Dear Broken Girls Everywhere,
I am sorry. I am sorry I can not exactly pinpoint what is happening in your world. I am sorry there are forces beyond your control, forces so hard at work interuppting your play, your life- at age 5. Or 6. Or 10. Or 14. Or 16. Or 22. Or 42. Or 62. I am sorry you are caught in the cycle of unresolved issues, from mother to mother, from life to life. I am sorry you are living someone elses story and have yet to learn the life long, painful and yet healing properties of rewriting the story. Your story. It is never easy. Know this now. But you can do it.
I have been watching you for a long time. Longer than I have been a mother to my own young girl on her way to becoming a young woman. I have been listening to you and watching you long before cell phones were a thing, and social media gave you instructions on how to be or what to wear. I have seen you caught up in the single parent hood of life, in the co parenting life, caught up in divorce, I have seen you abandoned because of drug overdoses, mom’s new boyfriend, mom’s old boyfriend, the never ending revolving door of mom’s boy friends, un-employment, job hopping, hysteria, fifty different shades of your mothers hysteria, I have seen you in loss, in lock down and wandering down the wrong path- eyes glazed over with exhaustion and fear. I have seen you cry at the mention of the word love because you are not quite sure what love looks like, feels like and sounds like. I have seen you.
I know the look in your eye when the world has been unkind, when the mark of a heavy hand is nothing compared to the mark of heavy words. I have seen you try to reason with your female body in direct opposition to the body you want, the body you want to escape,the body that has been abused and battered and the body marked with self multilation. I have seen you misplace who you are because those around you misplaced who they were and forgot to tell you otherwise. I have seen you bind your breasts and pump your body with mega doses of testosterone, even before puberty, to erase anything that resembles female. I have seen you curse your vagina, cut your hair as short as you can,change your name, change your thoughts, change who you are, and take away anything that resembles the feminine. You have so many reasons for doing this- I know. A variety of reasons, but none that get to the heart of the matter.None that point to the issues. I have seen you.
I have seen your heart break, seen you breaking your back to be the parent, the caregiver, the leader, the perfect child- all before the age of 12, and you carry this with you to 42, 52, 62. I have seen you.
I have seen you starving yourself, devoid of all nutrients, trying to eradicate the shame, the violation, anything to feel loved, or invisible. I have seen you overeating, eating whatever you can to pad the broken down places- to add a layer of soft tissue around the battered and bruised. I have seen you. You want to stop existing. I have seen you attempt to take your life, and I have seen you take your life. I have seen you sell your body,sext what you got, send it out to the masses to further degrade the goods. The damaged goods. Because any kind of attention is better than no attention at all. I have seen you trade your self worth, act like you don’t care when all you want is someone to care. I have seen you bounce around from house to house, always ready with a bag packed, running away from the mother than can not mother, running away from watching the mother who can not mother put drugs first, and you always last. And lucky you, you end up with someone ele’s mom who is just as fucked up, or uncaring, or devoid of emotion. I have seen you being yelled at, jerked around, and cave in to the pressure of having to mother your siblings for the mother who can not mother. I have seen you fear the day you have to be reunited with the mother who can not mother, because that is the way it is, and the mother is always the mother. Mother may I. Mother stop drinking, mother stop drugging, mother stop running around, spending all the money, and all you get is the left over- of everything. I have seen you.
I have seen you beg for a baby of your own, because you think, if you just have a baby, then everything will be okay and so you get a baby, because it is cool to have a baby, and you mother the way you were mothered, and that never works, so you have another baby and try again. It never works.You become the mother you never wanted to the baby you never wanted and all you get is more angry. Angry at your mother. Angry at the system. Angry at the baby daddy. Angry at the baby. It never works.
I have seen your swagger. Your defensive, don’tfuckwithmeswagger, hips locked up tight and dragging your feet because the weight of being who you are, at 6, at 12, at 16, at 22, at 42, at 52 is bone crushing. I have seen you lie. Big, bold face devastating lies. You lie so well. You know this. Because any lie, any lie at all is better than the truth. I have seen you, all sticks and stones, hurling insults at the girl in the mirror and anyone who gets in her way. You know how to hurt. You know how to throw stones. This you can do. I have seen the price you are paying for perfection.I have seen you sexed up, pushed up, ass out, lips up, at 12, at 14, at 15, hoping to get a boy. I have seen you sexed up, ten years of bad road, pushed up, ass out, lips up, at 32, 44, 55, hoping to get a man. I have seen you living someone else’s life. Joining the wrong crowd, the feral pack, falling behind, allowing someone else to take your power and call it their own. I have seen you.
I have seen you act just like your mom. The same words. The same actions. The same fear. The same anger. I have seen you point the finger at everyone else, just like your mother, forgetting the strength in owning your own consequences, in being responsible, in being. I have seen you throw things, roll your eyes, swallow tears, pop your hip, stare in defiance and beg someone, anyone to cross that line you have etched in your path. Go ahead. Do it. And then what? I have seen you repeating what you were taught, seen you feel less than, because that is all you know. I have seen you forsake your own talents, your own art, your own self because your mother did the same. And so it continues. I have seen you.
I have seen you on one stop along the way, not quite on steady ground,and then you move again and again and again, sometimes in the dark of night, so no one really knows, and you end up in strange places, with strange people and you have to figure it all out again and again and again. I have seen you.
I have seen you line your eyes with the darkest of kohl colored pencils, lips just as dark, hair a hundred shades of hue from month to month to month and pierce yourself to piece yourself together. Just keep it together. Just hold on. Just hold on. Don’t let them see you cry. You will not cry. Not ever. You will punch, you will hit, you will scream, You will not cry. Until. Until someone sees you. Really sees you. Sometimes it is enough. Most times, it never will be.
There is time. You still have time. You do not have to take what was handed to you. You do not have to hate just because your mother did, or your father left, or there was never enough, or because someone said so. There is still time, at 6, at 12, at 17, at 22, at 42 at 62 to write your own letter, your own story. Do it now.