To my dearest self,
I know you’ve been hiding. I wasn’t taking care of you, nurturing you or even acknowledging your presence when you showed yourself. I don’t blame you. I was simply glad and happy in those moments I felt balanced and whole, when I felt free to crack silly jokes, believe in myself and could let go of insecurities and worry. Those times when I didn’t need the self parenting voice to tell me what to do next, what feelings were acceptable and which were not, and how to behave like a responsible person. You were in change in those moments but I didn’t even notice.
A lot of the time I was in survival mode, as my therapist calls it. A little confused child and a sensible but impartial inner voice or inner parent giving instructions, telling me what to do next. That is why I’ve been so confused when people tell me I’m strong, or fun, or anything adult at all. I didn’t notice that you existed – you are all those things, but I thought people were confusing taking one step after the next and simply carrying on with the necessities of life for strength, resilience and maturity. When they said I was fun to be with, I thought they were just lucky to have gotten one of my good days. They would soon understand that I don’t usually have that kind of energy.
But it was my actual self, you, that they were seeing. My neglected self, who for some reason still hasn’t jumped ship, although she could have given up a long time ago from lack of nourishment and care.
How is it that other people have been better at seeing you than I have – than you have yourself? Why is it that we have been focusing so much on the little confused child, sending her forth to feel all the feelings, to try and love, to try and fight adult fights, to stand up for you? You are much more capable than she is. All she needs is love and safety, and to be left to play.
You’re precious, complete; full of caring, bubbles of fun, deep feelings, empathy and compassion, and capable. You stand your ground, even if doing so is scary. You can be angry too, and short tempered and impatient. You have desires, and you’re quietly stubborn. You spread calm wherever you go, and are an excellent listener, even if you keep interrupting in every conversation you have. Finally I’m able to put the little, separate experiences I have of you together to one thing, one identity, me.
I wish I’d have been able to see you much earlier, to help you grow and find your rightful place. You will certainly be leading the way more and more from now on, and we will make sure nothing gets in your way doing that.
I’m sorry from the bottom of my heart for the long years of neglect. I promise to do my best not to let anything like that happen again.