A letter to my 11 year old self

Dear Laura

I wanted to reach out to you because I know you have been alone for a long time and I want you to know I am here for you. There are a number of things I love about you; your silliness, how much you care for people and your determination. I know these things have always got you through.

I know you adore mum and dad. You look up to them and depend on them for comfort and safety. Dad is strong and warm. His hugs feel so secure. Mum is incredibly loving. She encourages you to be creative and give your love to the world.

For a long while, you felt so at home with them, M (my sister) and L (my brother). Even when things were awful at school and people were being so cruel, you always had an anchor in this love of your family. You could close that front door and shut out everything that hurt you.

But that all shattered when mum found out. I know you feel her look like a searing pain in your chest; the horror and disgust. You’ve felt it for so many years to come. You can recall his humiliation and her utter horror as though it were yesterday. I still feel it too. I am shaking as I write this. Everything changed in that horrible moment. Suddenly you weren’t a child any more. Not to them. Not to yourself either. I wish I could tell you to still be young, to ignore all that filth and be innocent again. But I can’t. I can’t forget what he taught you back then.

But I really want you to know, for a fact, that it wasn’t your fault. He was your big brother. You wanted him to like you. He turned that on you, using you in a way that was so very unfair. You didn’t deserve to be treated like that. You were a beautiful, happy little girl who wanted to love and be loved in return. You were such a free spirit and he squashed you.

I know you were scared. You hated how it made you feel when he touched you, you hated remembering it afterwards and feeling disgusting. And you were so, so frightened of them finding out. I wish I could tell you it was wrong, when you were staring at the wallpaper waiting for it to end. I wish I could defend you when he forced you to do those things, when he made you feel so vile. I wish I could wrap you up in a blanket and take you away from all that.

When they found out, I know you felt like your world had ended. I can see you now, sitting on dad’s lap, feeling his strong arms around you, tears rolling down your face as you answered his questions. I wish I could have been there, holding your hand and telling you it was OK to admit what he had done.

It was so hard for you to keep recounting those details to police, social workers and counsellors. And it hurt you so much that your childhood was over. I know that hurt. I know how unfair it all was and how much you blamed yourself for all the pain caused. Especially to mum. It made you feel like a failure. Because you had failed at being their little girl.

All those years you were alone with this heavy, dark secret. You didn’t ever feel like you could tell anyone about it. You felt like nobody could hear that and still want to be near you. Even when you eventually fell in love, you didn’t tell her until you had permission.

I want you to know now, that a time will come when you have friends who know you, the real you, and still love you. And you will struggle, but not alone, because the love of your life will be alongside you, offering comfort and protection. You will feel safe and loved.

There will be times when you feel so desperate that you give up hope. I promise I will do my best to be with you then, most of all, to hold your hand and help you draw the strength you need to carry on.


3 Comments Add yours

  1. Oh Laura that’s beautiful; and if I may can I say how hard you’re working for that little girl. Who has grown to be a courageous, gifted woman. All my love xxx (I’ll add a clear link to your letter at the end of my post.)

    Liked by 1 person

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