I have been trying to reconnect with my inner child for a long time and, I won’t lie, it’s been difficult. I spent so many years separated from her, running away from what’s inside me. I felt I would never be able to relate to or really reparent that little girl. I couldn’t even picture her face in my mind. That’s how many walls I had put up between us.
I have a lot of gaps in my memories of being a kid. I know that I had to grow up fast because of my mother’s emotional instability. I know that I still had joyful moments, moments of fun and play. It wasn’t all bad. I also know that I carry a lot of anger and resentment for all the times I didn’t get to be a child. I should’ve been supported and made to feel safe, and I wasn’t. Instead I lay awake every night, full of anxiety over fantastical problems I made up in my mind. I had nightmares all the time. I didn’t realize until adulthood that there was more going on there than just being “high-strung” or “nervous”.
I know this because now, when I look back, I remember the core of who I am. It took me a long time to discover an exercise that worked for me. I was muddling through some trauma, unraveling the deep pain and rage I feel towards my mother. I started to think about the elements of myself that I’m trying to bring to light now – my creativity, my joy, my playfulness. All the parts of me that I’ve suppressed for decades because they were squashed when I was younger. I want to feel light, loving, silly, and fun. So I decided to write a profile of who that girl, that little me, really was. Inside. Without all the BS that ended up pile driving her spirit into the ground.
Writing has always been my primary method of expression, so why not use it now? Instead of trying to see a picture of myself in my mind’s eye, I wrote a description of that little girl’s untarnished truth. I described her sweet, gentle soul. The way she loved nothing more than to be in nature or with animals. Her vivid imagination and beautiful, abundant creativity. The expansiveness of her heart. The fact that she loved all sorts of music and was content to put on records, dance and sing wildly in the living room for hours. I wrote it all down, and by the end I was filled with so much gratitude and love for the little girl inside me. Truth be told, she’s fucking awesome. And she is me. She is the core of who I am.
For the first time, I think I really understand what self-love means. It feels like a huge breakthrough. I’ve wrangled with accepting and loving myself this whole time, not understanding that in order to do so, I have to love that deepest, truest part of me that I’ve denied. I was afraid to look at her. Afraid to touch the tender bruises in my soul.
Now I see that little girl, that little version of myself, and I feel so proud. So loving. So protective. She was precious and she did not deserve to be torn down, belittled, shamed, or made to feel unworthy. She deserved to be loved, protected, and chosen every single day. I’m here to do that for her now. Because she’s honestly the coolest person I know.
By accepting and celebrating my inner child, I am celebrating me. I am opening my heart back up to all the parts of me that I’d forgotten. I feel stronger and more confident in myself and my worth than ever, and it’s all thanks to a simple exercise that arose from months of frustration. The work pays off if you can persevere and stick with it. It really does.
This may not be what suits you. You may have to find another way to unearth your inner child. I beg you not to quit on them. They need you. They are there waiting for you to let them return. You got this. You can get there with time. Sending you love.