Dear Little J,
You live a normal, comfortable, and happy life. Most people wouldn't consider how much you've done to get here and how deserving you are of recognition of it. Society is always about more, what's next and how you measure up so "normal" doesn't ring praises. You don't care about anything that isn't authentic to you. I understand why you don't chase for more than a happy existence when you have suffered and just want a peaceful life. I wanted you to know I see you and celebrate you.
How did you know to do what you did? You were just a little kid.
When they wouldn't leave nor defend you, you kept yourself safe. You knew the words to use to try to avoid anger. You knew how to walk softly and go unnoticed.
When you knew you're the only one supporting you, there was always a plan. There were educational outlets to be home just in time for bed and less time around your abuser. You knew how to exploit your intelligence for these opportunities that might one day be the reasons you could leave.
When they played games, you played as best you can. Even when the rules changed and you "lost", it was never your fault. Rules became harder only because you are that good at making things work for you and avoiding their emotional traps.
When you experienced abuse, you knew to find a little island in your mind to keep sane. Picture white sands running through your feet. Warm sunlight shining on you. The sounding crash of waves and the slow roll when nature takes it back. Breathe in. It doesn't hurt. Look at the blue water. Breathe out. You're ok. The water will keep you safe.
When people didn't believe you, you had a love for them they didn't deserve. I watched you be there for others. I can be angry for you so that the level of anger that matched their swords won't turn the goodness you protected.
When you had to run away, you were more hurt to hurt others. Your concern for others is beautiful, I wish people considered what a gift you are.
When people didn't shelter you, you created one. People locked their doors yet you still didn't lock your heart out. It didn't matter if you were on the streets, you were home wherever you are. You made the best of everything when most would give up.
When people saw you as a social pariah, you knew homelessness wasn't a character trait and fought to be seen as a person. I would have given up little bird, but you wanted to soar even with clipped wings.
When all you can get was a dead-end job, you saw opportunity anyways. Little teen working four jobs saving up to make yourself secure. You didn't care. You shined up your shoes with pride in a mall bathroom and took showers with a YMCA membership to get ready for your 18-hour workday. You slept in that car for months and still counted your blessings.
When men thought you were young and dumb, you dodged and showed them. I'm proud of the ways you took the hard road when offered shady deals. You stick to your convictions in ways most won't.
When that man got you at your most vulnerable, you never centered what he did as your fault. You already knew at 17, that your worth as a woman and a person isn't based on the ways others defile you. No one can take the shine.
When you fell in love you did the bigger thing to work on yourself. I'm proud trauma isn't the framing of how you live. You didn't want your partner to have to excuse difficulties because your shortcomings came from trauma. You knew you deserve to truly leave abuse by removing the threads embroidered into your spirit.
When you went to therapy, not only did you end your trauma but you stopped the generational curses. Everything that was normalized but wasn't okay, you worked on. I saw you start a new family; one centered on love, giving, and communication. I witnessed you create boundaries and stick them. I heard you speak your feelings, unafraid of being you.
When people think you aren't enough with their ideas of what you should be, I've seen you be unaffected because you are certain of your path. Your job is odd and not a "fancy" title, but you're successful and happy anyways. People think you need to go to college, you're sure of how the world is your classroom. You are not burdened by others' expectations and it's so refreshing to see someone be unapologetically themselves.
You're thriving. You're purposefully living than going through the motions. I love hearing about your dreams and plans because I believe in your ability to make them come to fruition. You've already done a lot of impossible things.
Your life may be normal because you wanted it to be, but you are extraordinary.
In your corner always,