Dear younger me,
It’s not your fault. You were so soft. I can see it all in your eyes as you take every bit of blame to heart. Every bit of blame that didn’t belong to you.
Sweet child, I can still see you holding that letter. Holding it like an eggshell, your fingertips barely touching the paper. His last letter. The unfinished one. The one with the scrawled words from his shaky hand, saying what a wonderful woman you were becoming, and with the sentence whose end you will never know. I hear you scream, racking your mind, as you wonder with all your might why you didn’t write him more. Why couldn’t you have just written him back? I feel the acid you pour over your thoughts at the irreparable mistake you made. You’ll make a lot of those, my love, irreparable mistakes. But you’ll be the better for them.
And yes, dear, you’ll have that scar forever. You had it in you, see? No more need to prove it.
I see you collapsed on your bedroom floor; I see the tears streaming down your face. I see all the moments he made you believe you are not enough, and it breaks my heart. If I could cut those moments out of your story, I would, my love. But that’s not how memories work. You don’t know it yet, but you muster the strength to leave. Even while you still believe it is your fault, you walk away. And, trust me, my dear, that walking away is the best decision you will ever make. You can’t save him, sweetheart. You lose yourself trying. But then you find your identity in Him, you do. You’ll understand what that means one day.
But even after you’ve left, I feel the acid. I hear you shouting at God how could you have been so stupid? How could you have fallen so easily? But it’s not God you’re mad at; it’s yourself. It’s not your fault. Your words cut you like knives for months and months after. It stops though. I promise you it does, because God’s love conquers all. It’s not your fault, sweetheart, please believe me.
If only you could see you now, my dear, you’d understand. Stories are written with pain, you know, and you’ll be a bestselling author. My word, you love to write, and you have no idea how healing it will become to you. But you’d understand if you could see. Those flames you walked through make you stand tough as steel, and shine like gold. Those irreparable mistakes you kicked yourself for making give you wisdom beyond your years, and the humility to hit your knees and turn to God.
I don’t yet know what to do with the word regret, my dear. But I’ll tell you as soon as I figure it out. Because I want to regret all the mistakes you’ve made, we’ve made. I want to regret all the mistakes, the bad decisions, and lapses in better judgement. Regret seems like the appropriate response. Because those hurt. They hurt you, and God knows, if I could take that pain away I would, sweet child. People always say live with no regrets, but if you burn your hand on the stove, don’t you regret touching it? Isn’t this the same thing?
But I don’t want you to live with its burden. “I should have this, I shouldn’t have that” still echo in my mind quite often, and I have so many more important things to think about than that. I don’t know what to do with regret, my love. I don’t even know yet if some of our mistakes are worth it. But I promise, there is purpose to your pain. Every scrap you feel, younger me, it plays a role. You are so soft, but you are no longer weak.
If only you could see the joy to come, my dear. If only you could see the beautiful tapestry of joyous memories and smiles and laughs that only you can hold. Life is beautiful, my love.
Little younger me, it’s not your fault.
All my love,
a wiser version of you.
This was really well written. I had the Christian song “Dear Younger Me” stuck in my head while reading this too. Your incredible use of vocabulary is always one of the best qualities of your blog. (Also happy birthday.)
The poignancy of wisdom is always captivating to me. What will it take for us to remember always that we are enough? As we are.
I have just noticed the irony(?), cyclic nature(?) of posting this particular letter on my 18th birthday.