Dear Little Girl: A Note to Your Inner Child

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Guest Post by Nikki Newbauer

Image by QI BIN / Unsplash

Dear Little Girl, 

It took me a long time to acknowledge the little girl in me, much less sit down and write to her. Somewhere in the midst of all of the therapy and mental health crises, I discovered that she was there, and she had a voice that needed to be heard. On a snowy winter day when my daughter was asleep, and the husband was at work I took the time to sit quietly and address her for the first time. I don’t remember what those first words were, but I know that for an hour I didn’t look up from my letter to her. Now, it is time for me to write to all of the other little girls that have been buried beneath the false feelings of self-sufficiency and security.

My dad left when I was four years old. It wasn’t just that—it was the poverty I lived in with my single mother, my crippling anxiety that nobody knew to notice, and years of suppressing the pain that I didn’t know how to process. It was a domino effect—one thing led to the other. Then, it was all triggered and there was no stopping the inevitable demolition of what I thought had stood so strong for so long.

At 22, the bulk of PTSD had become so ingrained in my very bones that I ached all over. Newly married, my husband and I began looking for answers to explain the body pain, debilitating fatigue, weakness, lapse of memory, and the dark cloud that seemed to hover over me.

Thousands of dollars and nine years later, I met with a therapist for the first time. She explained the severity of PTSD and the mind/body connection. She took me back to childhood memories that I didn’t know that I had. I was paralyzed by fear and couldn’t will myself to get better, feel better, or “be” better. My desire for control overtook the pain and I refused to go back to therapy for another year. “I can fix this.”, I thought. Another year taught me that I couldn’t heal in areas that I wasn’t willing to acknowledge.

Then, that winter day came where I stared at a blank notebook page and gripped the dull pencil in my right hand. I wrote until I couldn’t write anymore. I saw myself as a child—tangled hair pulled back into a scrunchie, a dirty face, and eager blue eyes. I was so eager to please and continuously starving for acceptance. I don’t remember everything that I wrote, but I remember writing, “I know that you needed to be understood. I am so sorry that I have hidden you for so long.”

Maybe you’re needing to be seen, little girl. Did you need someone to advocate for you? Were your tears hidden in hopes that you could keep the peace in your family? How were you abandoned? What were you afraid of? 

I haven’t healed entirely. In fact, healing is a continuous process for me. The same may be true of you. Let me encourage you by saying, “I see you. I hear you. You are lovely and you are loved.” Healing begins the moment you begin to open your eyes.

{Writing Prompt: Dear Little Girl, I am sorry that ______ happened and I am here to tell you that _________ was not your fault. Continue the letter as you feel inspired.}

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About Nikki Newbauer

Nikki is a hopeful humanitarian, wife, and Mama of one uniquely wonderful 5-year-old girl. I am passionate about loving others and spreading hope to strangers through my writing. My family and I live in Virginia and we're often hiking in Shenandoah National Park, coffee shop hopping, and looking for nearby creeks to play in. Oh yeah, and tacos! We're always on the lookout for tacos!

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