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, seen, innocent, 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.
I love you now and forever.
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.