I have been thinking about this letter for a long time. The things I would say if I could talk to you back then. A lot of it was angry. I am not sure who I was angry at, but I thought it was you.
Why didn’t you run?
Why didn’t you fight?
Why did you make mum cry so much?
I feel sad now, that all those years people blamed you. And in many ways, for years, I did too. I am not angry with you and I am truly sorry I ever was angry at you.
When I started my healing process there was lots of talk about “The inner child”. I used to think, what madness is that…talking to the past you? You as a kid? Madness.
But, over time I learnt that the child in all of us will always be part of us. And how we treat that part of us is important.
So, I started to look at you Blondy. Really look.
So angry. So defiant. So…dirty. I hid you for a while. But you have always been there. In my minds eye you will always be 13. Just like this picture. 13, with your arms crossed, drunk and smoking. And angry.
When I tried to deal with my “Inner child” I almost chastised you. Questioned things that you had done. Blamed you for not trying harder to get away. Embarrassed by things you have done. Can you believe that? Yes…you probably can…because that’s all you know.
Looking at this picture and remembering where you were scares me. You were 13. I can remember where that picture was taken. It’s near the flat. It’s a summers evening, say about 6, still warm. You were so drunk. It scares me that you will continue drinking Bacardi for hours yet. Probably until you pass out. No wait, I know how this evening ends and you don’t pass out. But it would have been easier if you had of.
So, this is the point I would like to step in and speak to my younger self. Right in this moment. As this picture was taken, I want to walk up to you and speak to my younger self.
Let’s talk about what is happening to you Blondy…I know you don’t want to…but, let’s do it
You’re Not with your usually friends tonight. You’re going “Out Out”. Nadine has kept on all week, so you eventually agree to go. But it’s a club so you need to look older…she said. The picture does not show what you are wearing, but can you remember? Knee high black boots that lace up. Borrowed from someone, and a little too big so you have 2 pairs of socks on so they stop slipping (Feet will get hot when your dancing). Jean hot pants that are too small, a silk blouse that one of the girls have knotted up so your flat belly is on show. One of the older girls cut a piece of lace and made it into a choker around your neck. Makeup and hair done. You look about 16. Apart from the baby face. No changing that. The things they make you do, all on them. Not your fault. Your 13 and should not have to do….go….Argggggghh. I didn’t think it would be this hard. Look…you are a child and they are adults. They should never be hurting you. OK. Never. Bastards. I am getting angry again but its not at you. Never at you.
Am I judging you? No. Never.
Do I think you look young? Yes, too young to be drinking like this. Too young to be drssed up like this.
Can no one else see you? I know that’s how you feel. That no one can hear or see you because if they did…wouldn’t someone stop it? I don’t know why no one is stopping it Blondy. But they will see you one day.
I need to tell you a few things.
All these things that have been happening are not because of “How you are”. That’s just an excuses adult use when they want to lay blame elsewhere than themselves. What did the social worker say a few weeks after this picture was taken…” Bad things happen to bad people”. Don’t listen to her. She should be making you safe not trying to make you feel guilty. You should Tell her what is happening. I mean really happening. Tell her that you carry a knife because you fear being robbed….no wait … you can’t… she will tell, and you will be arrested.
Tell her that they are making you go country and the last time you went it was too much…no wait…if you do that she will tell, and you will be arrested.
OK …I guess you will have to say nothing.
I want to tell you that its going to be OK. Except…it won’t be for a while yet. A lot of stuff is going to happen, and you need to step away from all of it. Please just step away. How will you eat? Well…. I don’t have an answer for that. What if the electric goes, how will you top it up? I don’t have an answer for that either.
Ok, Blondy please tell someone how sick your mum is. That she passed out on the kitchen floor and you couldn’t get her up. That she is now having 4-5 panic attacks a day and that she wakes you through the night, asking for you to comfort her. You feel like you have a child. Just tell someone. Will they take her away? Well…. she needs help so maybe. Where will you go? I am not sure, maybe emergency foster care. Is it safe there? We both know the answer to that but how long can you look after her? Forever you say…. well that’s a long time. Is mum mad? No. she is not well. But OK I get it; you can’t tell anyone.
I can see now for the first time that you had no one to tell. No one who had your best interest at heart. You must have been so scared. We were so scared.
Please go back to school, trust me on that one. Your tired from working all night? Don’t work all night then. Wait. Sorry. I take that back, I know that you have no choice in that. But you could go school sometimes, maybe miss out Mondays when English is first lesson and then you won’t have to read out loud in class. And Tuesdays is pointless because they have PE, you’re not allowed physical contact with anyone. Try Wednesday, but only the last hour because its maths and you get upset with that lesson. Ok…go in Thursday but leave well early because you still must give Jay that money and he picks his girlfriend up after school. Friday…. Friday is party day you say. Ok…well …think about the school thing.
Ok…this one is really important. I need you to listen. Stop carrying a knife. Yes, I know why you have one and that’s not Ok. Knives kill people and I don’t want anyone to get hurt so I never carry a knife. What’s that? you don’t care…. I know you don’t. Not right now …but a few weeks after this photo is taken you are going to do something that will change how people look at you, so chuck it in the bin. Just dash it. How will you protect yourself when you go out tonight? You don’t need to, just stay in. Just don’t answer the door. Just sit with your mum and watch TV for the night. Please. I don’t know why you are smirking, I’m serious.
Blondy, they are not your friends. None of them. Don’t screw your face up like that. I’m telling you. Every single one of them is using you in some way. Even S? No not S. I take that back. She is as scared as you are. But Nadine will make a choice between you eventually, and one of you will have to go party. Of course, I know it won’t be you. She has other plans for you. That’s why you need to get away from her and all of them. Don’t shake your head. Think about this, if they are your friends then why do you always owe them something? Why do you always have to do “One more thing”? Why do you have to carry the stuff that no one else will? No, I’m not trying to mug you off, I am just saying.
I want to tell you I am proud of you. Wait…don’t walk away…. I know you hate praise, but I need to tell you. I’m serious. You are so strong, and you are trying so hard to keep it all together. I’m proud of you. Sit back down. Can I give you a hug? OK OK ….no hug. I’m sorry, I forgot that we are this stage of life…where you have stopped any physical interaction. Yes, I know why, don’t worry, we don’t have to talk about it.
You have some questions? Ok…go ahead.
When does life stop being hard? Well…. sorry to tell you that it doesn’t, not really. We just have that kind of life where we are on the constant hustle, trying to keep our family safe and fed. Forever? Well….im 39 and I am still on the grind, but in a good way. I tell you what though, some amazing things are coming your way I promise you that. Will you be rich? No. No matter how hard you work the streets we don’t get rich.
Does it get worse than what it is right now? I wish you didn’t ask me that. Yes, it does. But you could make the choice to walk away from certain situations and change it. How? I don’t know how. I couldn’t see a way out then and I don’t see one for you now. Maybe speak to someone at school. Oh…you don’t go. Ok…what about the police…. alright…. you can stop laughing. What about telling mum? Nope, your right, it would make her so sad. Well, you will have to just tell no one then. Yes, your right, that is fucking shit. If it makes you feel better, when you grow up, kids tell you when you when bad things are happening, and you do help them. You never ignore it. That don’t help you right now. I know…. I’m sorry…that all I have right now. Oi…we go Uni…yes for real. Why would I lie. You will go Uni Blondy. You will achieve many things…I promise you that. Does mum see us go Uni…Mum is with us always Blondy…..
Will you ever feel safe? Yes. Yes, you will. Very soon you are going to meet 2 boys and they are going to make you safe. What are their names? Charlie and Billy. How will you know them when you see them? Trust me, you will know. A clue…Ok…You will know what real love feels like…. See… look at you screwing up your face….rude ….you will see. They are going to save you. Do I promise…Yes, I promise Blondy. They will save you. Don’t cry….I can see your crying….OK OK…your not crying. It’s cool
One Last question Blondy, we both got to get back to work. What’s you last question?
Oh. Are you sure you want to ask that? No No, its fine. It just makes me sad.
Will you ever make mum proud? Yes. You already are. You always have and you always will. I think we both need to remember that.
Blondy, so many people failed you. But I see you. I hear you. And you don’t have to be angry anymore. Because we are safe now.
And I meant what I said…I am proud of you x