I am sorry.
I never listened to you. I never even tried.
I made no effort to sustain you. Yet you kept on. When you were tired, I wouldn’t let you sleep. When you were hungry, I fed you Doritos and noodles. When you were lonely, I did destructive things to you. I suppressed you. I lied to you, and made you feel less than everyone else. But you kept on dreaming, and you kept on hoping, and somewhere, deep inside, you always knew that better things were in store. Let me back up a moment….
When you were very little, I loved you, and I let you know it. You were happy, and you were free in many ways, despite being in the midst of abusive, traumatic and terribly frightening situations sometimes. It’s what you knew, so you learned to cope, and thrive.
You loved to draw and paint and create, and I let you do it all the time. You loved school. You did so well- reading, math, every single thing, you wanted to do. From talent shows to science fairs, it made you all so happy and excited. You were a “Brownie” in the Scout program, and you loved to go to church. Wednesday night suppers and youth group meetings were a highlight of your week. You had so many friends and such an active imagination. You loved to play with dolls and you also loved to climb trees with the boys in the neighborhood.
Around adolescence, you had some truly horrible things happen to you, things that no child should ever have to go through, or be exposed to. And you went through it on your own. You were quiet, you didn’t receive any help. You processed things as best as you could for being a little person, and you internalized them-and in the storm that is adolescence, you changed. In many ways, the carefree happiness that had carried you through the storms of the first 10 or so years, died. The big people around you, through their silence and inability or unwillingness to help you, sent you the very loud and clear message that you were not worthy of help. You withdrew, lost your confidence, turned inward, and found increasingly unhealthy ways to soothe yourself. Cries for help that were ignored. I’m sorry I let this part of you die. But, I couldn’t help it. I didn’t know any better.
In your teen years, the difficulties continued. I neglected you. You were so tired and I wouldn’t put you to bed, I would keep you up all night. I would feed you sugar all day long, I don’t believe you saw a vegetable for at least six years. I stood idly by, as you mostly chose the wrong friends, and put yourself in harmful, precarious and dangerous situations, time after time. I didn’t know to tell you then, that because of the experiences of your early years, that that was why you were having such a difficult time with things now. You lacked a foundation, a father figure, and lived in fear-and a growing amount of anger -as you gained maturity, and started to understand that you were capable of so much more.
Throughout all of it, I marveled at your seeming resilience. You seemed to always know that everything was going to turn out alright, you never lost hope. And you were always a dreamer, and the cool thing about you is that you very much believed in your dreams. You didn’t have anyone telling you to do that! This is something that came from deep within. But, I noticed that you really didn’t seem to like yourself very much. I wish I could’ve told you then how special I think you are. How creative you are, and how the sensitivity and beauty of your heart is matched by few. It is transcendent, and you perhaps knew this in your heart, that God had indeed gifted you with this special heart, and maybe that’s why you kept on believing. I wish I could’ve told you that because of this special and sensitive heart, that you would be extra vulnerable to people who only sought to treat it poorly, due to their own insecurities, personal agendas, and unhealed traumas. You were a people pleaser, and didn’t use your voice to state your own needs, beliefs or desires. You were sweet on the outside, but seething with increased resentment underneath.
As you got older, because you lacked personal boundaries of safety, you became involved with young men who had only their selfish interests at heart. They loved how “sweet” you were-and how gullible you were. You learned a great deal during this time about just how much you would NOT tolerate in the name of “love”- and mercifully, came out mostly unscathed, but SO much wiser. You began to set boundaries, and put your heart first, understanding little glimpses of your own personal power, and remembering the fire that God put in your heart, to be used only by Him for good in this world. That YOU are good, made in His image, and worthy of respect and love. You prayed for a man to be put into your life who would also love God, and through the wise advice of new mentors-that you were to pray for one that would Cherish you…not love you as a second thought, not love you only if it fit their selfish agenda- and also, that they would not have an abusive bone in their body. With this new momentum that was slowly building, and the addition of really great people placed into your life straight from the Lord-you were transforming into a soul who would learn how to leave old patterns behind.
As so much began to change for you, via the Grace of God and through what would be the beginning of years of taxing, difficult, emotionally draining work, you also took control of your physical health for the first time in your life. You began to exercise, walking everyday, joining a gym, and would become a runner by your mid- twenties. As you and your very kind and supportive new hubby contemplated parenthood, you delved further into what it really meant to be the best “you” that you could be, the person that God wanted you to be, and you continued your learning on the importance of clearing of old patterns and education on how to build self-esteem, and at this time, you also learned about the tremendous connection between self-perception and our physical health.
When we consider autoimmune disease, for example, this notion that something is going haywire in the body, and that it’s healing reaction is a misdirected attack on the self, it would make sense that if we really don’t like ourselves fundamentally, and we have this negative self-talk feedback loop in our head that we are hearing all day long, that the body is going to respond accordingly. (You are not good enough! You are ugly. You are not as smart as that person! You are a failure…) How terrible and sad that we speak to ourselves this way! I had a wonderful counselor point out to me very early on, as I was working through much of the trauma from my childhood, that she would listen to me tell her how many things in my life that I blamed myself for, and I seemed to be very much unable to forgive myself. So she said, “think about this…if you are continually attacking yourself mentally, and feeling guilty and not being able to move past old mistakes, and then we consider what’s happening with your physical health, can you see a correlation?”
I was dealing with some issues with my thyroid, I had a nodule and an overall enlarged thyroid and some inflammatory markers were coming up on my blood work, but I didn’t really have a decent doctor at the time who was able to advise me on what to do, they just mainly wanted to take out my thyroid and put me on medicine forever, to which I said, no thanks! The thyroid is such an integral part of the endocrine system, and when we consider where it sits in the throat, at the voice box, it also makes sense that folks who have been through a lot of trauma in their lives involving suppression and repression and abuse would begin to harbor disease in that very area on their body- at the seat of their voice. I was taught as a young child to quiet my voice, do not speak up for myself, that my voice was not as importantly that of other folks…And that when I was abused, that I was to be quiet about it, and pretend it never happened. Hide it away, bury it in the back of the closet. These sorts of messages, when sent to a young person who is just trying to grow and form and find their place in the world- are incredibly damaging. So, I decided that I would be able to heal my physical problems by not just working on the physical, this had to be a whole body rebuilding- physically, emotionally, spiritually and mentally.
So, this brings me roughly into where we are at today, with me writing a letter to you, so that we will continue to heal. To tell you that I am sorry, but also to be able to forgive myself for neglecting you, because I was working from a deficit, and was being lied to by many in this world, many whom I trusted with my heart and soul. To acknowledge the forward momentum that our perseverance, courageousness, passion and excitement has fostered. To praise God for giving us the power and confidence to set healthy new patterns for ourself and our children. Once we understand why we struggle, where disease comes from, and how powerful our own voice is in bringing our dreams for health and happiness to fruition, or conversely, in crushing them by being our own worst enemy time and time again- we have the power to transform our lives. It is important that we forgive others for how they have hurt us, but it is most important that we forgive ourselves, because the body is listening to what the mind is saying. May this letter to myself bring about more healing and greater freedom, as I move closer to an understanding of who God wants me to be, and trusting Him more with each new day.
This is my prayer for all of you, dear readers. That we will not remain mired in the hurts of this world, but rather that we are able to do the hard work, and be able to find a way to keep a direct line between us and our God.
“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Romans 12:2, NIV
With love and hope,
The Mint Pixie