Get Back on Your Soapbox

By Erika Geraerts, August 30, 2023

Read time: 3 Mins

Get Back on Your Soapbox Image

I’ve been reading your journals, the ones you put in a box for whatever reason, perhaps knowing that I’ll be looking back on them some day.

You were 8, 10, 16, 21, 25, 28, 30. It goes on. Writing has been the gift that has kept giving. Even if you didn’t realise it at the time.

I recognise the me in you over the years. Most of the time. Sometimes, I wonder who she is.

It’s crazy to think that 8 year old me thought the same things I still think now. You asked the same questions, cried over the same things, got excited about the same events.

I just want to say that I’m sorry. I’m sorry I couldn’t be there for you. And when I say that, I mean the me that now knows things that weren’t ok, that you couldn’t have known.

I wish I could have stopped things happening. I wish I could have made things happen. I wish I could have been there either way.

People say they have no regrets. I think that’s stupid, I have plenty. I just deal with them every day.

But I also know that I’m me, because of you. Because of what happened to you, and because of how you handled things.

I’m me because of your innocence and playfulness that made you naive and easy to be manipulated. But this innocence also made you curious and open and creative.

Somewhere along the way, people are going to tell you you’re too much. Other people are going to tell you you’re not enough. People will tell you to trust them when they shouldn’t be trusted. People will tell you that secrets are ok. People are going to make you fall in love with their potential, not their reality. You’re going to feel like people left because of you. You’re going to feel like it was all your fault. You’re going to feel like you have to fix everything. You’re going to think that the only answer is fast. You’re going to let guilt control your life. You’re going to leave, because you’ll believe that if you stay, someone else will walk away.

You’re going to follow a blueprint, until you realise you can make your own. You’re going to muffle your own voice, because you don’t want to challenge the norm.

People say everything happens for a reason. I think that’s stupid too.

I think everything happens.

And then we make reason.

To survive. And to thrive.

Everything happened to you. Good and bad. Things you didn’t deserve, that no one deserves. You’ve been lucky too, and worked hard along the way.

I reason with myself, that these things have made you stronger, resilient, independent. Qualities that have served you for a long time, at work, travelling, in the beginning of relationships, when you’re on your own.

I reason with myself, that it’s made you defensive, closed, and untrusting. Qualities that have let you down for a long time. At work, travelling, in the middle of relationships, and when your friends need you most.

I reason with myself, that this is the whole point of life: to question, to learn, to understand, and find the middle ground.

That’s who I was: you, back then.

And this is me now.

I have more choices than you did. More knowledge, more experience. I asked about our family, and I learnt about their past. I know how it’s shaped me. Therapy helps. So does spirituality, and all that it entails. I know what’s right and wrong. I know that repair can follow rupture. I know that I don’t have to please everyone. I know that without suffering we can’t experience and appreciate joy.

So I’m telling you, that today I’ve got my own back – and yours. I know why you show up sometimes, and why you’re scared. I get that. You’ve been through a lot. I’m gonna take care of us now.

To me, and you. I say:

Trust your voice.

Use your words.

Have the courage to be disliked.

And the courage to be happy.

You’re enough, either way.

Get back on that soapbox

Return to issues