Eulogy of a Good Girl
Let me paint a picture for you, there was a little girl, eight years old super aware of her surroundings, content, happy, an old soul. She didn’t miss much, she was intelligent and loved the swing set, she perceived the world around her with a lens that was her heart - innocent, pure, trusting and courageous.
This same little girl was put into a three grade classroom that school year, that had one teacher, through the many moving parts she was falling through the cracks and failing class; disappointment from her teacher and worry from her parents was a new thing she felt that year. Then came the bullying and name calling. What is stupid? She was being told what she was from older kids and this was a weird mirror she had never encountered before. Feeling unsure of herself, like she didn’t know herself.
Her innocence that year was frozen in time, she experienced meanness and tried to understand it, there was not a place that it could sit in her heart and then she experienced failure. She was taken out of school because she wasn’t doing well and she was homeschooled by parents that meant well but she couldn’t put a framework around failure. Her feelings were met with logic so she learned to reach for that, that constructive criticism instead of nurture. That eight year old was frozen in time, her voice silenced for the capable part of herself to take over because that year she learned that how she was in the “real” world didn’t work out so well.
That little eight year old was introduced to me again this summer. That little girl is me.
This past year has been a chaos of hard things, feeling like it was one thing after another. But, I was doing well, my very capable self had grown into a very talented adult who totally had this. Then, my 30th birthday came and literally on the trip to celebrate this life milestone I had what I found out a little later was an anxiety attack. It was so scary, painful, not knowing what was going on and I was not supposed to be having this! I was on vacation, resting for Pete’s sake!
But, it took hold of me for almost an hour and after an exhausting struggle it emotionally knocked me to my knees. My capable self thought wow that was some bad tacos, glad that is over - onward we go! But, little did I know that that would be the first of many until one evening while dealing with this absurd “food allergy” my husband rubbed my back and it vanished.
My heart held so much relief and fear in that moment and I said “something is really wrong, I need help.” For all the heart process that I had the tools to do, this was not cutting it and I needed some outside help to open up this scary thing and help me through.
I soon after started talk therapy and it went really well - the therapist taught me to take my anxiety, fear or whatever I was feeling and sit it in a chair in front of me and talk it out with it. I remember very clearly the talk with anxiety, it was big and scary, actually resembled the ghost of Christmas past from the movie A Christmas Carol (terrifying) but after looking at it straight on, telling it what I needed, what I was going to do, that I was capable of doing without it’s motivation; that I didn’t need it to manage me……my tight throat and rapid heartbeat subsided and I discovered there was more inside me then I knew, there was a powerful person. Not in the sense that I have a mighty impact or presence but that I had the cognitive emotional awareness to know what I needed without that constructive criticism/capable self holding the only voice.
Through that revelation I was also struggling this whole time to comfort myself, tap into the Nurturing part of myself, as my Therapist called it, and allow that comfort or nurture to have a voice in my life.
It had been a month and that was still a scary thing for me because I absolutely drew a blank. I didn’t know how. You can imagine the insecurities this had been wreaking havoc on in the subconscious parts of friendship, my dreams, being a wife and being a mother one day.
Then, on a ordinary Thursday lunch I met with a very wise spiritual woman for some inner healing counseling and I met eight year old me again. In my mind she was nearly invisible in appearance and after sharing some of her experiences that you read earlier, I saw that she was still the same age, she was young, had no voice in my life and had not matured. I had shut her out, in an attempt to control the pain, keep her chaos of feelings, things that she did not understand at bay.
We have many parts of ourselves that make us who we are and this young girl held mystery for me that I had not been aware I had turned away from. Through some more talk therapy I became acquainted with this kiddo and learned that she had something to give me, she had a key for my heart that I needed in order to grow in wholeness.
I was looking into the eyes of my nurturing self.
It takes a lot of courage to hold the hand of an eight year old and let them share the enormity of what they feel, have felt for many years that you have not given space to hear. I felt sad that I had ignored this part of myself, scared to let her speak, at the same time dying to hear what she had to say.
Taking hold of some fleeting courage I committed to love her, to accept her back, to give her a voice and allow her to mature. I have huge emotions and letting her have a voice has comforted me in them saying, “It’s going to be ok” Feelings always pass and they don’t kill you. If you lean into them, feel them wholeheartedly, they pass and you are better for it.
Starting the conversation with her and allowing her to have a voice has awakened my heart and has brought me to more of an authentic place in the last couple of weeks that has given me courage to comfort myself and those around me from an authentic place, cry with others and for myself freely, brought a sense of balance to my heart where I can embrace who I am; because I am not silencing part of my self. Her key or gift to me was to enjoy who I am. I’m unique, I feel massively, I am very aware of all that goes on around me, I am an old soul, I do see through a lens of innocence, trust and strength; this comes from an authentic place in my heart, this is me.
Even though it took me 22 years to come back to her, I’m so glad that I found her. I don’t need to promise to be a “Good girl” anymore, I can be me, wholeheartedly and what a beautiful journey it will be.