Back then, we felt like an adult in a kid’s body. 

Now, we feel like a kid in an adult’s body. 

Back then, we thought we were “special” because the adults sometimes or often treated us like adults. 

Now, we know— that wasn’t the time or the place for us to have been treated like adults. 

Back then we trusted the adults around us— almost all of the adults around us. 

Now, we realize that being an adult doesn’t necessarily make someone trustworthy. 

Back then we assumed that, if something happened to us, we caused it. 

Now, we know— there really are things that happen TO people, that they can’t control, or sometimes even influence. 

Back then we were told that people who share our name and DNA “love” us, by definition. 

Now we know— love is a verb, not a given. 

Back then we figured if our parent didn’t seem interested in or attached to us, it must have been something about US— we must not be interesting or worth attaching to. 

Now we know— there are lots of reasons why humans are or aren’t interested in other humans, or do or don’t attach to them…and those reasons almost never have to do with us. 

Back then we figured there are certain things that “normal” or “competent” humans just know how to do— and if we don’t know how to do them, it must be because we’re abnormal or incompetent. 

Now we know— we can’t do what we weren’t shown how to do, taught how to do, encouraged to do, supported in learning how to do. 

Back then we assumed if we felt bad, it’s because we were bad. Broken. 

Now we know— good people can feel bad. How we feel isn’t a reflection of our worth or virtue. 

Back then we may not have known why our parent was angry all the time— but we strongly suspected it had to do with us. Hell, we might have been TOLD it was because of us. 

Now we know— chronically angry or aggressive people are likely to be chronically angry or aggressive whether or not we’re in their way or life. 

Back then we didn’t know why we were lonely— but we knew that lonely was so lonely, alone. 

Now we know— it’s entirely possible to feel very lonely, even in a crowd of people. Even n a relationship. 

Especially in a relationship. 

Back then we fantasized about someone rescuing us. 

Now we know— we rescue us. 

We rescue ourselves by turning toward that young version of us we carry around n our head and heart. 

We rescue ourselves by seeing that young version of us in ways we weren’t seen. 

We rescue ourselves by holding that young version of ourselves in ways we weren’t held. 

(There are many ways to hold someone. Sometimes it’s possible to be felt very held by someone you’ve never even physically met.) 

We rescue ourselves by refusing to shame or bully ourselves, the way we were shamed and bullied by our abusers. 

We rescue ourselves by being there for ourselves.  

By having our own back. 

By being on our own side. 

By giving ourselves the benefit of the doubt. 

By treating ourselves like someone we love. 

Because love IS a verb— not a given. 

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