Dear Past Me,
It’s been what seems like an eternity since I last thought of you. The memories of you terrify me to the point of disbelief. Perhaps, it’s because I’ve told myself it’s nonessential as to how our life started out so why dwell on the past?
I’ve missed you greatly. As my mind is starting to slip more and more now a days this just might be the perfect way to forever remember before I forever forget.
Yesterday I drove by a farm similar to where you’re living now. It was close to sundown, the hay fields were yet to be cut and bailed. The tall grass was swaying in the breeze, back and forth and with the sunset it made the perfect farmland photo. I mean I could submit this pic to a nature magazine, it was so surreal. Then I remembered this was never a beautiful place in my life when in fact it should have been.
I want to make sure you’re no longer trying to hide in that tall grass in your escapes from Father? I know in the evening Mother is up in the barn, busy milking the cows. You know this is the time he comes for you. Hiding in the grass I know you think is better than under your bed but neither will save you from his unwanted touch. In either place he finds you and takes away your ability to breathe or scream for help. Please listen to me now, after Mother tucks you in sneak to the barn. Fall asleep in the sawdust bin, Mother will have to pass this on her way out so she’ll find you and take you back to the house.
This monster, he tells you that it’s your fault and that he’s only doing this because you’re too much like Mother. Don’t believe him. He will terrify you with stories and details of how he’ll kill Mother and make you watch if you tell her the truth. He does this as it’s his only way of scaring you into submission. Imagining that you’ll be stuck with only him if Mother dies is just a ploy. Run from him!
I know this is scary and it feels as if it’s tearing up your insides, feels like it’s ripping a hole in your stomach, causing the heaviness in your heart. But don’t allow him to take this control.
I want to believe that if you tell Mother she will leave sooner and you’ll be taken from his hideous dry and calloused hands. His foul breath and harsh words. No more will Mother place you in his lap, as she’ll know the truth. She will understand and she won’t blame you. Protection will come with truth; you must take this letter and trust that it’s authentic. I wouldn’t steer you wrong.
Once you’ve escaped you will start to lead a normal life where you aren’t inferior to others. Let your heart sore and believe in yourself. Don’t hide in the corners of reality, break free and never let him have control of your emotions again. One thing to take from your childhood experience is that if you can survive that horrid man then you can survive anything.
Don’t try to fit in so hard, be yourself. Strong and powerful are two words you must learn to associate with yourself. This might help with the bullying you face in middle and high school. Loving yourself will allow others a chance to love you as well. With the self-doubt it allows the harsh words to cut you even deeper. Laugh at them when those snotty popular girls make fun of your cloths or hair. You can reply back and tell them things like, “I may be ugly but at least I’m not a shallow, unfeeling asshole” or “You’re so funny, did your Mom teach you how to be a bitch?” I know this isn’t how you should do it and not a parent in the world would agree but it will be satisfying and then you can walk away with your head held high.
Getting married at nineteen is a step that I can neither explain as good or bad because a few years later you will create the greatest gift in your life. You will have a son and he is by far an accomplishment you’ll never take for granted. In making the marriage choice you’ll enjoy a twenty one year marriage. I warn you it will fail. But don’t let that stop you, as there are too many good memories during that time that can never be replaced or surpassed. Prepare yourself now though and never forget, a cheater is always a cheater. A liar is always going to be a liar. Enter into your marriage understanding this and don’t fool yourself believing that “he’ll never do that to me”.
In your marriage be more commanding and assertive. You’re a very agreeable and trusting person and this is used against you. When he tries to spend money it’s okay to say no! Don’t let him fool you by saying that you can afford it. Take over the budget and fight for your rights. It doesn’t matter that he’s older. Older doesn’t mean wiser in this case. Allowing him to lead you down this path proves to be a serious mistake, one that I wish could be avoided.
WARNING: He is going to cheat on you. Your heart is going to be broken for a period of time but it does heal and you will come out ahead, trust me on this. You’re a great detective when it comes to catching him so I have no worries for you in that department, kudos to you kid.
Typical stereotype he’s going to try and make you feel as if it’s your fault somehow that he chooses to cheat. Yes, and you buy into this crap for a while…Don’t!
A blessing is you’ll remain strong when in his presence and you’ll literally bring him to his knees at one point but he will continue to try and destroy your happiness. Make sure you find the money somehow someway and get a lawyer, don’t be so nice and make it known in the divorce it was his infidelity that broke the marriage, notirreconcilable differences.
Looping back around for a minute, remember how I mentioned to not over spend, this is one reason why. You have a beautiful house that you built on land that was given to you by your grandmother with the understanding that it would always stay in the family and passed down to your son someday. Because of the over spending and poor financial decisions you now have a pile of debt and what was to be the family inheritance has now become the banks. You got it, your divorce is now not only a crushing embarrassment and it’s a disaster. Because of this you will be forced into bankruptcy and loose everything.
Never will you feel more alone than at this point in your life. Even with your son to distract you and the emotional support from your family you still have a long road ahead of you so suck it up lady, you’ll need all the help you can get. When you realize you’ve never been alone nor have you ever dated or been with another man before it’s going to scare the hell out of you. Once you realize you’re a beautiful intelligent woman you will find you lot in life.
If you’ve skipped ahead to the end of this letter I don’t blame you. Finding out if there’s a happily ever after in your future is something I want to know as well.
I can tell you this, you’ll find the man of your dreams and your son becomes someone you always hoped he’d be. Now is the time to focus on you as a person. I can’t wait to explore our possibilities.
Beth Nichols was born and raised in Vermont and is currently living in Boston. She works full-time at a local hospital in sleep medicine and part time as a writer. She writes a blog about sleep studies and how to navigate the healthcare system in hopes of making it easier for people to take care of themselves. She is also in the middle of writing a novel. Her goal and dream is to someday write full-time.
When she is not working or writing Beth and her husband like to travel.