Oh, Little Girl…

Oh, Little Girl…

I used to think that people who said that they were ‘seeking their inner child’ were tree-hugging, pot-smoking, yoga-ing, new age, boomer hippies.

They might be.

But I also think they may may be on to something.

In my last post, “Going Dark to Let in Light“, I disclosed a short statement about my experience in middle school:

“Flashbacks of middle school; chubby girl with braces and headgear, feeling absolutely inadequate, uninteresting, and lonely.”

The past few months have given me much to reflect on.

Jerry and I were considering a new series for our YouTube channel where we would ponder a question during the week and record our answers over the weekend. Since photo albums and handwritten family trees have been replaced by social media, we thought it would be a great way to share our histories and memories digitally online for family and friends. We also thought it would be a great way to continue to learn more about each other (even after 26 years of marriage) and have some fun as a couple.

Right out of the gate I posed that we each answer the question, “What is your favorite childhood memory?”.

Jerry had his answer right away. He found the question to be an easy one.

Me, not so much.

As I searched through my memories, only negative ones seemed to surface: mostly times that I was bullied in grade school (both physically and emotionally by fellow students), a lack of self-esteem, and lonely.

As I searched through my memories, only negative ones seemed to surface: mostly times that I was bullied in grade school (both physically and emotionally by fellow students), a lack of self-esteem, and lonely.

I was unpopular, quiet, had an overbite that rivaled Tuna the Dog (google him), an unruly cowlick, and very big, completely arch-less feet.

We were also poor.

Since I was the oldest and only girl in the family, my play clothes were hand-me-downs from other families with older daughters. My Sunday dresses were made by my mom. We didn’t have money for the Red Goose Shoes… which made it really bad for someone so flatfooted.

“I’ll take the ugly saddle shoes in the corner, please. You know, the only pair in your entire store that will fit me and are permissible by parochial school.”

Looking back, those families who donated clothing were generous. My mom was an amazing seamstress; I had OOAK beautiful dresses. And praise God, Meekers had a pair of shoes in my size and appropriate for anyone without an arch.

Also, to be fair… I didn’t realize we were poor until changing schools in 7th grade.

From 1st through 6th grade, I attended a very small inner-city Catholic school with kids, for the most part, from my own financial bracket. But in 7th grade, our parents moved us to a very large suburban private school where we were the minority. My new fellow students were the children of doctors, lawyers, and business owners.

Now it was obvious – I knew we were poor.

The bullying continued; albeit, quite different. I wasn’t called names, pushed, punched, or made fun of.

Now, I was invisible. Kids didn’t notice me to bully.

Back then I wanted to fit in, not stand out.  But, I wanted to be known, not unseen.

As I reflected on the memories of my childhood, I realized that I was ‘watching’ them as I would a movie… in 3rd person, not through my own eyes.  Then, a few days into this exercise, I came across old photos that my parents saved to CD.

I recognized all of the old pictures of myself… but as the image, not the actual experience.

Later that week I went to Mass; arriving 30 minutes early for quiet time and prayer. My mind replayed those movies and I thought about that little girl who was mistreated and then discarded.  Tears welled up in my eyes as I recognized the hurt and loneliness.

I cried for her.

And, I wondered what happened to that little girl.  Where did she go?

Recently, a friend recommended an audio book by Dana Morningstar about narcissistic abuse and healing from it. At one point the author talks about how we are often conditioned by our surroundings, relationships, and experiences to act a certain way, or to shape belief systems.  Morningstar suggested that finding your ‘inner child’ might help with the healing process.

I brought this up with my therapist (did I mention I was in therapy?).  She was familiar with the ‘inner child healing’ concept and would be able to take me through such a healing process later down the line if we felt it necessary.  Apparently, the ‘inner child’ is the very core of who one is as a person.

The idea was intriguing.

Stripping away the veneer applied over years of trying to ‘fit in’, of making others happy, and adapting to ‘groupthink’ would, I imagine, be extremely healthy. Friends who have gone through ‘inner child healing’ have reported that it’s highly emotional and can take a lot of time, but is also very therapeutic.

Do I need this?

Am I ready to ‘go there’?

What I do know is that I want to be the person that God intended me to be.  He created me for purpose and has gifted me with qualities to carry that purpose out.

Maybe the experiences that caused the little girl pain, sorrow, self-doubt, and isolation have shaped this woman into the person who can carry out God’s plan.  And, I would be happy knowing that.

Maybe the experiences that caused the little girl pain, sorrow, self-doubt, and isolation have shaped this woman into the person who can carry out God’s plan.  And, I would be happy knowing that.

On the other hand, removing the veneer might just reveal a more vibrant spirit and more joyful child of God… and that would be worth the effort.

Please pray for me as I pray for you!

Like it? Share It!

Related

Feeling Inadequate is not of God

Feeling Inadequate is not of God

Duplicity is Difficult, Pray that People Don’t Care

Duplicity is Difficult, Pray that People Don’t Care

Gift of Peace

Gift of Peace

My Bath

My Bath