The message my 10-year-old self needed to hear to heal
Today, I sat on a train with Elvis Presley blaring through my soul, and I cried.
And I cried.
And I cried.
And I cried.
I cried for a girl I once knew, a long time ago.
A girl who one day, ran.
She ran and she ran and she ran.
She ran all the way to the safest edge of her 5-acre countryside home.
When she got there, she spun around to look upon the land she knew so well-
And she crumbled.
She didn't know if she was collapsing into the sky or the ground was falling into her.
She scrambled for air as she screamed for answers, and tried to clear away her tears with trembling fingers.
But the more she tried to see, the more she tried to breathe, and the more she tried to know- the less control she seemed to have.
Today, I cried for this girl.
Today, I was stuck in a moment in time with this girl, suspended in her fear, her despair, her agony.
Today, my 10 year old and 30 year old self collided... And I found myself near-hyperventilating on that train as I relived this moment with her.
Turns out this was the day it truly hit her.
Although she had watched her Mum's life disintegrate before her eyes for the past six months, been warned by her sister that their Mum would indeed not be surviving cancer, and recently attended her Mum's funeral-
It was not until this day everything came to a screeching holt and she had begun demanding answers from the sky.
"WHY did you have to leave me with him?!"
"WHY did you leave us?!"
"WHY is this happening to me?!"
My dad was harmless but of course an emotional wreck. For the weeks after the funeral, he played Elvis, very loudly. A lot.
I'd never heard either of my parents play Elvis before that.
And so here I was at 10, emotionally-starving for support, nurturing, understanding. Confused AF as to where my Mum had truly gone (didn't understand WTF 'heaven' was) and had no idea how I was meant to live each day motherless.
What would the rest of my life look like? How do I explain it to the kids at school instead of bursting into tears every time they innocently asked if my mum is picking me up in the afternoon? How do I possibly cope with all of these... feelings?
All I had was my boy, Elvis.
Before my Mum died, I was already an "over-sensitive", "over-emotional" whimsical girl who never felt truly understood, particularly emotionally, by anyone.
I've been told I'm too intense for as long as I can remember.
I've always been told to stop taking things to heart.
To stop taking things so personally.
To stop caring so much.
But what 10-year-old me learnt very clearly, in addition to all of these narratives, from this day forward is this:
"The people who love, nurture and protect you can disappear in an instant. This hurts, unbearably so. Don't let it happen again. Stay safe, stay alone, protected. Don't ever truly rely on anyone to always be there. No one has ever supported your emotional needs, and never will- this is your responsibility."
Turns out there was a reason why this memory resurfaced today. I had an important message to share with my 10-year-old self on this day. Love to give her. And a new story for her to know. One which, in the last 20 years of self-therapy, I had never told her.
Not because I was intentionally holding out on her, by the way. But because I hadn't realised until last week how much this detachment narrative was playing out in my ability to give and receive love to others, romantically, as a 30-year-old 'grown-up' woman.
So my post-Elvis-on-the-train chat with her went something a little like this in my head-
"Glorious Princess 10-year-old-Tessa. 1. I love you. 2. It's because I love you, I'm going to share advice you won't like-
It doesn't matter if people disappear in an instant, love them with your whole goddamn heart, anyway. Yes it's scary, yes you won't want to. Do it anyway. Go all in, let yourself fall, again and again and again. For love is all there is in this world my girl, it's the truest thing you'll ever know.
And- I know it might not seem possiblefor many years but you ARE going to meet people who WILL be able to emotionally support you. You really are. And it will be glorious. Everything you've ever dreamed of. Try not to runaway from them when it happens.
Young Tessa- I urge you. Dare. Dare to believe in Love. Dare to lead with Love. Dare to go to the grave rising and falling in Love like your life depends on it - Cause it kinda does (in the best way possible)."
Elvis told me at one point to have a little less conversation... but I politely told him to go get f*cked.
Hearing these words, 10-year-old me finally found her breath. And saying these words, 30-year-old me was finally released from this paralysing moment in time.
We both knew deep down, everything would be okay.
I realised though, in order to heal some more wounds, there was some more wisdom I wanted to share with my younger self (and anyone else's younger self who grew up with similar messages as I did)..
1. BE TOO GODDAMN INTENSE.
The world is suffering from an epidemic of inauthenticity and shallowness... PLEASE bless us with your depth! Those who tell you to be less intense just aren't ready to confront their own depths, it has nothing to do with you.
2. BE TOO GODDAMN SENSITIVE.
In a world where kindness and genuineness are the exception rather than the rule- PLEASE honour us with your sensitive superpowers! They are your gift disguised as a curse. Be intuitive AF too. The world could certainly use more trust. It is trust that is the true antidote to fear.
3. ALWAYS TAKE THINGS TO HEART.
Always. For where else would you want to take "things"? To your fear-driven brain who will unnecessarily over- analyse them on repeat? Your heart senses data SEVEN seconds before your brain does anyway. Your heart is the cornerstone of your truest self. Lead heart-first, always.
4. WEAR YOUR HEART ON YOUR SLEEVE.
In an era of disconnection, the world is craving connection. But many don't know how to overcome their fear of rejection to express their true feelings. So... Role model your gifts to them! Show us your heart. Show us how much you love, how freely you love, how boldly you love. Speak from your heart and others will hear you from theirs ❤️
5. CARE TOO GODDAMN MUCH --- AND YEAH GO CHANGE THE WHOLE GODDAMN WORLD TOO IF YOU WANT!
Your heart holds infinite wisdom and compassion, and is going to whisper relentlessly at you for the rest of your life to do more, be more, help more: to change the world, anyway. So, just go and fucking do it. Care too much about people. Love them "too much" - whatever that means. Love is infinite, it cannot possibly be limited or tamed.
Oh yeah PS... Everyone is going to tell you not to.
They will dull your dreams, feed you with fear and tell you to stop 'saving' others and to worry about yourself (which is good advice- you should definitely run away to bali or somewhere exotic and heal yo'self first before getting on your preachy high horse.)
Just remember though...
It's never your responsibility to get them to believe- it's simply your responsibility to believe in yourself.
The rest will follow.
I promise xx
"The wound is where the light enters you" Rumi