Dear Younger Self,
I know it’s supposed to be the holly jolly season, but you’re not feeling it. You are still thinking about Stephen, aka the Misogynist, Monster, Cruelty Incarnate, or the Total Prick, depending on your mood. As much as you trust E., talking about him in therapy sends you to bed with crushing shame pressing down on your chest.
Back when this first happened, you were a single mom, financially strapped, and in the midst of a move to a new city where you didn’t know anyone. You didn’t have the time or resources to stop and take care of yourself. You just kept powering on, determined to take the best possible care of those little guys. I know that was your priority back then. But it meant you never had an opportunity to do any healing.
So I am rounding up the inhabitants of our emotional house to tell you what love and support we would have given you back then, if we’d been able to. I’ll bring Compassion, Authenticity, the Nurse and maybe a few others if they have something to offer.
We know that the well-being of those little boys is your biggest worry. Therefore the first thing we want to give you is Miracle Nanny. She is brilliant, amusing, energetic and endlessly patient. The boys love her. She can take care of them for hours or even days at a time, but she’ll bring them back to you in a second if you want. Or if they want. She will meet their needs without stealing away their love for you. Take a breath and relax, because they are fine.
Next we want to take you to a healing place. I was thinking we might take inspiration from the waterfall we visited in the Amazon rainforest. Its remote location, the cascading water, and the pool of water below all offer safety and peace. Since this is our imagination, we can get ride of the mosquitoes but keep the green parrots and the blue morpho butterflies. Let’s make the pool a little larger and the rocks on the bottom a little smoother. In this pool you can float on your back and look up at the sky. You can soak and wash when you feel like it. You can lie on a rock and dry out in the sun when you want. And we’ll bring you a soothing salve made from plants in the forest; you can rub that salve into your sore body.
At first, we will focus on your immediate needs for rest, quiet, and safety.You’ll know that the jaguars of the rainforest are there for you to keep the demons and oblivious idiots away.The birds provide the music, and at sunset, they are joined by the monkeys.During the day, you can take walks or swim. At night you will sleep peacefully in a hammock that will swing slightly when you shift your weight. Your children can visit whenever you want.
Eventually, we want to surround you with a community of women who can understand your experience. it might be too much at first. They will be in a circle, talking, laughing and crying among themselves. You can just approach to listen and observe if you like. You can join when you are ready. You can bring the wounded child with you–or not.
The most important thing is that you have the control to decide what to do with your days. You can stay in this healing place for days, for weeks, for as long as you like. You can determine the pace. It’s up to you, and you’ll be able to decide because at the core, your intuition is still there. It’s been damaged and denied, but it’s there.
There will be more to come, but no rush.
With love from your older, wiser self