There is a little girl inside of me.
A little girl who is aching to be held, aching to be loved, aching to find connection and validation. Aching to know that she is enough, just the way she is.
I am a woman, today, who feels these same pains.
It is funny, in a way. Until I began therapy, I never would have thought of my “inner child.” It seems so very…outdated. I saw myself as resilient. I, for whatever reasons, overcame. I should focus on the present.
My body, however, called my bluff. The stress, the anxiety, the everything that I was refusing to acknowledge and stuffing deep inside of myself in an effort to look outwardly perfect and put together, came bubbling out in the form of panic. The world began to look different.
I began to feel broken.
Everything that I thought I knew about myself suddenly shifted. I no longer felt like the resilient, successful person I had believed I was.
I felt like a failure. I felt ashamed. I couldn’t cope. I was crazy.
The counseling process has been, by far, one of the hardest and most grueling journeys I have ever traversed. I have peeled back layer after layer, exposing so many things that have, in one way or another, shaped the woman that I have become. (And I couldn’t see it.) So many things that I would much rather have kept buried forever, avoiding and pretending didn’t matter.
As each layer has been peeled back, I have gotten a clearer picture of the little girl inside.
She is scared. She is lonely. She feels unloved. Unlovable. She sits alone, in a dark closet, with her arms wrapped around her knees, hiding her head, willing the darkness and loneliness to leave.
My adult self can enter this closet. I can sit next to her. I can try to hold her. But the little girl screams, “This isn’t real! I never really got this love. You can’t change what really happened!”
And my adult self crumbles. The woman that I am today hears those words–feels those words. The little girl is right. She never got that love.
She is still seeking it. Aching for it. Wanting so desperately to be wanted the way that she needs to be wanted.
Hating that she needs to be wanted.
And then, I realize.
As hard as I am trying to be put together, to be grown up, to be healthy…I am still that little girl. I am still stuck on the floor, arms wrapped around my knees, gasping for breath and feeling scared and lonely. I can’t connect with that little girl because, when I see her, I still feel like her. I don’t know how to give her what she needs when, as an adult, I am still struggling to learn how to give myself what I need.
I have lots of fear. I don’t know how to get beyond this. This is my sticking point.
But..I also have lots of hope. I believe that there is something better. That I can be better.
I am believing, slowly, but surely, that I deserve to be loved. To be treated with respect. To be valued for who I truly am. That maybe, just maybe, I really might be enough.
I am believing that I am strong and brave enough to figure it out.
It is grueling. It is hard.
But I have hope.