Dear Future Husband,
I’m sorry. I don’t know if I know you, yet, or if you are someone I have yet to meet, but already I do not deserve you. I have tried to guard my heart, but have failed you in so many ways, my love. Please forgive me…
The letter went on. With a follow up tucked in later journals and later pages of those journals. I pulled them out instinctively, for a laugh, and read them to my Someone. I began with a dramatic hand in the air and placed it over my heart in a longing Juliet sort of way. But as my teenage self spiraled down and down into a pool of remorse and fear and self hatred, the mood shifted. I looked up at my Someone. He was sad. I looked into myself. I was sad.
“I’m sorry,” he said.
“Yeah,” I said. “Me, too.”
We found ourselves in a studio in the woods of northeastern Michigan, and the late winter was setting in with twenty degree highs and winds that knocked the power out for hours. Some of my favorite friends are in therapy, and I am envious. I ask them questions about what they are learning and pretend I am laying on my back on a couch with the psychiatrist from Animaniacs writing incessantly on a wire-bound notepad. I blame my transience and my lack of health insurance on not finding my own therapist. I am coming to realize that the work they have been doing is difficult, and I was not ready.
Like a wounded animal, I have been crawling to dark places alone, concentrating on the healing, with ears alert for intruders. Even the well meaning kind.
There in the dark, cooling studio in Michigan, I started a page I had been intending to start since I had found the letters to My Future Husband. Or maybe that I had never intended to write at all. Or maybe one that should have been written fifteen years before.
I woke up cranky and angry with the prospect. I was no longer envious of my therapy friends. I was scared. I entered into a place in my mind resembling something of an old mining shaft and started digging around. All of those old journals I had carried around without cracking open were cracking open here with all I had carried around. There on a windowsill for hours I watched the birds and walked through the old mining shaft. I emerged more broken than before, still wounded, still alert. But different.
I am ready now. And have been since. It’s been a long few weeks. But I am ready.
I spend days in coffeeshops writing things down and reading notes from my friends’ therapy sessions. My Someone often sits across from me, and says nothing as I cry or stare out the window or draw pictures of birds.
Dear Future Husband…
This was a note that was not written for my Someone, we know now. This was 15 and 16 and 17 and 18 year old me writing to 31-year-old me.
me: Hey– are you there?
Me: Yeah, I’m here, I’ve read what you wrote.
me: Do we make it? Am I okay?
Me: You are okay. We made it. And I’m coming back for you now. I’m going to save you.
It was in this way that I found out that I had created a time loop to keep me safe from 15 to 31. That 15-year-old me was waiting in her bunker of journals, not for her future husband or a prince charming, but for her to save herself.
From age 15 to 19, I was molested and raped by a worship leader of a house church who was 15 years older than me.
I am just learning how to say that out loud. I am telling on him for my 15-year-old self. I am advocating for her. It’s really, really hard.
July 5, 2017
me: How is it going out there?
Me: Good. I think you can come out, now.
me: I would like to believe you.
Me: Take your time.