I posted this before the site crash and a friend mentioned she had a similar T assignment so I thought I'd bump it again. Not sure if I still feel the same but it was interesting to reread.
Letter to myselves written in 2012 sometime.
Dear 15 year old me,
You actually have no idea. You think you do but you don’t. Right now you feel like you should have known better, and you should have (you aren’t stupid) but that is not an excuse for what happened tonight. It was not because of what you did, that he did what he did. He did it because he thought it was OK to ignore the words ‘no’ and ‘stop’. Well guess what? Not OK. And he did it, not you.
I know as well that you feel like you could’ve fought harder, and that feeling will grow over time until you imagine you allowed it to happen. And by default that you somehow endorsed it, perhaps encouraged him to force you. You didn’t. Of course you bloody well didn’t. And surviving was more important then. He threatened you remember and it was believable. He was out of control, anything could have happened. You sensed it, you did the right thing.
But if I could teleport back to that night I would ask you to change one thing. When Miss sees you, knows there is something wrong, tell her! Tell her what just happened! If only you had, it might well have changed what comes.
You lose Paul soon. I know you feel that is your fault as well, but telling someone is not poison enough to kill them. Try, try to not hurt yourself anymore. It was not your fault.
Dear 22 year old me,
You have every idea. You know how it happens. I don’t forgive you. I hate you. You knew better. You knew he was out there. How could you ignore the risk? He did it, but you put yourself in harm’s way. If you walk home on a motor way you are going to get squashed. You knew what that risk really meant. Well actually you didn’t as it turns out but you knew the reality of rape and you should not have even for a second been somewhere where that could happen again. Grrr!!
Oh dear. Are we destined to lock horns, you and I, forever? How is it that my today self can forgive the 15yr old ‘us’ for not telling and yet not forgive 22yr old us for just trying to live like a 22yr old should? I tell you why, because you were an adult and you knew it was a very real possibility. How could you be so cavalier with our sanity and our safety? ....Did you want it? Was it really just stupidity and drunkenness or was it self destruction?
OK I’m taking a deep breath. I’m really trying now to take that back and to stop insulting you Miss 22.
Do you know something? I never quite realised how split we are. This letter has made me aware of that. And something else. This is quite big I think:
I forgive you for surviving. I’m glad you did, both from the attack, which was a miracle let’s face it, and from the ... after. I have to catch my breath now because in 13 years I have rarely let myself think about that. OK I’m going to say it again. I’m glad you made it. I’m glad you survived. And now I’m crying which is rare, and I’m licking the salty tears because they are sharp, and real, and I want to remember them. They are tears that are saying I’m glad to be alive, I’m glad I survived. A gut wrenching turnaround from that place... you know where I mean.
I wish with all my heart that I had played the game a different way but here I am, the sum total of my experiences. We do manage to grow up and get married and have children and find normaility. Of a sort. That is no small achievement. I am happy to be crying about being alive, so I guess you can’t have been all bad 22. But I think I’ll leave you out of my lottery numbers if it is all the same with you.