The child that stands in the way of my writing
Just when I least expect it, she appears. ‘Why are you writing that?’ She enquires. I don’t always write what I want, sometimes I am writing for other people, but this is not what she is asking. She wants to know why I am exposing my wounds. She wants to know why I have this desire to uncover the layers and face my uncertainties. She knows that when I do, she will have to come out of hiding. I ask quietly ‘why are you still hiding?’ She backs away; she is not shy; she shares my wounds, and she is not ready. She stays in the shadows watching me.
She is me. I know that. I know that life caused her pain, not sweet pain, but an unfathomable ache that kept her in a trap of wanting to please, eager for others to like her. She wants approval. She longs for the person she is talking to turn their eyes to her and notice. Not to just see her long red hair or freckles but her soul, her inner beauty, her gifts.
She remembers winning a competition at school, but the winning wasn’t fun. She stood on the stage to receive her prize – a packet of colouring pens. She didn’t see or hear the audience clapping, she felt a fraud, because why did she deserve these congratulations? Didn’t the teacher tell her dad that she would never be good enough to go to University? Implying that she was average and not quite bright enough to go to that elite place. That damning statement stayed with her.
She was smart. She understood the complexities of maths, the nuances of language and the depth of art. She was quick to learn and quick to disrupt. She was bored with school and the uninteresting lessons. When she was called to a presentation from an art college, she wondered why did she get an invitation? Why her? She wasn’t good enough, was she?
Not good enough forced the child to never push her work forward, because it was never perfect enough for others eyes. When it wasn’t perfect, it was never finished. It languished for fear of ridicule. And so the child turned away from her talents and played another game. Pushing herself into corners far away from prying eyes, she became invisible. She thinks that she is standing in my way, but she isn’t. She helps me to understand me.
‘I am writing this for you’ I reply
You see I have learned that not everyone loves what you write, and that’s ok. I know that it’s hard to let go of perfectionism, but I also know that if I don’t get it out there, then I won’t get feedback and without that, I won’t grow – and neither will you. I make myself focus on one thing, and no matter how boring I find some of this stuff, it helps me get things done. I tell her I have found ways to overcome those irritations that have stood in my way.
I invite her to come and sit and write with me. She tentatively takes up her pen and smiles. I love that cheeky smile; she has a wicked streak that isn’t revealed often. She is scared that someone will want to destroy her. Not because she deserves it, just because they can. They have stuff going on which causes them to attack without thinking. I remind her, that is their stuff, and their opinion has nothing to do with us. Send them away with love.
‘What do you say we have some fun?’ I ask.
My thought process is that if I can support and hold her close to me when she writes, she will know that her writing is safe.
‘How about we write for us?‘ I continue.
I’ve grown a bit of a tough skin and learned the art of feeling the fear and doing it anyway. I know that I can find beauty in whatever she writes. My heart can wrap her in a web of love. Together we can write whatever we want.
She writes. Her words are big and never between the lines. Her eyes are far away as she retrieves messages from her soul. She has started, and we both know there is no going back. I kiss the top of her head, I’m not sure if she notices because her pen is flying.