A Letter to Myself (and Maybe to You, Too)

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Dear little me,

You’re going to make it. I promise. What is happening is terrible and scary and painful, and I know you feel like you can’t talk to anyone about it, but I promise it will end. All of it will, even not being able to talk to people about it. You’re going to have some days that you feel like you won’t live through, but you will. He won’t kill you. They won’t kill you. You’re going to survive. You’re going to be incredibly resourceful and you’re going to figure out brilliant ways to stay safe and to stay away from him, and you’re going to keep yourself alive by locking those memories out and finding safety in your room. And that’s okay. You’re doing what you know. Little me, some day you’re going to feel safe again.

Little me, you’re going to blame yourself for what is happening. For each and every piece of it. You’re going to feel so much guilt that you are letting them do that to you. But let me tell you something: they are doing that to you, you aren’t doing a single thing wrong. They are horrible, evil, mean, terrible boys–that’s on them, not on you. You shouldn’t have to feel the need to protect yourself, but you are, and that’s incredible. That’s more than enough. You can let go of that guilt. And it’s okay if you don’t, too. You’re surviving, and that is amazing.

Sweet Bee, what he is doing is going to make you feel so ashamed. You have so many feelings about what is happening, but one of the biggest and scariest and worst is the complete humiliation over what he is doing. You’re still a good person, a whole person. You are still whole, even though I know that you feel halved, torn, dirty. You will feel that somehow you are doing something wrong that will turn you into something disgusting. You are feeling embarrassed about that boy touching your body like that, and you are going to spend years trying to hide your body to make up for it. He’s going to make you so scared to tell anyone for fear for your life, but you’re also not going to want to tell anyone for all the shame you feel. But oh, my little Bee, you are still whole; you will be whole on the other side of this. You are not a chewed-up piece of gum, you are not less of a person, you are not doing anything wrong.

Little me, thank you for surviving. Your resilience is what got us through, and I thank you for that. I also thank you for looking out for the other girls at church, and for taking them under your wing. You could have only looked out for yourself, but you chose to be selfless and to make sure that others were safe. That is incredible. Thank you.

I promise it will end. There are so many great things ahead of you. And you’re going to make it.

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