A Letter To The Little Girl: Together We Will Face Our Fear.
Everyone has a breaking point.
That moment when you’re lying in the bath and suddenly realize you have to leave your partner, or when your boss treats you like crap for the last time and somewhere in your mind you think I won’t be here in a month. Breaking points come in many variations, just as people do.
Mine came a few months ago, after perhaps two years of my life looking wonderful on the outside and me crumbling on the inside. There was a penultimate point where my old habits just didn’t serve me any more… and that is a shitter. You see habits are super hard to break, even if they hurt you.
I’m a parent, I have to be okay. I don’t want to call my friends and tell them my fears, I’m sure they’re too busy for me. Yes, I’ve had a hard past, everyone has. I can date, sure I can, it’s okay that there appears to be an invisible line between too much attention and not enough, and no man ever finds it. I’ve got this.
I’m just going to keep it all to myself, and open this bottle of wine, like the adult I am, because I can. Now multiply this by about a thousand and you have my breaking point. Because I was not okay, and things had to change.
I hadn’t heard of internalizing your problems till I had CBT at age 30. It made sense.
When children experience several traumas, and don’t have the correct support, they can eventually cope by telling themselves the reason why everything happened is because they are bad. They deserve bad things to happen, because they are bad, worthless, unlovable… this list goes on and on.
There were many events through my life — the neglect in the early years, the traumatic setup within my adoptive family, the years of self-abusing behavior from my teens onwards. I don’t feel it’s right to make a list here of the dark and terrible things that happened.
But you understand my point. My coping mechanism was to not be very nice to myself, and sure as shit most of us aren’t in our own little ways.
During this process of writing, I thought it important to revisit my past.
So I dug out my adoption file, and there — amongst many other horrific things — it was, in black and white, in a report written by one of my foster parents when I was three years old: “She appears to have a very very low opinion of herself”, “Her most pressing need is to know who is going to want her enough to keep her forever”.
Sadly, I can confirm I am still exactly like that, right now, as I type. Which feels massively shitty. It made me feel utterly ashamed that I have been this pathetic for years. A little while after I processed this, I thought years of self-abuse and my internalization had programmed my brain this way.
But then it dawned on me, this is highly unlikely to be the real nature of a three-year-old girl. This is highly likely to be goddamn nurture. Of the severe lack of, I might add. My 0-3 years — sadly, apparently the most important — were documented by social workers as legally required; I still can’t read them without crying.
I’m so sad for that little girl, I want to run in and help her, tell her she’s beautiful, she matters, that I love her and she is enough. And that’s how a few days ago, the following letter happened, one of the chapters of this current breaking point.
A letter to the little girl
I am a 32-year-old woman. I have a wonderful son, a beautiful home, I love my job and my dear, dear friends to the moon and back.
You are a three-year-old girl, and you are alone in a dirty flat in North London during the dead of the night.
I am coming for you, my love, I am coming to hold you like they never did, like i won’t let anyone hold me now.
The only time I have ever heard your little sobs was while I was swimming in a sea of alcohol.
It was the only way I could get close to you, but not any more, my love. It’s been with us for too long now, and we don’t need it, you and me. I will find you without it this time.
I am coming for you.
I am going to sit with you and we will cry and laugh and scream and dance and run. I will sleep beside you and we will whisper to each other that’s its not our fault, over and over, until it is a beautiful song we know in our hearts.
We will look at all the years, and you will forgive them for what they did, and I will forgive me for what I did in return.
I will teach you how to be with your anger, and you will teach me to step into imagination again.
Don’t be afraid, I’m coming, my love.
Together we will face our fear. I won’t reject you, I will love you.
We will paint and write and draw, and we will find all the peace and flames and love within us.
We will be broken and whole together.
We will be present.
We will be one, you and I.
Most people have that little inner voice, the critic. If you listen carefully enough, spend enough time with your emotions, you might just find them. The ability of being an empath means I can feel them in most people — “You’re useless”, “You’re disgusting”, “You’re boring”, and my little voice: “You’re worthless”.
It doesn’t happen often, but most of my friends have held me while I have howled, snot running, tears streaming, barely able to breathe while I tell them that I am worthless. I always thought that was my fault.
And now I see, I am not worthless just because someone said I was. Oh, I don’t remember, and it’s not written down. But I know my parents, mainly my mother, did that to me. Abuse, many many forms of abuse, left me bereft of pride and love.
And that’s how you get to today. A fully grown adult, a nice person, who’s traveled a bit, done some crazy brave stuff, is a successful mother, good colleague and a loyal friend… who only five days ago was on my living room carpet being held by a friend while I lost my shit.
Well, fuck that.
My promise is as follows: I am going to be present. I will not escape my feelings with destructive behavior or alcohol. I am going to sift through every emotion until they have had the attention they deserve and they can finally be filed, in the past where they belong. I won’t deny myself shame, anger, pain or joy any more.
This won’t be pretty, because sure as fuck if I am angry now, and can’t blame myself, then I will finally have to blame them, and that will be another whole process of anger, grief and forgiveness. I will feel it wholly and understand that it is an essential part of humanity.
I’m not sure if I will go teetotal, or just stop using alcohol as a crutch for my emotions. I’m not sure if psychotherapy, or skipping off to some spiritual retreat in the woods, will help. But I do know I’ve reached my breaking point with this. I’ve reached them before: I ran a marathon once to heal my broken heart.
Change comes in many forms, and we will change and shed and evolve and grow over and over again. We are emotive beings, all searching for that elusive love and happiness. Life is hard, curve balls will always come our way, but by not trying to escape, I won’t deny my heart the healing it deserves.
I wish the same love for you all.
Martina Honour is a 32-year-old mother who lives by the sea. She started her spiritual journey only a short while ago, and is making peace with her past and her soul by writing, and thanks her readers completely for their time, and wishes them all the best on finding the answers within.