To my many selves,
I want to love you.
I want to heal all the tender
Hurting parts.

I want you to know how smart
And funny you are,
And how it’s immeasurably okay
That you take up space.

I want you to know
How cool I think it is that at eight
You could skateboard with
All the neighborhood boys
Even if they got you in trouble
For playing with fire,
(Something that kept happening
For your whole adult life)
You kept up,
Got scraped up,
And weren’t ever afraid
To be different.

I want to hold nine year old you
And tell you how it’s okay,
You stole the candy from your classmates,
On Valentine’s day,
Because the love your Mother gave
Was never quite enough
To make you feel loved.
So, you acted up desperate
Grasping for more,
However you could get it.
I see you. I know you.
I forgive you. I love you.

I want ten year old you to know
That I understand how small you felt;
How weak and invisible.
So, you sought out horses,
And grew strong,
brushing their manes,
Riding far, and fast,
and away.
Your jewelry boxes
Filled with horse hair,
And clippings from hooves,
That you held when afraid,
To be whisked on memory once again,
I want to ride with you,
Laughing and screaming all the way.

To eleven,
Alone, family
Scared. Under beds. Sleep walking.
I want to hold you, and keep you safe.
Their words and their shouting
Isn’t your fault. And I know how much
You just want them to love each other
And you.
And how this is when your Mother’s Pain, became a burden
you started learning
you were to carry.

This was the year your childhood ended.

I want you to know I understand
You’re with me now, on birthdays,
Holidays, and vacations.
How I see you coming through
when I cry at beauty;
See puppies, and kitties.
And I’m so glad I can give you these gifts.
Mom forgot how to eat and so
Then did you.
An emptiness grew that was in part of,
But caused by more,
Than just a lack of food.

And to every self after I know you too.
How you hide and pretend
You’re not here because to be
Might mean you’re also available
To be victim, to more darkness,
Pain, fear, and abuse,
And how each of you kept shrinking,
Each one of you desperately hurt,
Splintered, and buried.
I’m seeking you now.
I’m calling you home.
I’ve remembered my sovereignty.
I’m reclaiming OUR truth.
That each of you deserved more.
To each one of you,
I feel you,
I’m safe now,
I forgive you,
I love you,
I’ve lit all the lanterns,
Rekindled the fires,
I’ve prepared all the beds,
And replanted all the flowers.
I’m here now. I’m waiting for your return.
You’re welcome, when you’re ready
Come HOME.

-Angel Marie Russell