A Letter to the Little Girl That Once Resided in Me
Last night myself and a group of women, some who happen to be older than myself, sat in a small circle and shared some heart-shattering tragedies about their lives. I felt a rush of emotions from anger to frustration to pure sadness when I listened to their stories; but when my turn came to tell your story, I felt nothing. I didn’t feel sorry for you, I didn’t feel your pain; in fact, I was numb. I still am because perhaps, I never treated you as a child to begin with.
After our meeting finished, the facilitator asked each one of us what we would do for ourselves after our toughest session since the support group began this year. I have tried forgetting you for so long that now, when I was finally asked to remember you, I couldn’t come up with anything that I would do solely for you. Apparently self-care has been a misnomer so I responded, “I will let this sink in and I will pray.”
It isn’t a coincident that it was yesterday when I was concomitantly reminded of the novel you started writing when you were a little girl. Upon leaving the country, you asked your sister to make sure that that journal was trashed because you did not want anyone to read the sensual epilogue and the first chapter you wrote because for a young Muslim girl, that kind of imagination is a curse.
Looking back, I apologize for silencing you, your thoughts and your writing. I apologize for forcing you to grow before your age because adults around you treated you as an adult like themselves. I apologize for letting you feel ugly and undeserved. I apologize for killing your smile and I apologize for not giving you the understanding you deserved when others around you failed to do so.
And so, dear child, after revisiting you; it ALL makes sense! All those self-sacrificing unrequited loves, those self-esteem shattering rejections that I took to heart, the tethering guilt and shame: they all make sense.
Hence, little Sidra, stay over a little longer tonight. We will drink root beer, sing songs, and go down memory lane to carry you back. Tonight, I won’t judge you and I won’t treat your story as a conglomerate of facts. Tonight I will cry and I feel your pain just like how I felt the pain of other women last night. Tonight, I shall be gentle to you and give you love, the kind of love a young woman yearns for but is too shy to give it to her own self. Tonight, I shall redeem myself and let you live as you had always deserved to live.
Therefore, go run and play, little child! Laugh! Scream. Cry. Do whatever. You are in a safe and judgment-free world tonight.
Everything’s gonna be alright.
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