I’m coming full circle.
As child I wrote a short story called “Silly Putty” and was a finalist in a Young Authors competition. I remember writing my story and carefully illustrating it, the warmth and excitement of getting to use the laminate machine at my elementary school library, the sound of the punch from the binding machine. In middle school I submitted poetry to competitions and was published. And then I quit writing. Quiet sadness took over and I feared judgement of my words. I lost my way around inside myself. I began assembling the links in my chainmail. I slowly began burying my true self. Teenage years of uncertainty and identity seeking got in the way.
I think our true selves mimic our childhood selves. I mirror her. Although my clothes are more purposefully mismatched. My hair is still unwieldy but intentionally so. My preferred glasses style are reminiscent of the pink ones I wore in elementary school and I don’t care how thick they are. And I am writing again yet my writing appears to be more refined. I like to color and watch cartoons. I like to sing and dance even though I’m not good at either. I like to be silly and make people laugh. Just as I did when I was a child. I was responsible then and am now. I liked to learn then and still do now. My wit is quick. I like poetry and prose. I was a confident and friendly child. I’ve always maintained my friendliness though artificial at times. The confidence part is coming back. I am still 5 inches shorter than the average height of the general female population.
When do we stop being ourselves? Why do we do that? We had no problems finding our tribe in elementary school as our true selves and then puberty hits and all of the sudden we are on a road trip of self-doubt seeking a sense of belonging. I admire those who stay the course. I didn’t. I spent year after year reinventing myself. Trying to find where I fit in. I never fully committed to the persona of the moment. Part of me was always intact. Buried but there.
Therapy speared my chest plate, exposed my ragged heart. And therapy helped mend the wounds, shattering links one by one. And what is left is the adult version of my childhood self and you know what? I like her. I’ve missed her.