Welcome back to the last of my ongoing series where I give advice to my former self. For this final week, I saved what I felt would be the hardest for last. I’ll be speaking to my childhood self. My life as a child was not an easy one. Certainly not anywhere near as difficult as many other children have to endure but as I’ve learned on my journey, everyone has a story and mine was largely formed, for better or worse by my childhood.
I’m an adoptee who was placed in multiple foster homes prior to adoption at the age of two. My adoptive home was lacking nothing when it comes to necessities, food, shelter, comforts. However, it was crippled with dysfunction and neglect. This is what I would say to the little me, trying to cope in that environment or to any child who is facing a similar struggle.
First and most important
My sweet little girl… first off, I want you to know you are loved. Your life as a child is really hard and I know you feel all alone. I promise you that even though you aren’t told this, you are. Loved. There’s nothing you’ve done wrong that makes people not say it to you; it’s just really hard for them. You are loved for all of your smart, funny, spirited, happy, lovely self. Try hard not to believe the mean things people tell you about yourself. I know it’s hard to imagine NOT believing them and I know those things hurt but they are not true. It’s only because other people are so sad themselves that they say these things to you.
They just don’t have any happy words. It’s not your fault.
I know you like to hide and you’re so clever to find so many places to keep yourself safe. You spend so much time quiet and alone, creating beautiful, imaginative places where some day you can escape and be everything you want to be. Never stop doing that; your imagination is a delightful thing and it will take you places that are magnificent and exciting and new.
Remember, you are loved.
In your quiet moments
When you are in bed at night, surrounded by quiet, let that wonderful imagination take you away to places that make you happy… wherever they are. You’ll spend time in all those fantastic places one day and you will be SO joyful there. They will be better than even your can even dream.
Maybe too, sometimes in the quiet, think of all the things you want to say out loud to someone. Then when you’re awake try to share some of them with someone you feel safe with; you know who. Even just start with one little thing. One thing you want to share, that makes you sad or feel scared. And then try to talk about it; just take your time. They’ll listen. It’s ok to talk about what is scaring you with someone safe; you’ll feel better after. Promise.
I know it seems like your life as a child will never end but will and you will grow. One day you will be stronger than you ever imagined, and you’ll know how brave you have been your whole life, including now.
And finally, remember, you are loved.
Miss a week?
If you missed them, you can read all of my “Wish I’d have known” posts by clicking on the links below: