This is the start of a series of letters I am writing to the girl I was. She is a survivor of overlapping trauma that went on for years and had no words to describe the horror of it.
I’m posting some of these letters here in the hope that someone will benefit.
Dear Hidden One,
Where are you? Did you melt into the rail that ringed the courtyard, cold as ice, cold as death?
Are you woven into the cloth of the old bathrobe you refused to take off for days?
I used to be you. I don’t remember it well. I know that remembering it will hurt unbearably, and I’m just not ready for it.
You are still on that cursed road where we chose to give up everything. You are in the orange walls streaked with gold, memories turned sour. I know you walked a well worn path down the road that was our whole world. You tried to run. You never succeeded.
You tried to tell. The silence forbade you from talking.
You changed and changed and changed. When you were with friends, you were laughing, bubbly, witty, social. Until you weren’t anymore. You were little and you were scared and you were hurting. And then you were ice and nothing could touch you. And all the while the voice raged in your head.
You were so ridiculously starved for affection that you began curling your fingers tight around the hands of the nurses who drew your blood, the beautician who waxed your arms, a newborn reflex, just to have contact. You were ashamed. You couldn’t work out why your hands had a mind of their own, and would clutch onto others’ involuntarily.
Dear hidden one, I am truly sorry.
I’m sorry because the despair of those years opens like a wound and you don’t know why.
I’m sorry I was you, so I couldn’t help you.Published in