Sunday, April 17, 2016

A letter to the six year old me

Dear little girl in the light blue sweater,

Today is yours. This is the day you've been waiting for for oh, so long. Today is the day your voice will be heard. In a few short hours, you and I will watch him as he stands before a judge and pleads guilty to hurting us. We will sit, together, in the witness box and confront him. We will then get to watch the judge sentence him. Oh, how I know you've so often thought about doing this very thing. I'm so happy for you that this day is here. But before all of that happens, there are a few things I need to tell you.

First, I'm sorry this happened to you. It wasn't your fault. You did nothing wrong, you could not have stopped it, and you did not deserve it. I know it will take a while for that to completely sink in, because it took way too long for those words to be spoken to you. Many people failed you over the years. People who should have loved you and protected you did neither. You started to believe a lie. But dear child, know that the words I tell you now are true.

Your childhood was ripped from you without warning. Children are supposed to grow up feeling loved and protected, and yet you did not feel safe in your own backyard. I'm so sorry. You are precious, and you are worthy. You should not have had your innocence taken from you. There is no way to give back to you what was stolen, nothing will ever make amends. Someone else chose a life-path for you that no one would ever choose for herself. Yet you have lived it.  No. You have not just lived it, you have survived, and you have conquered it.

You have taught me a great deal, little one. You amaze me. At such a young and tender age, the measure of your strength and tenacity was incredible. You had the courage to resist a monster even though there was no way for you to win. You had the forethought to develop a strategy of survival, more than that, you prevented yourself from being injured again. I know you were scared. I am too. But that, dear child, is the definition of courage. You were scared and managed to face down a monster anyway. Oh, I know you think that you were just running away, but I know the truth. The truth is you were trying to run to safety, even though that safety was merely an illusion. Again, that was not your fault.

I am proud of you. In the ugliness that was your world, you found beauty in little things. You found God. Sometimes I wish we could go back and do things over for you. I wish you had known a life without pain, without fear, a life where you felt cherished and wanted. But in your heart, you always knew there was something more out there. You somehow knew that what you were being taught as "truth" was actually a lie. I don't know how, but you managed to hold on to hope until we could break free of the lie. Thank you for that. 

Today will be completely different for you. Today we will sit in the courtroom, together, and confront the bastard who tried to kill us. But don't worry, you don't have to be afraid. You don't have to run away today. All you have to do is sit, and let me hold you, as I tell your story. He can't hurt us anymore. I will be your voice, your advocate. I will protect and love you today, the way your should have been protected and loved many, many years ago. 

There are many people in our life now, safe people who have shown us what it truly means to be loved. They have been with us through all of the ups and downs of this journey. Some of them will even be there with us today, friends who are angry FOR us, who find you too valued to be abused as you were. Listen to them, let them love you. Let them continue to replace the lies you were told with the truth. Today, may you feel just, that you are no longer powerless and mute. May you feel bold, brave, and beautiful. 

Know that I love you. Know that I know you will still feel pain from time to time. I know that you will always have to live with the memories he planted in your mind. But also know that together we have already healed a great deal. We use our experiences to help others in pain. We have found peace and joy. We have been redeemed.

Today, dear me, we win. 

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