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I wish I could write like our Aunt Becky, but I can’t. My words will be misspelled, my commas will be out of place, and there will definitely be run on sentences, but I swear like a trucker, so somehow I think I will fit right in.

So the back story is this: BAD shit happened to me when I was a kid. You know, the dad was an alcoholic, “show me on the doll where the bad man touched you” (I never told my parents, by the way), sister got preggo at 14, and eventually my Mom could no longer deal with it all, so I had to take the bulk of the bad shit. There were days I didn’t know if I would make it. Some days I wasn’t able to deal. I would burn myself or punch a wall just to feel…something. Still, it’s not as bad as some have dealt with and not the purpose of this post. I made it through, bruised but not broken. I just wish I could tell the young girl who dealt with all of that what I know now.

I have been talking to a friend who is quite a bit younger and going through so much in her life right now. She (like me) puts up a strong front, but if you dig just beneath the surface, you can see the hurt and self doubt. She sometimes reminds me so much of my self that it’s scary. When asked, we will both say we are “fine.” Every time she says it to me, my heart cracks just a little. You see, I know when she says “I’m fine,” what she really means is ”This hurts like hell!! My heart is breaking. Somebody please just take away the pain.” But no, it’s always “I’m fine.” I just want to give her a hug and tell her it will all be OK. I won’t, mind you, because that would make me seem weak or soft, or whatever my fucked up mind thinks.

Still, talking to her I got to thinking what would I tell my younger self? So I wrote myself a letter today. Maybe it will help her or some other young girl who needs to know it WILL BE OK.

So, here it is.

Dear Tonya,

I know it’s hard right now, but experience brings knowledge, adversity brings strength.

None of that makes a damn bit of difference when you’re hurting, but faith gives you hope. The hope that there is something greater brings a small amount of peace, even in the darkest times.

When you find love, it calms. Love doesn’t hurt, it heals, it comforts, it expands. Love gives, it should not take away.

If life seems to be spiraling out of control, find solace in the small things. Family, friends, music, words. These are your armor against all that will stand against you.

Remember that the lessons learned from the mistakes we make, and the paths we choose, make us who we are. Never regret them. To do so would mean you doubt yourself. Nothing or no one should make you doubt your worth.

Though it’s sometimes easier to forgive others than yourself, YOU ARE ONLY HUMAN.

Be as kind to yourself as you are to others, and love yourself as much as you do others.

Stand tall without being cocky and be proud of who you will become.

I know I am.


P.S. If none of that shit works, there is always vodka.