that you can forgive me and believe the truth someday.

With honest sincerity, love and respect,

Tee

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