Dear Precious Soul,
May I sit beside you on this swing today?
There are so many things I would like to say to you and I hope you’ll listen to me—not only with your ears but, more importantly, with your heart.
I am you.
I am who you grow up to be and the woman you will eventually become. I’ve carried you with me all these years.
In the beginning, I didn’t know you were there because I tried so hard to cover your pain with all the tricks I could find. I forgot you existed and because I did that, I didn’t take care of you in the ways you needed and deserved. For that, I am truly sorry.
I’m here now. I’ve known you now for a while because you made yourself known in many ways. I didn’t know you were still there and I didn’t realize the depth of the pain you carried until I went back into the cave I locked you in so many years ago.
Over the years, I have excavated that cave and have listened to your stories, held your pain and held you. In that cave of dark pain, you got to know me and to trust that I have become someone who is safe instead of the person who hid you away so many years ago. As I became safer, you became more transparent.
It has been hard to sit with the pain you carried.
It was not easy to hear you talk about the betrayal you experienced as a child—the betrayal that you carried as shame for so many years. It was not easy to know you saw yourself as wounded and damaged. It was not easy to hear that you felt unloved, unseen and forgotten all those years.
It was not easy to sit with the soul wrenching grief you had carried in a consciousness that was far too small to hold it, much less make meaning of the suffering you’d felt. But, you did it. You managed to hold on until I was wise enough to come back for you.
I’ve become the person you always needed.
Today, I want to tell you that I see you.
I love you.
In this journey we have taken together—me coming back to you as a wiser, safer self and you opening up and sharing your pain—we have been able to transform the sorrow into something more beautiful. When I first met you, wounded little girl that still lived in me, you were in a dark corner, scared and alone. Over time, I have watched you transform into the lighthearted, fun-loving, heartbreakingly beautiful soul you were always meant to be and now, I sit back with gratitude as I marvel at your resilience, strong spirit and sacred essence.
Before I met you and peeled back the layers that life had placed on me, I was always striving. I wanted to be someone, to do something. Now I know that the goal all along was not to become something or someone different but to get back to who I was (who we were) always meant to be.
Thank you for staying strong and allowing me to come back for you. Thank you for coming out of the darkness and holding my hand as we transmuted the past’s pain into today’s gold. Thank you for holding onto your shining spirit when the easiest thing would have been to give up.
I don’t know if you understand any of what I’m saying here—you are still just a little girl.
But I think you do because your legs are pushing that swing a little higher, and your laughter is bouncing off the sky into my ears. Your eyes shine, no longer dulled by years of hiding and neglect and you toss your head back. I smile as I see you embracing life, this moment and know that the cave you once lived in is gone forever.
You are me and I am you.
Together, we soar.
Author: Lisa Vallejos, PhD
Editor: Khara-Jade Warren
Image: Lauren Hammond/ Flickr