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Letter #3: "What you must pay attention to are their actions."

Letters to a Young Woman Project.

Women over the age of 40 write a letter to their younger selves.

TRIGGER WARNING: Childhood sexual abuse

Dear Sweet Little Girl,

You are not yet six years old, and I can see the sadness in your eyes. I know how alone you feel. I wish I could tell you that no harm would come to you in the next couple of years. I would do whatever I could to stop it from happening. I would tell you to stay at school until someone from home could pick you up, but there isn’t anyone who will be around to save you. Not your mother, she was working and so was your dad.

You were what they call a latchkey kid. You will experience more pain than a child, even a naughty one, should ever have to go through. I’m so sad for you and I am helpless. I can do nothing to protect you from your family. The ones that are supposed to protect you – have paved the way to destroy you.

I know you question why is this happening to you and why are they so mean to you, refusing to talk to you, telling you children are seen but not heard. Your brother slaps your face really hard and pushes you in a corner to stand for what I know seems like hours and hours because in truth it was. Today he could be put in jail for abusing you.

The boy who attacked you was told to do it by your brother. He told him where and when to grab you and pull you into the second-floor apartment. He told you he would kill you if you told anyone. I’m proud to say you spoke up for yourself. You told your mother and another brother. The other brother didn’t believe you, but your mother did – she just didn’t tell you. She never spoke of it to your father about this because it would have killed him or rather he would have killed someone else.

What did happen was your mother moved you from Boston to Los Angeles when you were 8 years old. Unfortunately, you suffered 3 years of sexual abuse at the hands of a 17-year-old.

Your parents were always gone. You spent very little time with your mother. In order to feel affection from her you had to grab a hold of her and hug her and kiss her as much as you could. By this time in her life, she was really tired of her children. Everyone of them, a disappointment.

You, I’m sure she loved you but she didn’t really want you. Your father wanted a daughter and so at 43 in 1945 you were born.

Be careful. You are so trusting. Please toughen up. You can’t trust them even when they say all the right things. What you must pay attention to are their actions. It’s not what they say, it’s what they do.

Please take your time – YOU are the prize not him. Make him wait and be yourself. If he can’t wait – don’t worry the right one will wait and he will love you for keeping him on his toes.

Don’t chase…remember it’s you that’s the prize. Don’t call him, if he doesn’t call, forget him. Just forget him. Naturally, just don’t jump into bed until you get to be the age I am now. Going to bed is wonderful I get it…but when you're young there is so much for you to learn and do for yourself. Getting hung up on the brooding, handsome bastard takes years off of your life.

Find joy and be around people who emanate joy. Believe me laughter and fun are far more rewarding than worrying about what “he thinks,” says or does. Keep your independence. Remember you give bastards permission to disrespect you. The moment you give that away he will treat you like a piece of furniture. And he will cheat.

Make him want you. Be just busy enough, tired enough and have options. When you meet the “one” you will know. You will also know that he will love you for who you are. The true connection is friendship – because when the hot sex is no longer the burning bush – you will have memories to share and conversations that go on for days. Your love will deepen because you trust each other and you respect each other.


Dorsay, Age 76

To participate in this project please visit Letters to a Young Woman

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