Dear Girl, You Are Forgiven

I know a little girl, maybe age 5, who constantly feels out of place. Her grandmother makes her beautiful dresses, but she’d rather wear t-shirts and hats all over the place. She worries about doing wrong because of that dreaded look in her mother’s eyes and the wooden spoon that makes contact with her bottom. She minds her manners, watches her words, praying to avoid the washing of her tongue with Dawn dish detergent . She tries to be perfect, to make everyone happy, but deep down she always feels failure, like when she started kindergarten then was pulled back to pre-k. She didn’t mean to color the sky purple, it just happened that way.

 

Dear girl, know that you are loved, that it wasn’t all your fault: You are forgiven.

 

I see another little girl, perhaps age 8, wandering around the playground not feeling so great. She kicks the dirt, feeling hopelessly alone, wishing the wind would carry her away instead of flirtatiously caressing her hair. She doesn’t connect with many, lacking understanding of her peers. Her parents wish she’d listen to country, but she prefers Ben Folds. She doesn’t mean to be a “know-it-all,” that’s just her nature…yet the teachers often pull her aside to remind her to not blurt all the answers. She fights with her brothers and her parents at home. Everyone thinks she’s unstable, most people just leave her alone.

 

Dear girl, know that you are loved, that it wasn’t all your fault: You are forgiven.

 

Another girl arrives, slightly taller, probably 10. Her strawberry blonde locks are growing longer, her arm in a sling. She sits alone on a rock by a beautiful, twisty tree, gazing at her surroundings, all so foreign and perplexing. Everything she is and all that she’s ever known is turned upside down, flawed, seemingly wrong. She makes herself vomit in the mornings, which makes her mother scream, but nobody seems to comprehend just what is happening deep inside this girl’s growing mind. Her classmates are amused by her accent and her clothes; they make erroneous assumptions with what little they know. She loses herself in reading, writing, music, and art. She closes herself off from everyone, desperately trying to protect her fragile heart. She condemns her parents for uprooting her and changing her life. She longs for the north and the winters with snow; she sees the south as hellishly humid, unbelievably stupid, and not worth her time.

 

Dear girl, know that you are loved, that it wasn’t all your fault: You are forgiven.

 

I know a young lady who has just entered her teens. Her body is now alarming as parts develop, the flaws of her bones become obvious to all. Everywhere she goes is like wading through torture, every moment she’s silently afraid. As the bus comes to a crawl, then flashing lights and stop, her heart begins to beat at an incredible pace. She hears his boots clumsily trudge up the stairs, closing her eyes while chanting, “Don’t let him come near…please, oh, not today!” He stomps down the aisle. Their eyes meet. He flashes that smile. She forces back tears. She is unable to protest, too scared to even scream. She sits there, just frozen, and prepares for her doom.

 

Dear girl, know that you are loved, that it wasn’t all your fault: You are forgiven.

 

I can see a blossoming woman, lovely, sweet 16. Her hair incredibly orange, blue eyes hidden behind big, dark glasses. She covers her body in darkness, both with blood and her clothes. The cuts serve as something, though what she is doesn’t quite know. She abuses her medications; she prays to God each silent night to simply let her die. The pages of her journals are filled with poems, sadness, and pain. When she’s in public, though, it’s table dancing, laughs, and acting insane. Her friends think she’s happy, her teachers see her as driven, serious, and smart. She is also quite rebellious, fights her parents, breaks the rules. She tries alcohol, hoping to momentarily forget the emptiness that lingers deep inside. She fights against her feelings for both boys and other girls; she knows that love is dangerous, like wildfire, and not what the novels say love looks like at all.

 

Dear girl, know that you are loved, that it wasn’t all your fault: You are forgiven.

 

Another woman walks on a college campus, maybe 19 or possibly 20, it’s all really quite the same. She’s moved in with a tall, quiet sort of guy, the first man she’s met that didn’t make her cry. She pushes herself hard, both physically and mentally. She avoids the typical college experience because she simply doesn’t have the time. She loads herself with classes, with her practice, with her job. Her comfort comes from eating, she finds pleasure in the taste, but the expense, her waistline, is no longer quite so thin. Sometimes sex even numbs the pain of depression, anxiety, self-hatred, and crocodile tears. Deep down there’s something missing, something feels completely wrong, but she pushes forward anyway, avoiding understanding until another day.

 

Dear girl, know that you are loved, that it wasn’t all your fault: You are forgiven.

 

I see a baby belly, so beautiful and round. The mother, a woman of nearly 27, stands in the mirror every morning, waiting until she and baby meet. The woman knew it was impulsive to get pregnant with round 2, but all she desperately wanted was that feeling of being complete, of her heart being filled. The water breaks, the delivery comes, the mother never knowing that she did it all so wrong. It takes some years to discover just what happened to the precious baby on that Sunday afternoon, but as the answers come, she’s filled with that emptiness and blame for ruining her sweet daughter’s life, for putting her family in this place.

 

Dear girl, know that you are loved, that it wasn’t all your fault: You are forgiven.

 

I see a woman shaking, sobbing, and in pain. Like that sweet teenager before, she’s inflicted jabs at her veins. It’s difficult to walk through the doors, knowing she’s entering the psych ward. Deep down, though, it’s for the best: it’s time to really learn to heal from all the pain. She trembles as she signs paperwork and nearly faints. Her best friend sits and comforts her, rubs her back, and hums as they patiently wait. The woman wonders what will happen next and if someday these memories will be erased.

 

Dear girl, know that you are loved, that it wasn’t all your fault: You are forgiven.

 

All these girls, these women, they are one in the same. They are me; I am them. I’ve spent my entire life in the shadows, deeply hiding, buried in the consuming hatred of all that I am. I have come to realize, though, that I am more than just my pain, my sins, my flaws: I am like a coin with two sides, or like the sunlight and the moon. We all have our own secrets, our own dislikes, our own shame. Both in darkness, and in light, our whole being remains.

 

So, dear girl, dear me, know that you are loved, that it wasn’t all your fault: You are forgiven because I forgive you. I forgive myself.

Megan Glosson

Megan Glosson is an avid writer and editor. She is an advocate for mental health and disabilties. Megan resides in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.

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