To the woman who disappeared the moment I grew up...
In episode 3 of the Embrace Yourself podcast, I talk about writing letters as a way to work through feeling like a victim. In this post, I want to share an example of such a letter.
Over the past 4 years, I’ve started to come out of my shell and begin to really grow my own voice and beliefs… and the more I learn and grow, the more I live as my most authentic self…
Some really precious relationships ended abruptly during this coming out of the closet, not just with sexuality but really with who I was down to my core.
I left the Catholic faith and lost some really precious friends who couldn’t continue to love me if I wasn’t sharing their faith any longer. I lost friends who didn’t understand me anymore. I said goodbye to amazing people, except it wasn’t really a goodbye… it was more like they just disappeared, and I was hurt.
When I write these letters, I let it all out.
The shame, the victim mindset, the anger and regret. Nothing is off limits. Then I give it a day or two… read the letter… and decide if what I’ve written reflects the person I want to be. If not, I spend some time loving myself and forgiving myself for what I didn’t want to see in there. I accept where I am. And I write the letter again with my own forgiveness and acceptance filling my heart. I do this as many times as it takes.
This letter is raw. Be gentle.
To the woman who walked away when I grew up…
I’m so hurt. How could you? From the first time we met, I adored you. I looked up to you. I respected you. I was so afraid of letting you down, I bent until I broke so many times to avoid disappointing you, and you never saw that… I guess that’s on me for never sharing it with you. But I was a child and being liked was important to me, and I did everything to see that adoring pride in your smile at the end of the day. I longed for your hugs that made me feel so safe, and for the way you’d look at me with loving kindness when I admitted to struggling inside…
I thought you loved me, I thought you were the family I never had. I thought that I could trust you with the most fragile pieces of me… but when I did the slightest thing that didn’t fit into your picture of the perfect little angel girl you thought I was… you vanished. You let me fall and shatter into thousands of pieces.
You’ve been absent for years now. You never returned my calls, you didn’t even read the texts. Emails left unanswered, birthday wishes stopped coming in (I know you didn’t forget, our birthdays are back-to-back and I still think of you every year).
My heart was bleeding for so long. I still feel the shock of falling through the air into nothingness… in a trust fall I was certain you’d be on the other side of.
My mother may have neglected me at times as a child, but at least she didn’t shun me for who I am. She’s still here. I guess that’s the thing with recovering addicts, they know how to be imperfect. But the wealthy people with status to protect… they can’t risk their reputation, even for the love of a child all alone in the world.
I’m a grown woman now, and I wish I could say I don’t miss you anymore. But I do. For so long I wanted to tell you I was sorry. I was sorry I let you down, I was sorry you felt like you had to tun away, I was sorry you felt like there was no place in your heart or your life for me anymore… but honestly… I’ve done no wrong and I’m not sorry.
I’ve been a good and loving person. I’ve honored my marriage vows, I’ve been the change I wish to see in the world. Sure, I left the church but I never stopped loving my neighbor as myself, I never stopped leaning into that loving eternal power that connects us all. Your view of god was too small for me, but I don’t see what that has to do with us. Why can’t we live in love in our own ways? Was a little ink on my skin and a new name for god really all it took to become toxic waste in your world?
You could have said goodbye. You could have asked me why. You could have done so many things, but you did absolutely nothing, and I can’t put in words how deeply that has wounded me.
Maybe you have your own struggles, maybe you’re hurting and hiding and I just saw too much of you from the start- so you didn’t know how to face me anymore when shit hit the fan in your life, I don’t know. How could I know? You never said anything.
It’s over, and this is my closure. One day I’ll read your name in the obituary and my heart will crack all over again in longing for one more moment with you, to see the warm smile in your eyes just one last time and know that you were proud of me, and know that I was safe with you. You were my first safe place. And then you left. I may never know what to do with that.
But bitterness looks like hell on me. It’s time to move on. I loved you, I love you still. And today I’m free from all of it. Today I’m moving on. Today I’m done worrying/hoping I’ll run into you in the grocery store. I’m done hoping every white mini van will belong to you. I’m done holding my breath, scanning our old store to see if you are there… knowing I might only see disappointment in your eyes if you were there… and that it’s probably for the best that you’ve become a stranger to me.
Today is the end of my aching and longing. Today, I’m ready to grieve this lost love I once treasured so deeply…
I hope you aren’t in pain tonight. I hope you don’t feel alone in this world. I hope you know that I miss you too (I know deep down you do love and miss me, you could never not). I hope you know that your friendship moved mountains in my world and that it was a gift to have known you at all.
I hope you know that even with all of this distance between us, I will always wish you well. But tonight you fade from the front row to the blurry background of billions of others in this world who I wish love and healing to. Today… you are just another person, no longer one I’ve lost. Just a person. Nothing more, and nothing less.
(Can you tell I don’t feel the closure yet? It’ll come though. These are the first steps… I’ll get there.)