A Love Letter That Heals

Author’s note: A love letter to my 21 year old self, in which I comfort my past self during the darkest time in her life, encouraging and foretelling her of what’s to come. It’s a personal and vulnerable writing piece where a poetic tone is taken to empower and romance my younger self. As self-involved it may sound, I would have given anything to have even a fourth of what I have now.

I know things aren’t easy for you right now. You’ve been through so much with having been taken advantage of by people you trusted.

You feel broken, so broken and isolated that you need to work on yourself before you even think about trusting anyone ever again. Where trust should be, fear makes its home.

This is one of the worse winters in Chicago and it’s horrible. It only makes things ten times worse. Your mood matches the weather often. It’s even a miracle that you could even just get out of bed to face the world that hurt you. By the end of each day, you fear going to bed, having to be alone with your thoughts, reliving your own hell. You lie in bed wondering how to get back the life you used to have, to go back to being happy, to a time where depression was just an acquaintance and not a friend.

And I’m here to tell you that:

This is your new normal now.

You won’t go back to being how you used to.

I’m sorry to say, but what you’ve gone through is not something you can easily come back from. This is how people react to trauma, to abuse. And because this is your new normal, you’ll have to adjust to life as a rape survivor. I’m going to tell you what you’ll hear later on from people who care about you: this is not your fault. You’re not broken or dirty because of what happened even if you may feel that way. You didn’t deserve what happened to you and fuck anyone that says otherwise. Fuck anyone that doesn’t hold your abusers accountable.

They’re not apart of your healing, they have no interest in it. Like boulders tied to your feet, they only hold you back from where you need to be. They take care of themselves and go. You’re free. You’re free to find yourself.

You’re going to change for the better. You’re not on this journey alone for much longer. Don’t worry. This will pass.

But I won’t lie to you and say the path to healing is easy. It’s not.

Much like in the way winter passes, before you can get to the flowers and green grass, you have to get through the rough and the dirt. The road is not paved with ease for you.

There’s crying every night, anger at yourself and the world — At the men that hurt you. It’s like you’re grieving for a part of you that died. A traumatic experience like this feels like being near death itself, but death never comes.

You break down suddenly when a rape scene hits you out of nowhere while watching The Walking Dead. This never happened before, but a whirlwind of emotions hit you. Your brother comforts you and says, “Don’t worry, he didn’t get raped.” And all you could do is cry because you didn’t want to say, “But I did”. I’m sorry, it takes awhile before you grow desensitized to that again.

There isn’t going to a knight at the end of your story that saves you. The one you want won’t be there for you and that’s okay. You don’t need knights or heroes in your story as long as you’re the one wearing the cape by the end of the day. You got this. You’re extraordinary and with how much fire you have, you won’t stay mourning for long. Your best friend, he’ll tell you while you’re crying like the world has ended for the one hundredth time, “You’re crying now, but like always, anger will follow”. You’ll demand for the world to burn and rise like a phoenix not just for you, but for women and children too. And when it refuses to, you’ll make it listen. You’re going to do great things later on, it’s no exaggeration.

Other women start to see you as a safe space, someone they can be vulnerable around and you’ll know just what to say in those situations. You’ll grow so protective of women like you, women who like you, children who see you like another mother or friend.

You’ll meet amazing and beautiful people who understand you, and want what’s best for you. They want you to be happy and they’re willing to help you in any way to make sure of that. Your best friend is someone new and you’ll meet him before your next birthday. He always steers you in the right direction and watches over you. He’s the southern lion to your northern star. He’s your guardian and he’s fierce in the way he protects you. He feels like home.

You also end up falling in love later on. He’s amazing in every way. He becomes the king of your heart, prince of your palace. He’s not someone you’ll expect. The way you two meet is actually kind of funny and unconventional, but when has anything in your life ever been conventional? He was always close to you, but you never get close till years later, where he’s suddenly across the country from you. The fucking irony is almost laughable. When you hold him, you’re going to realize you’ve never looked at anything with so much love. Flights and packages become frequent parts of your life. Flying is bittersweet. You’ll feel heartbroken when one of you leaves, but your heart is filled to the brim with love every time you reunite.

I’m telling you this because there’s hope. There’s always a glimmer of light no matter how small. You know this and that’s why you’ve clawed your way out whenever you were buried in your nightmares, drowned out by your pain, kept clawing in the dark till you found light. You didn’t turn as cold as the winters at home. Instead, you turn as strong as steel, and you grow passionate and unapologetic as the fire that forged it.

I’m going to the beach before the end of this summer with a group of friends you’ll meet later on. After this summer ends, I’m moving onto making a difference in other peoples’ lives or so everyone says. You’ll love where you end up, just keep going.

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