I’m good at berating myself. I’m highly skilled at poking holes in the little girl’s story. I know a lot about denial and about minimizing the harm that was done. I’ve used all those tricks for a long time–getting close to 20 years, if I’m to be honest. And all those tools are still available to me. I can pick them up again later, if I need to. But this month, I remind myself, I’m believing the girl. That means every day I walk past that box of tools and tricks, intentionally leaving them on the floor. (They’ll still be there in August, if I need them.)
This month’s for the little one. I believe her. I won’t let myself do anything but believe her. I believe she was abused, and I believe it was a big deal. I believe she has carried the hurt by herself for a very long time and could use some help. I believe she has the right to be unhappy, and I believe I can sit with that unhappiness and not try to push it away. I believe she can also be comforted by things she loves, things I love, things we love together: the dogs, the sunshine, good music, good books, sweet family, funny stories, drawing pictures, admiring nature.
Today I got several of those things, all together in one day. I played with the dogs, tended the flowers in my garden, enjoyed a book I’m reading (Americanah, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie), and in the evening, listened to live blues on the waterfront. This is all for me, and for that little girl.
I can always be mean to her later, if necessary. But maybe by August I won’t feel like it anymore.