I’ve been given permission to share this letter that a childhood sexual abuse survivor wrote to her little self. It’s so beautiful, so poignant, that I wanted you to see it.
Lavender and Periwinkle
If I had written your story little one, there would be so much you wouldn’t know. I would’ve written your story with lavender ink or maybe periwinkle. It would be written in the color of delight. It would be a story that smelled like the forest, set along the icy rivers where the sunlight catches the ripples and creates diamonds. It would be like the bright snowy days when the cold air and clear sun mix to emit sparks of dust-like magic. Safe like Camas with Betty.
If I had written your story you would have only known warmth and safety. I would’ve written it so that touch meant a hand upon your head in the warm sunshine. Or perhaps I would’ve even written it to wrap you regularly in arms that felt like they were made just for you, and never made it hard to breathe or caused you pain.
The story would’ve given you a hand to hold, and large hands would never be frightening, never looming, never fisted, never painful.
Little one, I would have woven the rich and tangible colors of your senses into your own world of discovery. Your eyes would only have looked upon images that made you feel the joy on the page as your own. Like a brightly printed picture book, and not an ugly reflection. Your eyes, little one, would be shielded from images that made you question your value and flooded your soul with shame.
When I wrote your story you would only ever taste sweet offerings that would make you desire more, things children delight in like cotton candy at the fair. Bitter would never be on your tongue.
If I held the pen there would be no dark places in the setting of your story. Only light would illuminate your world and your heart would never beat faster in a shadow. Your world would hold no unwanted hands, no threatening words, no shame. You would play without fear or surprise. Games would simply mean you were engaged and entertained in a way that created more growth and discovery. An afternoon of swimming would mean you were only ever a dolphin or a mermaid or beautiful in your sun bronzed skin. The place I created for you to sleep would always have a canopy made of stars, and you would sleep in safety, the night would only be filled with sweet sounds and love would stand guard around your bed.
Little one, I would have written your story so imagination was only ever a wonderful thing that brought you to new worlds, to places filled with joy. Most of all little one, I would’ve left the pen in your hands, held only by you so that you could become the writer you were intended to be. If we had written your story little one, there would be so much we wouldn’t know, but we’d know the color of lavender ink and maybe periwinkle.
If you’d like to know more about how to love those who have endured exploitation, pick up a copy of WE TOO: How the Church Can Respond Redemptively to the Sexual Abuse Crisis.