I’ve been very sad today. I wasn’t sure why, but I think it has something to do with the little girl inside of me. She has taken care of me my entire life. Her tactics and methods were not always approved by others or even myself, but they have kept me alive.
Kimmie (me) realized by around age five, there was no one looking out for her. Her mom gone, her dad a shell, and her stereotypical stepmother were not there for her. Her brother was in the same boat, though much older and biding his time to get out of there. Her sisters, even older, shipped off to a relative, once removed. So she got up by herself (no alarm clock provided), watched TV alone, grabbed her sandwich off the counter, and got herself to Kindergarten. There was the one time when she missed the cue that it was time to go to Kindergarten–kids walking by her window–and she wandered the street scared, crying, unsure of what to do. Her dad showed up in his car, laughing at her tears and hugging her. That was nice. He showed up and did something about it, which was unusual.
This little girl became, or maybe already was, ultra observant. She had to figure out how to get her needs met, how to survive. She had to squelch the fear, loneliness, and feelings of being unloved. The only way she knew how was to escape into books and food. When she was cast into the spidery Michigan basement to sleep at night, she would stay up until all were in bed and stuff bread into her mouth and then sneak back downstairs. Escapism kept her from dwelling on the fact that no one made sure she showered, appropriately dressed, brushed her hair, and she became not only the verbal punching bag of her step-siblings but also of the school. She knew she was not valued or loved. She had to keep her head down and trust no one.
Just read and eat and watch TV. Those were her friends, and it worked. The little girl is now 50. But she is aware she is losing her control over the older Kimberly. That’s right; she even changed what name she goes by. The little girl knows she will have to go to her proper place, Kimberly’s memories, which is where she belongs. She is scared for them–Kimmie and Kimberly. She is scared that the new tactics Kimberly is learning to navigate life will fail, for they are mostly untested. She is sad that she is no longer needed.
Kimmie, this is Kimberly. I love you and am so proud of you for surviving. Thank you for getting me to this point in my life. I see you. I value you. I love you. You did all the hard work, and here I am, three children and two grandchildren later, finally, able to let you rest. I’m finally able to stand up and let my adult self take charge. You have been in charge for so many years out of necessity and then out of habit and fear. Now I say to you, “Your job is over, and you may rest in the love of the Father who created you. Thank you for stepping back to your proper place in my life. I love you.”