#WFAWM Felicity’s Letter

Hello young wee Felicity,

With a large milestone birthday coming up in 2021, I thought it a good time to get in touch. It’s funny how we attach so much meaning to these birthdays, whereas they are just marking the passing of another year, another decade. Fundamentally we are the same person before the minutes tick over from 11.59pm to midnight to 12.01am.

And yet at the same time, we are different. We have moved on, just as time has moved on. I know you had a mantra of “tomorrow will be brighter”.

You used to write those words in your journal each night before turning out the light. They allowed you to draw a line under the difficult days. Painful days when you would be tormented by intrusive thoughts, flashbacks, and shameful memories.

But please know, bullying yourself, starving yourself and punishing yourself only serve to intensify your pain. Those things alienate you from yourself and from others. A little self-care, kindness and self-compassion go a long way. When you’re feeling sad or hopeless or despondent, tell yourself that it’s okay to feel like that. Put on a soft pair of socks, hug your teddy bear, wrap yourself in a warm snuggly fleece. Be your own best friend.

If you can find it in yourself to lower the high protective drawbridge of the fortified castle you have built around yourself, it will help. Trust me, and let a trusted person into your life. There are many, many kind and compassionate people in the world, in your world. I know you may not believe it, but there is a witness out there for all of us.

Finding your own compassionate witness might take a while, but don’t be disillusioned. Keep looking. You will know when the time is right. Keeping secrets is hard work, it’s exhausting, and it only worsens the sense of internal shame and isolation.

Trusting people is scary, asking for help is scary. A little fear is okay. I’m aware that your conditioned response to fear is to run and hide. However, why not practice standing your ground, stand tall, stand proud. I know if you do this, little by little, your anxieties will gradually recede, and the world will become an easier place to inhabit.

Your world will become easier to inhabit. It will become safer as you fill it with friendships, people who just ‘get you’ and like you for you.

Please trust me when I say none of the things you experienced as a young girl were done to you because you were bad. Those events were not unique. Unfortunately, many other young girls and boys will have suffered too. Find those people, seek out that tribe, they will have an inherent understanding of your circumstances, they won’t judge you, call you worthless, or say you are fundamentally flawed. They will say, it’s okay, you’re okay, and that they understand. You don’t have to conform or transform yourself to fit in with others. It’s okay to be different, a bit goofy. Goofy can be fun.

Change is possible, change can be good, and there is no requirement to stay the same body shape or weight, to always like or do the same things. Try not to cling to routines and rituals. I know they make you feel safe, but they consume precious mental energy that could be spent on creative activities. Think how much fun it used to be playing with LEGO or plasticine. Why not do something purely for pleasure and enjoyment each day?

Keep going my little friend, nurture yourself, and know that everything will be okay. Everything is okay.

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