Dear Deena,
It is not that you are weak, it is not that you are timid. It is because you were trained to wear blood-stained coloured glasses and told to never question what life could look like through anything else.

Those glasses you wear will be stained by abuse, torture, rape, racism, misogyny, limited privilege, lack of security, instability, neglect and offer you no protection in your childhood, which today has shaped the internal obstacles you have had to continue to overcome.

You will have to overcome a lot little Deena, complex PTSD, anxiety, depression, wavering self-worth, insecurities, attachment issues, abandonment issues, mistrust and trusting too much, a pattern of accepting ongoing abuse because of a sense of familiarity, not knowing your basic human rights, being forced to be small, and most dangerously, staying silent.

Silent when you’re hurt, silent when you need help, silent when someone does you wrong, silent when someone continues to do you wrong. Silent when you’re yelled at, silent when you’re threatened, silent when you’re grabbed, silent when you’re sexually assaulted, silent when you’re physically abused, silent when a knife is held against your neck, silent when you’re raped. You will be taught to live in deafening silence. This silence was okay for a time, little Deena for it was the way you learnt to survive your childhood, but when you grow up, I need you to realise that you don’t have to be silent anymore.

You no longer have to freeze and you now as a grown woman have the strength and resilliance to fight back. You’ve learned what your basic human rights are and what you’ve been deprived of for all these years and you are getting closer to learning what healthy and respectful relationships are outside of chaos.

You have fought every single day with the world but also against yourself. You are no longer isolated, you are not alone, and you are winning.

Your best survival strategy now is no longer to freeze or be small or most importantly it is NOT to stay silent. The best way to ensure your safety now is to assert your boundaries and call out all of the wrong both against you and towards others.

You will everyday wake up and continue undoing the pain and damage the trauma has caused you so that you can live a life you deserve, a life you never dreamt could be possible, but you will do it, again and again and again, because you no longer accept the mistreatment and abuse inflicted upon you. You don’t have to anymore, and you will no longer let others take your safety and success away from you and even though some days might feel scary, you won’t let the fear undo all your hard work. You are strong and you are worthy.

Own your body and use your voice, do not mistake vulnerability for weakness, break the patterns and cycles of abuse in your life and make a change. Be giving to be given, stay strong but don’t be closed off to people, be cautious but not cynical, be loving to those who love you back but know when to set boundaries.

Be kind to yourself and even thought it might be hard, learn to love yourself just as you are, you have fought so hard, and you will continue to fight every single day.

Deena Lynch.