Recapturing our childhood is an adulthood struggle, unless you’ve had an ideal childhood. The climax usually presents itself in mid-life crisises. For me it has come earlier. I have two children, 5 and 4. They are perfect children in every way, a little naughty, but definitely nice. I am jealous of them. I admit it. I allow them to be free in their spirit, play with their friends, have lots of toys and yummy things to eat (under control, of course), but I love them for who they are individually. They are perfect little beings.
My own inner child never died, but was hidden. She was never allowed to be herself or be free. I lived a sort of cinderella story, complete with marrying a Dutch prince in college and moving to the Netherlands. (My house is no castle, but it is rather roomy for Dutch standards.) Since meeting my husband, the puzzle of my outwardly seeming perfect childhood has unraveled. My husband’s calm stable demeanor has given me space to let go of the many traumas I faced. As a child, I was manipulated and “mind-fucked” to believe that my experience was anything less than normal, even when I confronted my parents as a child.
My children have given me the opportunity to revisit my childhood for better or worse. They have put me in touch with the happy moments I had and the pain. My inner child sometimes takes over in laughing and playing with them. “She” buys them toys and goodies that she would really like to have, in hopes to have the childhood she really wanted. My children give me the opportunity to heal. However, they take work, and there is a house to maintain. Herein lies the jealousy that they can play, while I must work.
The last two years, I have had an awakening, or a revisiting. I have in chronological order relived my childhood traumas, including all the suppressed anger, sadness and depression as it has seeped literally out of my pores. I have been busy caring for my inner child as if she was a real external being, carrying her with me as an attached limb. I know her as well as my own children now. Most of all, I know how sensitive she really is to sounds, people, movies, emotions, and words. She takes things seriously and thats ok.
Gone, Girl, Gone, a recent movie, describes a woman scorned who continues to live out her childhood fantasy of a picture perfect life. Once she feels betrayed, she sets plans in motion to punish her wrongdoers. Despite the pain it causes her and those around her, she is determined to live out a storybook life. I recognize this from my mother and my own life. Don’t we all try to live up to some expectation or fantasy? It’s the child within us that creates it to make up for lost time.
Today, I decided the best gift I can give my inner child is the adulthood I want to have. My inner child will always be angry and hurt that she didn’t get what she needed. It cannot be redone. However, I can give her the dreams of her adulthood, and more importantly, create dreams now that I know she’d be proud of. Choosing to live in the now is much less painful than reliving the past or in a fantasy. My only disappointment and frustration can result.
The steps i have taken to get to this point are:
1. Getting clear on what really happened. Therapy, talking to relatives and friends has proved me enormous insight, pain, but ultimately, healing, forgiveness and acceptance.
2. Clear out the old to make way for the new. For me, this meant getting to know my inner self and my inner child. Accepting her for who she is, but also breaking old patterns that do not belong to her or are harmful. Body work is the other component. Allowing my body to release its pain through touch has been essential to my process. My personal hard drive for pain and stress was full. To stop the body aches and frequent “just not feeling well” I cleared myself through energy and emotional work.
3. Live in the Now. Mindfulness brings everything into the now. In every moment we live and die with every breath. It is that simple. Acceptance and awareness of myself now in this moment, including how my body feels, my emotions, the noises that surround me, the fact that the world is moving and spinning right now with or without me as you sit in I in my pajamas, brings me the true understanding that me can no longer fix what’s happened. It is up to me now to heal, forgive, and accept. The present is evasive, which is why living in the past or future is so much easier. Practicing meditation and asking myself, “what do I want now?” has brought me back to center and grounded me.
4. Dream and take action. Through active creation of your idea of the adulthood, I’d like to have, I can set out the roadmap to live the live I want. For me it is not enough to idly float by, but I want to achieve the personal and professional goals I’ve dreamed of. I am now learning to incorporate my inner child as part of the planning process. I choose to honor her, but act in an adult manner with living out the life of my dreams. Discipline, motivation and vision are the key ingredients to lead the life well lived.
Giving myself the adulthood I want is not giving up my childhood. It is simply integrating the original spirit I was born with and using it in the now.