Dear Younger Me

Hey friends! It’s been a while, hasn’t it? I’ve spent the last few months working on this blog. Deleting, typing, deleting, typing. I wasn’t sure how much I wanted to divulge, so I took a break. The little girl is still reaching out for me. I can see her, plain as day, standing in the hallway of my school, with her arms reached out to me, begging for my help. So, I wrote a letter to her. In writing this, I hope that it helps illustrate that it’s OK to feel how you feel. And, it gets better. It always gets better, and you don’t have to put up with pain.

Dear younger me,

It’s OK. Not that you are being hurt both physically and emotionally, but that you feel the way you feel. Don’t try to cover it up or hide it from yourself or those who care about you. They are there to help you. Things will get better, I promise. I know it doesn’t seem like it now, but the pain you are going through, is going to help you in the future. Take a minute to breathe. Cry if you want to. It’s OK. You are allowed to feel hurt, betrayed, disgusted, and angry, shame, guilt—whatever you feel, don’t ever try to feel bad about it. These kids that tell you that you are worthless, ugly, disgusting, a piece of garbage, wasted space are lies. Happy people don’t hurt other people. So, when they are hurting you, they are themselves hurting. No, that doesn’t make it OK and, no, it doesn’t mean that’s an excuse. And it certainly doesn’t mean that you don’t have the right to feel sad. You had books thrown at your head. Your face shoved in a snow bank. Uninvited to a lot of things. Beat up. Shoved out of the bus. Had your crutches tampered with so when you went down the flight of stairs, they broke and you fell. You were stabbed in the knee and had blood running down your leg and YOU were blamed for it. You had to clean it up yourself, in front of the whole class. All while trying to hold back tears or not show pain, because you promised yourself you would never let them see you cry. You were so strong. I know you think you were weak back then, but my goodness…you were such a strong girl. You never asked for anyone’s help. YOU got YOURSELF through it. I don’t know how you did it, to be honest. How you could go through that pain at school, and yet still go home and pretend like nothing happened? I really love that you turned to music as your escape. You created a world of your own, where you did have friends, and you had people to help you. You wrote your own music. You couldn’t wait to get home from school to listen to music and write more. I am so proud of you. You never turned to anger to get back at those kids. I know for many years, you thought you should have stood up for yourself more, but you got through it with grace. I am so sorry it took me so long to realize that. Maybe I wouldn’t have developed anxiety, or fallen for the wrong guys. Maybe I wouldn’t have allowed myself to get used, hurt, betrayed, lied to, and cheated on, later on in life. But you know what? It’s OK. I am sorry I abandoned you and never dealt with my pain until now. I am sorry I not only let others bully me in my adulthood, but that I bullied myself. “I’m not good enough to follow my dreams. I don’t deserve that. Someone else is better at it than I am.” But, I still chased them and realized that I am better than that. I chased something for years that wasn’t right for me—something that I wanted, but realized I was better than it. But, together we did it and we fought the odds, didn’t care about the naysayers. Little girl, you and I are fighters. We may get overwhelmed at times, scared, thinking there’s no way we can handle this—but we do. Every time. We survive and come out stronger than ever. We don’t settle anymore. When someone bullies, excludes, talks down to us, disrespects us—we fight back. Not with words, but with our faith. We know that we can’t have that in our lives anymore, we deserve better. I am going to surround you with positive, uplifting and encouraging people who will honor you, not shame you or make you feel bad for being who you are. If someone loves you, they will love everything about you and will never speak a bad word about you or other women. You deserve the world, because you fought so hard to be a part of it and make your mark on it. You will have friends and family who will betray you, bully you. But you have a voice now and you need to start using it. It’s time you put yourself first, even though it’s hard and uncomfortable to do, it’s necessary. You have to take care of yourself, no if’s, and’s or but’s about it. Love yourself. Give yourself some grace and most of all forgiveness. You didn’t deserve to be treated the way you were in school and after. There was nothing wrong with you then, and there’s nothing wrong with you now. You are you. Be proud of that. I know I am. If people can’t see your worth, then as cliché as it sounds—that’s their loss. I would rather you have one honest, loyal, honoring person in your life, than a hundred people who talk about you behind your back as though you are something that can be discarded when they are through with you. You once made a promise to yourself that you would stay true to yourself, your art and that you would rather be living in a run-down shack for the rest of your life, than to sell yourself short and live in a mansion. Stick to that. Don’t back down. You and I are a team, and I’m not letting you down anymore. I’m here for you and you have my support, forgiveness and undying love. From now on, I am going to build you up, and speak love. I’m here for you and you’re not going it alone anymore. We’re in this together. Xoxo.

-Aly

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