Child you are so incredibly strong. You have so much inside of you. Life is brutal. You will be a small plant in a dark basement for a long time. You will not have much light. Not much water. But you will fight. You will grow. You will do what you must to survive. You will contort and learn and scheme and create your own safety. You will grow into the person you need to be to survive.
One day you’ll look back at the twisted vine, the roots gripping cracks in the concrete, the leaves stretched painfully towards the light. You will see the form you molded yourself into to survive. You will question what you are in this shape and you will fear that your twisted vine is a sign of inadequacy, a sign you’re broken or damaged. But you made it out. Your first flower poking out of the crack in the basement window is your crown. You are a relentless, unstoppable, inexhaustible force chasing your way to the light.
I see you. I see who you are and what you can become. I see your pain. I see the agony. I see every tear you’ll shed and the darkness you’ll face. And I see the flower coming out of the basement. I will fight for you. I will be here for you and I will never leave you.
I won’t tell you that it won’t hurt. I won’t tell you that it won’t damn near kill you. But you can do it. And I’ll do it with you.
You are not alone. I am fighting for you starting today, and we are bigger than these pains that come and go. All your fear, all your shame, all your need to be loved, all your worries and loneliness, all your emptiness and uncertainty. Do not feel shame for these scars that life gave you in that basement.
They simply mean you were stronger than whatever tried to hurt you.
This letter was an exercise I wrote to the 7 year old version of me struggling with the death of my father. I’m learning that everyone has scars from the journey that got us here, but those scars do not define us. They are the price we paid for surviving. They are the reminder that we overcame hardships which made us who we are. So let’s reframe the scars, reframe the pain and the trust issues and the anxiety and the fear that we’ll get hurt again. They do not mean we are broken, they mean something tried to break us and failed. Clearly working on scars can help us enjoy life more, but having scars doesn’t make you worthless.
Further Reading: If this post resonated with you, I can’t recommend the workbook that prompted it enough: The Inner Child Workbook: What to Do with Your Past when it Just Won’t Go Away by Cathryn L. Taylor
That workbook really pulls your demons out of the dark and helps you banish them for good. It’s not easy work, but you can’t imagine how much more life can be when you put down the burden you’ve carried for so long.