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#189036 - 10/28/07 10:47 PM To my inner 22-year-old
MemoryVault Offline

Registered: 03/01/07
Posts: 693
Loc: NJ
Hey, kid. (I'm allowed to call you that.)

You’re looking at me, hungry for answers. I probably don’t have that many. (Wow, this apartment is small! I’m sorry—I know it’s home.)

“Well,” you want to ask me, “what did you learn in all this time?”

Okay…short answer. Yes, you were abused. No, you don’t have your facts right yet. But your anger is real, and justified.

I just got back from a conference for sexual abuse survivors, kid—I heard a speech that blew me away. It talked about how abuse isn’t just about trauma.

Did you know that the families of children who were sexually abused within the family have exactly the same dysfunctions as those of children who are abused outside the family? It's the same distance, lack of closeness, lack of communication. Sound familiar? What this therapist was saying is that the important thing, even beyond the trauma, is all the stuff that isn’t there. It’s all the skills you DON’T learn that fuck up your life more than memories.

I thought of you. Oh, god, kid, I never realized what a hero you were. I mean, you’re teaching yourself all the basics. You’re trying out loving conversations with people you’re getting close to, and you’ve never seen one before! You’re trying to offer support and praise to people you care about, and you’ve never heard it done. You’re guessing at cooking, ironing a shirt, what people do in an office. And you know it—I can see it in your face. You’re smart as hell, but you know almost nothing that didn’t come out of a book or your own mind.

You have no idea that you’re beautiful. You have no idea what love is when it isn’t wrapped up in pain. When that idiot dumped you outside that movie when you got teary because it was about abandoned kids, and told you you were “too vulnerable,” you didn’t know that you’d fall in love with him because he’d hurt you. But you work at love anyway, and slowly get better. You’re starting to let people hug you and not freeze up.

You think you’re just barely acceptable at the bars and clubs. (That is such crap, but your shyness is your armor and protection.) You try to dress up, not knowing how to shop or what to wear. You try to flirt. And you have no idea where you fit in the world. You’re terrified when someone falls for you. You don’t know who you can trust, so you half-trust everyone. On a scale of one to ten in intimacy, you put everyone at a 5. People are amazed by how much you open up when they first meet you, and then they hit the wall and never get in any farther. And that’s because nobody ever taught you how to decide who gets in.

Kid, no wonder you’re confused. You’re teaching yourself how to exist! Someone should have walked you through all this stuff…these lessons should have been part of your life from the day you were born.

Finally, I wanted to say thank you. Everything I’ve learned, I learned from your trials and errors. Every mistake that hurt you is one that I’ve learned to avoid. Every time you hoped against hope and trusted, and it worked out, I learned a sense of safety.

I love you. It gets better, believe me.

Edited by MemoryVault (10/28/07 10:48 PM)

#189038 - 10/28/07 10:54 PM Re: To my inner 22-year-old [Re: MemoryVault]
dgoods Offline

Registered: 10/15/07
Posts: 622
Loc: Richmond area
"People are amazed by how much you open up when they first meet you, and then they hit the wall and never get in any farther."

Ding-ding! that's me...
Thanks for posting.

Give sorrow words: the grief that does not speak
Whispers the o'er-fraught heart and bids it break.

-William Shakespeare, Macbeth, Act IV, Sc. III

#189039 - 10/28/07 10:58 PM Re: To my inner 22-year-old [Re: dgoods]
knifael Offline
New Here

Registered: 10/28/07
Posts: 11
i dont know what to expect, but i hope in time i can say the same to myself.

thank you for posting.

#189040 - 10/28/07 11:01 PM Re: To my inner 22-year-old [Re: MemoryVault]
TJ jeff Offline


Registered: 08/07/04
Posts: 3531
Loc: Northern Wisconsin
all I can say is Thank You for sharing - a part of me needed to read this so very much

Who will cry for the little boy? - I will... - Antwone Fisher

Abuse happens in silence/isolation - Recovery happens only when that silence/isolation is broken...

TJ's History

#189048 - 10/28/07 11:38 PM Re: To my inner 22-year-old [Re: TJ jeff]
Paul1959 Offline

Registered: 05/17/06
Posts: 525
Loc: NYC
Memory Vault
GREAT letter. Isn't it great to start loving ourselves?
That was one hell of a speech we heard, wasn't it? Sorry we didn't get more time at the conference. Just too fast, too busy, too much sometimes.

#189053 - 10/29/07 06:25 AM Re: To my inner 22-year-old [Re: Paul1959]
sabata Offline

Registered: 08/08/06
Posts: 1950
great-saids so much-------------there is a lot of me in this-----------------------steve

#189054 - 10/29/07 06:52 AM Re: To my inner 22-year-old [Re: sabata]
River Offline

Registered: 10/23/07
Posts: 114
Loc: Nashville,Tennessee
Awesome post. Thanks.


#189060 - 10/29/07 08:59 AM Re: To my inner 22-year-old [Re: River]
Hauser Offline

Registered: 11/12/05
Posts: 2963
Loc: United States
Thank you for writing this.

Did you...............have a really bad family/family structure when you were growing up David? I didn't know you were so totally on your own. I may have confused your story for someone else's though.

Did you write your survivor's story David? If so, could you link it to me please?

#189276 - 10/30/07 05:36 PM Re: To my inner 22-year-old [Re: Hauser]
roadrunner Offline
Administrator Emeritus

Registered: 05/02/05
Posts: 22045
Loc: Carlisle, PA

Thanks for this very cool letter and for sharing how the conference helped you. It was great to meet you and I wish we had had more time together. Next time! \:\)

Much love,

Nobody living can ever stop me
As I go walking my freedom highway.
Nobody living can make me turn back:
This land was made for you and me.
(Woody Guthrie)

#189288 - 10/30/07 07:05 PM Re: To my inner 22-year-old [Re: roadrunner]
tartugas Offline

Board Member

Registered: 02/11/07
Posts: 513
Loc: NYC

Thank you so much for sharing this truly magnificent letter. I have tears in my eyes at the coffee shop I'm sitting in. I couldn't have written a better letter myself. Do you mind if I share it with my little guy? I swear you've said everything I've wanted to tell him.

It was a joy to meet you this weekend. Anytime you need to reach out, I'm here for you brother.

"I am not a mechanism, an assembly of various sections.
And it is not because the mechanism is working wrongly, that I am ill.
I am ill because of wounds to the soul, to the deep emotional self...."
Healing D.H. Lawrence

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