Tuesday, 4 May 2010

A letter for Little Elloa - In My Daughter's Eyes project

Dear Little Elloa,

You are twelve years old and you think there is something awfully wrong with you. You hate your smile, your body, and you wish you were like Poppy. You feel so unhappy and you carry so much shame. It is so scary for you to go home after school, not knowing what you'll find when you walk in the door - Mama Jekyll or Monster Hyde. You desperately want to be liked by your classmates, and you carry so many secrets and guilt and fear. You feel so alone.

I want you to know that you are not alone. In all of those moments when you feel so lost, misunderstood, and lonely, I want you to know that I am there with you, and that my love for you is so deep and wide and unchanging, and that nothing can threaten it. Each experience you are going through now will become part of the beautiful tapestry of your life, and one day you will grow up to become a gentle, loving, creative woman who dances and is in love and travels the world and knows God.

I want you to know that I see you. You are not invisible. You are not second best. You are beautiful, precious, seeninnocent, and utterly lovable. It is so hard for you to see right now, but everything you're going through is happening for a reason and one day you will see it differently.

You are beautiful, little Elloa. So much of the pain you carry doesn't belong to you, and yet for some reason it is with you right now. I want you to know that one day you will be free of it. You will have the opportunity to give it back to the people whose pain it is, to see the magnitude of the generational pain and to be a healer. You will come to understand your life from a place of Love, and you will not regret the things that feel so hurtful and so shameful right now.

You will have the opportunity to be angry, to scream the place down, to thump your fists on the ground and crumble in a heap in His arms. And it is completely okay. It's all completely and utterly okay. You will remember the Truth, and you will come to understand that all these things you believe about yourself are simply not true.

There is simply no truth in your greatest fears about who you are. The truth waits, undamaged and unchanged, for you to turn inward and accept it. A quiet, assured voice whispers gently to you, through the things you love, reminding you of who you really are, and watching over you when you forget. This is why you are safe, little Elloa. This is why I can promise you that everything will be okay. Some days the pain will be unbearable, and some days you will believe that you truly hate who you are. You will not understand how you came to be where you are, but you will find hope, and then you will nourish the hope you have found.

The things in your life that you love, too, little Elloa, are so important! Take joy in them, and let them comfort you. It is safe for you to be who you are and to like what you like. Sing your Take That songs at the top of your lungs! The world needs to hear the joy that they bring to you. There are people in the world who will delight in sharing all this with you one day - friends, sisters, even a beautiful man! You don't need to pretend to be somebody you're not, and it's okay to experiment, too. Read your books, write your diaries, audition for plays and sing your heart out. You can sing you know, Elloa. Your voice is lovely and you sing with sincerity and heart.

And your smile... your smile was given you to share with the world. It doesn't look like anyone else's smile, and that's exactly the point. God wasn't mistaken when He created you, little Elloa. You're not supposed to look like Kristy, or Oonagh, or Poppy, or any of those girls. You're supposed to look like you. You really do shine, and you really are beautiful, and you really are enough. These tiny, faint whispers you hear are telling you the truth. I know that you will have an ongoing life lesson around women, and that that is part of the reason you're here, but if I can say anything to you, it would be this:
Please, little Elloa, when you look in the mirror,
Say "I am beautiful and lovely and free to be me,
Just the way I am."

However hard it might become in the next weeks and months and years... when the sadness you feel engulfs you like a tidal wave... when the only outlet for your pain is in pain itself... when all feels lost... I will be there, a step ahead and right beside you, within and all around, gently guiding you towards the truth, gently showing you the beauty that is yours, gently loving you when you cannot love yourself.

So follow your heart, and turn to God, and as much as you can Elloa, trust yourself and learn the lesson that nobody can give you your worth. It is yours already. It is yours to claim.

I love you now and forever.

Elloa xx

I wrote this to myself one morning after an awkward conversation with Nige on the phone. Nothing actually happened, but my phone kept cutting out, and for those minutes while we conversed, I just felt.. wrong somehow. I was ill at ease, and I suspected there was something wrong with me, that I'd said the wrong thing, in the wrong tone of voice, and that things were somehow not okay anymore.

I logged on and read Holly Renee's blog, discovering In My Daughter's Eyes, a project with which I strongly resonate. I knew that my 12 year old self badly wanted to have a letter be written to her. I wrote, and I cried. I saw myself, in 1995, shy and scared... and innocent.

And now? And now I can see again, and I remember that I'm safe, I'm loved, and that I am whole and complete.

If you are a woman, or if there is a woman in your life who is so lovely but who perhaps doesn't quite see herself the way you see her... point her in the direction of Pink Moss. Or, just write your 12 year-old self a letter. You never know, there may be something that she really needs to hear that only you can say to her.


Kanwalful said...

That is so true... There are things that only you can tell the twelve year old you. That is probably one of the roughest times in a girl's life. And something she gets through on her own. So she needs to time travel, emotionally, and tell the little girl inside of her that things get better. As time goes on...

Shmonae said...

Thank you Elloa. Your letter was absolutely beautiful. I am becoming more and more passionate about my project every day. Women are being helped one by one, and I had no idea this would be the outcome. The stories of change already are breathtaking. Thanks for being you and sharing that with the world. Your letter will affect many for good...it as already affected me.

Izzie said...

Oh Ellie,

If only I'd been more welcoming and more understanding I could have told you how beautiful and special you were and are.

I want to share with you a hymn from Iona called Take This Moment:

Take this moment, sign and space;
take my friends around;
here among us make the place
where your love is found.

Take the time to call my name,
take the time to mend
who I am and what I've been,
all I've failed to tend.

Take the tiredness of my days,
take my past regret,
letting your forgiveness touch
all I can't forget.

Take the little child in me,
scared of growing old;
help her here to find her worth
made in Christ's own mould.

Take my talents, take my skills,
take what's yet to be;
let my life be yours, and yet,
let it still be me.

Elloa said...

Thank you for these words. I feel very moved to read them this evening.
It was all as it was meant to be. You were you, and that was enough.
Love, xxx

Elan said...

Thank you for sharing that story (On my comment), I know what that feels like to just want to get something off your chest. Like you, confrontation is a real challenge for me. I think it is for more people than would like to admit it. That is why emails and other impersonal communication is often used to say nasty things that people would NEVER be able to say to someone's face.

Shmonae said...

Elloa, just wanted you to know my daughter's name is Ella...both beautiful :)

Elloa said...

Thank you Janae... I love my name now! I met an Isabella last night who goes by the name of Bella. Beautiful! x