Tag Archives: abuse

*GUEST SUBMISSION* Letter 54: Be The One Who Got Away

13 Jun

Emily writes:

Dear me at 15,

The Author at 15

Your tan skin amplifies your slim, petite build and the darkness of long brown locks. Wisps of hair falling over your face highlight the green flecks of your hazel eyes. You don’t realize the boys think you’re cute. You think you will never have a serious boyfriend. And yet, you’ve set your sights on the coveted one, the one as brass and obnoxious as the trumpet he carries across the marching field. Your competitive drive and overwhelming desire to be liked, clouds your judgment, hinders your ability to listen to your intuition, and confuses obsession with love. When He finally asks you out, you are elated, but I beg of you, say no.

Do not go out with him, not once. He is unstable, aggressive and overly dramatic. He is driven by power and control. He will embarrass and belittle you in public, and then cry apologies privately, promising that he will never act that way again. Until the next time. He confides in you that his father beats his mother, and you will pity him, even justify his behavior. You foolishly think you can heal and protect him some how. But, you will soon start to believe that you are ugly and fat and ask permission to wear certain clothes, spend time with friends or participate in school events for fear of any repercussions of going against his will. He will isolate you. He will openly flirt with other girls in front of you, and then accuse you of being unfaithful.

Your spirit will be so broken, that you will put yourself in dangerous situations just to prove your love. He will push you to do things that are humiliating and against your will, and yet you will not tell anyone. You will stay silent because you believe him when he says, “This is your fault. You made me do this”. But you do not have to live that way. There are people that care about you, and they are not fooled by the sudden weight loss and dark circles under your eyes. They suspect that you did not trip on the stairs or are not too sick to meet them at the movies. They just don’t know how to confront you, plus they are scared of him too. After all, he is popular.

As hard as it will be, you need to find your voice. Don’t give him the opportunity to determine how you see yourself or what kind of value you place on your life. Don’t let him steal almost a year and manipulate years more by planting the notion that “you aren’t good enough”. Let him be in awe of your strength and character at 15. Be the one that got away, not the one He got away with.

I want you to know that you are smart, beautiful, well-liked and incredibly talented. Your heart is kind and unassuming. People find your humor delightful, your outlook on life inspiring and your ability to love refreshing. Years will be full of healthy relationships, when you take back your life. Just remember to love yourself.

The Author Today

Emily is a wife and mother who spends most of her time raising two daughters to be powerful, amazing women both physically and emotionally. Her blog is a place to document her life, and hopefully inspire others to be the best wife, mother and woman that they can possibly be. Her blog can be found at: http://mypajamadays.com/

_____________________

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Letter 38: The Trouble With Fairytales

14 Feb

Dear me at 19:

You’re cozied up with your copy of The Subterraneans, sitting next to a gigantic window off King Street West, watching the streetcars roll through the thick haze of a drizzly Toronto summer. Hipsters are running to and from the TTC stops sopping wet, clutching their umbrellas. You watch them from the other side of the glass, under a blanket, inside an impossibly hip downtown loft space. The kind with top and bottom floors opening into each other, like a huge contemporary bunk bed. Everything is stainless steel and vintage hardwood. There’s a stone statue of the Buddha next to the big cement fireplace.

You’re waiting for your boyfriend to return home from work. From the courthouse where he is a Crown Attorney. A Defender of Justice. When he gets here, he’ll probably take you to the little restaurant across the street for dinner. He’ll order a fancy bottle of wine to impress you and taste the first sip with that slurpy sound that people who understand wine always do.

You’re having your first taste of a life pretty close to the one you’ve always dreamed of. School is out for the summer, and you’ve taken a week off from your retail job to spend some uninterrupted time with him. You packed up your clothes and took off from your parent’s house. You’re free to write when you want. Read when you want. Take a warm bubble bath in the gigantic soaker tub when you want. Drink wine. Listen to jazz. Stroll down Queen Street drinking Starbucks. You are in the middle of a buzzing Metropolis. Art galleries, museums, vintage clothing shops, and bookstores. You are surrounded by people in all angles, in all directions.

You are feeling completely alone. And you are enormously unhappy.

You’ve always been in a real hurry to grow up. At the time when you met him, you had your eye out for someone a little more mature. Someone more responsible. Someone with a real job. Someone with a car. Someone who didn’t live with their parents. Or with roommates. You know, like, an adult.

He swept you off your feet. He was well read. Well dressed. Well spoken. Well educated. Well traveled. He flew to Paris weeks after you met and sent you love poems written on beautiful little French postcards. He bought you jewelry from Tiffany’s and drove you to fancy dinners in his fancy car.

He had you hooked.  And that’s when the shape of things started to change. It was very subtle. Quiet. A million shades of gray.

It all started with your clothes. You were growing up, maturing, becoming an adult. You needed to tone them down a little. Give the ones you had away to charity. Other people needed them more than you.

Then it was your hair and makeup. Too much. Too far from your natural shade. You looked so beautiful without any makeup at all.

Then it became your diet. Meat and dairy were so cruel. White flour and sugar so gauche.

Then it was your music. And then your friends.  Your job. Your school major. Going to school at all.

You’ve woken up this morning to find that your life looks nothing like your own. In many ways it resembles that original fairytale. But you can’t for the life of you find yourself within it. Your world is shrinking at an alarming rate. And all because of someone whom you thought would open up new worlds to you.

Your Defender of Justice is an excellent talker. He went to school for years to learn how to argue his case. He is paid to make people believe that he is right and they are wrong. And he approaches his relationship with you no differently.

The reason you’re so unhappy is because your Prince Charming is actually just a scared little man, trying desperately to manipulate a teenager into believing a reality that couldn’t be further from the truth. He is mean and controlling. And it will only get worse.

You need to still your mind for a moment and listen to your heart. Put down your book. Go pack your bags.

If you stay, you will find yourself three years into something so convoluted and messy that to attempt to extract yourself will make your head spin. Yes, you will finally muster the courage to leave, but by that time you will have lost so much to a fairytale that never really existed in the first place.

You see honey, that’s the trouble with fairytales. No matter how wonderful they might seem, you will always find that your real life, and your true self within it, are so much better than any part of the illusion. If you leave now, you will be walking out of this fairytale without your Knight in Shining Armour. But you will still have your Self.

And in the story of your life, that person will always be the most important character.

__________________

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*GUEST SUBMISSION* Letter 13: Stop lying to yourself. He’s not okay.

23 Aug

Whitney writes:

Dear me at 16:

He’s really not that cool.  Or hot.  Or funny.

And you know that weird feeling you get in your gut when you’re around him?  The one that you can’t quite interpret?  Yeah, that’s not sexual attraction.  That’s fear.

You know he’s all the things you’ve never wanted.  You can’t change him or fix him.  And I know that you don’t even realize that’s what you’re trying to do.  But he does.  And he’s going to manipulate you with it.  He’ll whittle you away until you can’t remember how you got started, and you’re pretty sure there’s no way out.

And those bruises on your wrists aren’t fucking sexy, so stop kidding yourself.  Quit telling people they happened in some raw moment of uncensored passion.  He got pissed, and your arms prove it.   He grabbed you.  He shook you.  He threatened to rape you.  That’s what happened.  Stop lying to yourself and everyone around you.  He’s not okay.  You’re not okay.

In 5 years, your life is going to be incredible.  You’re going to wake up and wonder how you made it through that, through him.  You’ll realize how right and invaluable your friends and family were.  You’ll lie awake at night, sifting through it all in your mind, until you turn to the left and see another face from your high school years.  Your best friend.  The guy who saw through your crap, told your parents what was really going on even though it meant you might never speak to him again, and got you out of it.

You’re going to marry the right guy someday, but the longer you stay with the wrong one, the more people you hurt and the more he hurts you.  I wish you could see how much he manipulates you with lies and guilt and shame.  I wish you knew how deserving you are of love and respect.  You were a strong woman before him, and you’ll be stronger one day after he’s gone.  I just wish you didn’t have to go through those weak days in-between to get there.

So please, Whitney, call him right now and end it.  Tell your parents the truth.  Get help.  They’ll protect you.  He won’t hurt you.  He won’t hurt himself.  But he will tell you any lie to keep you around, so please, just let me hold your hand through this.  I’ll help you dial.

Whitney eventually dumped the jerk & is now living out her happily ever after with her husband and dog in sunny Florida.

Editor’s Note: The Hindsight Letters is so honored to be a vehicle for the sharing of such intimate and personal stories. We thank Whitney deeply for sharing her experience with our readership!