Remembering Ourselves as Girls Can Help Us Find Ourselves Again.
By: Mod Liz
Do you remember how you were as a child? Were you a free-spirit flower child, or maybe fashionista princess with a tutu and combat boots? Did you enjoy playing in the mud and getting dirty, feeling the earth under your fingernails as you scraped your way to the next wiggly worm? Or, maybe you felt the most alive when you were dancing or spinning in your living room without a care in the world.
Write down adjectives that describe how you were as a child. If she was standing in front of you today, or you were watching her play, how would you describe her personality, her aura, even. Write these down in your notebook.
Children are dreamers, and it’s my belief that we can discover who we really are by examining how we were when life was simple - when the world was at our fingertips, without a care in the world. Did you once dream of being a princess, or even the next rock star? Did you dream of becoming a fire fighter, or even a doctor?
Write down the dreams/goals/ambitions you remember having as a child, or young woman. Did you want to be a vet because you loved animals? At 11 did you want to go to college in a big city because you fell in love with it during a vacation with your family? Did you want to be an actress, or a singer or a dancer because you ate, slept and breathed theater? What were your goals? What and where did you want to be when you grew up? Write those down in your notebook, too.
This isn’t about judging where you are at *right now*, but remembering what made you happy before someone told you differently - before the world got in the way. Your base setting, your factor mode. That’s what we are trying to uncover with these exercises.
Somewhere along the line, we have all been taught that how we were born to be isn’t okay. Whether in our families or society at large, we have forgotten the very nature of ourselves. Maybe we were told to sit down and shut up, or told to have a voice when we had nothing to say. Maybe we were told our dreams weren’t good enough or that we would never succeed in life because of one reason or another. Not smart enough. Not beautiful enough.
“I hope they never change.”
I have two daughters, aged 8 and 2. It’s through them that is occurred to me how much of my true self has been lost over the years. I let myself conform to what society and my family expected of me.
I was a precocious, free-spirited, amiable, smart, and brave child. Somewhere along the way, I lost sight of that and let others’ visions of myself dictate my path.
My oldest daughter is…*sigh* admittedly, she’s a handful because she’s 8 going on 30. She can speak to you and engage in intelligent and bright conversations, but at the end of the day, she is a little girl who is 8 years old. She has always been tenacious, and precocious, witty, intelligent and whip smart on the uptake. She understands humor that would fly over the heads of most kids, and her retention of knowledge is enviable. Her favorite subjects are math and science, and when she grows up she wants to be in the Army. Of course, she’s 8 and she will change career goals a thousand times before finding her calling, but at the end of the day, she wants to be in the Army because she’s a protector, and defender, and will fight for what she believes in. She sees the strength in the positions, and respects what they stand for. It’s not about being in the Army. She’s strong, and she wants to do something that exhibits strength. (Similarly, it might not be about becoming an actual doctor, but about helping people).
I know that if she ever changes, if her true nature ever changes and suddenly she becomes “easy” and complacent, lazy to fight me on things she would normally fight to the death on, or still, quiet and meek that it’s because society (or worse my wife and I) have changed her (forced, even) to become anything different than she truly is.
She’s a tomboy to the core, and very aware that she doesn’t fit the mold of what the “other girls” are wearing or doing, but the older she gets, the more she realizes that she just doesn’t give a fuck. Truly. She never has. She thinks she’s awesome and amazing, and anyone who doesn’t want to be her friend can just go away.
I hope she never changes. Even more, I wish I had her sense of strength. She’s truly remarkable and I can’t believe I made that.
My youngest is two, and was brought to us when she was three days old. I remember peeking into her crib in the middle of the night when she was barely a couple of months old and being greeted with the biggest smile. This child has not stopped smiling since. I swear to god, she is the happiest baby you have ever or will ever meet. I’m not kidding you when I say that she lights up the room with her happiness, and it’s contagious to all around her. No matter where we go, people are drawn to her.
Her other siblings (who don’t live with us) have similar temperaments, and I often wonder about her birth mother and what she would have been like had life not treated her so poorly. Will my daughter’s sunny disposition change if someone pees in her cornflakes one day? Will she stop smiling because the harsh reality of the world changes her?
How many fierce and strong little girls have grown up to be women who stand on the sidelines of their lives?
How many sunny and bright little girls have grown into women who struggle with seeing the happiness and beauty all around them?
Let’s find our inner girls again and reset to factory mode - remember what we loved and what we didn’t and live the lives we were meant to live. She’s inside of us all…we just have to find her again - maybe even discover who she was to begin with.
It’s normal to wake up at 4 am, notice you forgot an appointment two weeks ago, obsessively check for some reminder you must have missed, come up empty, and then listen to music/cry for the next 2.5 hours…. right?