Cathexis Northwest Press
A letter to my 8-year-old self
By: Tara Jean
I love your patched up jeans, I love your cow-licked hair, your sleepy eyes- kept awake by the bad dreams.
I love the secret snacks under your bed, and the baby doll under your pillow.
I love your pink nail polish, chipped always.
I love the Arthur pajamas you wear night after night, and early in the morning as the house creaks keep you awake.
Little 8-year-old you,
Maybe sensitive isn’t the best word to describe… but, in tune.
In tune with your home as it sighs and its belly grumbles throughout the night.
In tune with the kids on the playground calling you “giraffe” because you’ve grown so much faster than you can keep up with.
In tune with the monsters in your room,
And the birds on your windowsill.
Kid, you’ve always felt everything.
Every lesson, learned the hard way.
Every goodnight felt like an eternity
Every birthday song felt slightly humiliating
And every year felt like a decade.
I wish I could tell you that you’d stop feeling everything in the pit of your stomach, but you won’t.
It’ll just become your superpower.
Feel it all, kid.
Feel it all.
Tara Jean (TJ) is an emerging Ottawa based writer. She writes primarily poetry and prose but dabbles in short stories as well. She self-published her first poetry collection in 2017 and is currently working on her next collection. She finds inspiration from her experiences living with mental illness, nature and human connection in all forms. When she isn't writing, you can find TJ walking the trails with her wife and dog, who rule her world.
*To support her work, purchase her book here: https://www.etsy.com/ca/listing/517119735/waves-a-collection-of-poems-by-tara-jean?ref=shop_home_active_1
“I wrote this poem during a period of my life where I am learning to take care of myself. Not just financially, but spiritually and emotionally. I wrote this at a time when I was feeling very out of touch with myself, my core, my inner-child. My mental health was terrible and I just wanted to remember simpler time. And thus, “A Letter to My 8-Year-Old Self” was born. The me that I have written of is the me that I think might be crying out in my center. It’s the me that I really have to nurture and reassure that it’s okay to feel everything so fucking deeply. And it’s okay to still be afraid. There’s this weird conception that adults aren’t afraid. I’m fucking terrified. I really think everyone should write a poem to an 8-year-old version of themselves. I found it very cathartic and now when I look at myself, I can see 8-year-old me looking back. Weirdly comforting.”