My inner child threw a fit the other day. A fit so big that my adult self couldn’t contain it. Between heavy sobs and wiping my snotted nose on my sleeve; the little girl in me pleaded for attention.
But why is she pleading for attention? What is going on? How do I, how do any of us give our inner children what they need?
The answers are closer than we’d like to admit.
There are many out there who believe that most of our personality traits are defined by the age of six. From the moment sperm meets egg and we multiply into cells which eventually give us our human characteristics; we are forming our personality and tuning into the world around us.
My whole life I hated hearing I was like my mother. Oh, the treachery of such an evil comment. It amazed me how people could argue for our likeness when we did nothing but actually argue. Even my own father turned against me and trumpeted ‘you act just like your mother’.
I did what I could in my youth to run away from whatever or whoever compared me to her. I wanted my own identity. I wanted to be me, not snippets of anyone else.
In simpler terms, I guess this is what we could call our rebellious phase. Some of us get our tongues pierced or secret tattoos. Others fall in love with a wannabe rock star twice our age, while others; like me, jet set across the globe and are yet to come home.
Regardless of how rebellion expresses itself, it always seems to be a way for us to test the boundaries and to create our own identity; free of our parents, our peers, our teachers, our bosses etc. However, the more I read and the more I reflect, the more I realize I have been running in circles while believing I was my own personality pioneer.
Don’t get me wrong, the identity treasure hunt wasn’t all in vain.
Picture yourself as a glorious tree. A tree’s wisdom and age lay wrapped in ‘growth rings’ and each ring gives us a sneak peek into the tree’s history. In many ways, we are the same. Each year in our lives, is another ring, another layer onto who we are, but that does not mean the inner layers disappear.
From hatchling to full blown human being and onward into our youth and old age; we are just as much our past as we are our present and our future.
I’ve spent years running wild, sticking my fingers into every honey jar at arms-reach in an attempt to color or morph into anything other than my mother; not realizing the power that lie in accepting our sameness. In fact, pretending to be oblivious to this aspect of myself, meant that I completely ignored part of who I am today.
Many of us are nomads or marathon runners when it comes to acknowledging the past. It seems easier to run away than have a talk with that screaming little person inside of us. We think a change of scenery will fix our problems, when in reality that is what our misery is feasting on.
I owe my first revelations to a woman and her beautiful spirit which lead me back to my core. She introduced me to the little girl who every now and again lashes out so as not to be ignored. You see, that is what my mother and I share: a fear of being forgotten; a fear of being abandoned. Becoming aware of my little girl allowed me to reflect upon the patterns I had built up throughout the years. I began to realize I carried the same beautiful heart in my chest as my mother, but that beauty brought along with it the same burdens of fear.
My temper tantrums are triggered by these fears. Just like my mother’s inner child, my little girl had wonderful parents, but circumstances in their lives made it impossible for them to fulfill all of her needs. Long office hours and shift work puts food in the fridge, but there is never anyone home to enjoy it at the table.
But it’s part of being human. To be human is to be imperfect and no parent or child is exempt from the trials and errors of life. We all have our traumas, no matter the condition of our family portrait, but it is our ability to look back and accept these traumas that contributes to our growth as adults.
I became a pioneer when I stood still amongst the trees, counting and meditating on each ring that made me, me. Reflection like this is never easy, but life has a funny way of camouflaging our pleasure in our pain. My little girl just needed my acknowledgement and sometimes she still does but at least I know now, what she is pleading for.