A letter to my 16 year old self | TheKavanaghSisters.com Skip to content

Dear 16-year-old me

Dear Joyce, this may seem strange, but this letter is from the future you.  As hard as that is to believe it is true.  I know you are going through a rough time now, and my wish is that this information may help you.

Advice

Firstly, stop all the worrying and self-hatred. I know it has become your norm but make a new habit and realise just how perfect you are. Start eating healthy and when Rose offers you a cigarette say no. You know you don’t like them, and they will not make you any more part of the group than you are right now. No more fasting or starving yourself, you are punishing the wrong person.

Dad

You need to understand that dad is not the big brave man you see him as. He is in fact, small, fat and always worried that you will find the strength to say NO or tell on him.  I also know you believe you have no control. I would love to tell you that you can say no, but I also know you have no way of connecting with your inner strength at this moment, that too will come believe me.  In time you will get control and the abuse is coming to an end for you.  Next year you will get your periods and Dad will stop abusing you.

Dad is wrong to do what he is doing to you and your sisters.  It is his shame to carry so leave that with him and focus on your innocence with pride.

Self-abuse

After the abuse stops you must be more careful than ever because when he stops with the sexual abuse, you will start to punish yourself and go over all the ‘what if’s’ and ‘why’s’ of your past.  It is essential that you use this space to become more mindful and know that you are completely innocent.  You had nothing to do with the abuse, you held no power and had no choice but to do as you were told. I know that sounds simplistic, but it is the truth you need to hold onto to get through the next few years.

I am so sorry this happened to you, but you need to know you are 100% innocent this is all down to him.  He is sick and needs help but that is not your problem. Don’t be ashamed or afraid that people may find out.  He will suffer a lot more than you and the story will come out eventually.

Boys

Boys are no more special than girls. Treat them all with respect and demand respect back.  Boys won’t love you if you let them touch you and sex is not love.

Please believe me when I say none of it matters.  Stress, self-hatred, homework, how stupid you feel, boys and sex.  I am not saying don’t try everything, after all that is where all your learning comes from. Don’t judge yourself harshly. Know you have done the best with the cards you have been dealt, so be proud.

Love yourself

Be proud of yourself as you have been through a lot more than any 16-year-old should ever have to go through. This alone is an indication of your strength.  Don’t worry if you don’t feel that yet, it will come to you.

Spend time building yourself up and get a job outside the home. Be a good friend and don’t be afraid to be honest.  Dad is right about one thing, family is very important and believe it or not your sisters will be your best friends when you are a little older.

Mam

Help mum by doing little things that will make her life easier. Have her tea ready when she comes in from work. Tidy up the house so she can sit and relax at the end of the day. Tell her you love her. She is going through a rough time right now.

Mam learned a long time ago that closeness to her children only gives dad a weapon to further control her. She doesn’t know how to reverse that decision. Have real conversations with her and get to know as much as you can about her.  There will come a time when you would give anything to be able to speak with her for although she lives well into her eighties, you will lose her long before then as she develops Alzheimer’s.

What others think

Don’t be overly concerned about what others think of you.  Your gifts are unique to you and you will help a lot of people by being steadfast and honest.  It’s up to you what way you go and remember there is no right or wrong way.  You will have some uncomfortable moments in your life but none of them will kill you and all of them leave good learning for you to build up your strength. Just know you’ll come through it all. All hurt is temporary and is always followed by healing so enjoy the process and don’t get hung up on the outcome.

Spirituality

Stay spiritually connected as angels are always at hand. Speak to them as you would to your friends, cause they are friends and will get you through some dark moments. Worry less, love lots, and don’t be afraid to get hurt or be left alone. Hurt is temporary and being alone is cool. Don’t be concerned it’s not going to happen.

Your future

What if I told you, you made it, and all you wanted you got.

By the age of 21 you will meet your husband and he will give you the family you want.  This relationship won’t last but you get beautiful children from it and your husband will remain a good friend for life.  Like mam you don’t know when or how to stop as you will have six children, two boys and four girls. All of them will know they are loved by you and they will love you in return.

You will have many ups and downs but believe me when I tell you it will all work out and you will be fine.  Please hold onto the knowledge that you are a very special person and no matter what happened to you it will not take away from that.

Trust me when I say that you will not only survive this process but will excel from the lessons in this experience. Keep up the writing as you are good at it and will go on to have two books published later in life. You will go on to help millions of people who have had the same experience.

Joyce

Published inEffects of Childhood Sexual Abuse

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One Comment

  1. Barry Carroll Barry Carroll

    Joyce, reading this brought tears to my eyes. You are so courageous. And your words will undoubtedly help others. Keep it up. slainte

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