That phrase, “you’re bringing out the inner child in me”, is familiar and usually said when something is making you giddy and excited and happy. We know that when we hear these words someone really likes what is happening. What if I told you that your inner child is not just something sparked by a fun filled exciting moment, but for many people their inner child is a direct result of childhood trauma of some kind.
Maybe this person was in a bad car accident or was injured in some kind of way. Maybe a parent or loved one died and that child was traumatized by that loss. Maybe for some like me that trauma was long, hidden, and multiple different forms. Whatever the trauma was it is still trauma nonetheless. What is traumatic to you might not be traumatic to me and what’s traumatic to me not be traumatic to you. Trauma is just as unique as being an individual is; it comes in many different sizes, shapes, and forms and is open to interpretation by the person or person experiencing it.
For me my inner child is independent and fierce. She takes no shit from anyone because she has taken too much already. My inner child is less insecure than before, but still insecure. She is scared. She is loud. She is stubborn. She is her own person. Sometimes a word or a color or a smell or a show or a song, or any number of things can trigger her. She begins to panic and she has no clue what to do. She just talk and cries and tries to make sense of it all. Not only is my inner child scared, but she in confused.
She is waiting and expecting someone to tell her to, “shut” her “loud mouth and just be quiet. You are to be seen not heard and I keep hearing you when I should just be seeing you”. She expects that every word that comes out of her mouth will be disregarded and laughed at. She fears if she says, “No” then she won’t be liked. She fears that if she says that, “I don’t like that” or, “I don’t enjoy that”, or any number of things that convey that convey she isn’t liking something that she will automatically be called a “complainer” and told to, “just stay home next time” or to, “just play by your damn self, fuck!”
She feels that she is everyone’s burden and that no one could ever really want to take care of her or to help her out without expecting something in return, so she strives to be even more independent and self-sufficient. She doesn’t even know who she is besides Kelly. Her name is her identity. She really finds her peace and joy in what everyone else loves, even if she doesn’t particularly find it interesting, she was taught to enjoy it, or else no more…ever. She makes a mess of things.
I never had anyone really parent me. I was hit with brushes, had cigarettes put out on my skin, I was beat with a dog leash (blog post on that), I was hungry, I was made to stand in the corner for 8+ hours (without food or beverage or bathroom breaks), I was sexually assaulted repeatedly and for the most part it was allowable my mom knew she say “stop”, but yeah, “we all” had “to live here, Kelly” was a popular thing to say. You see there was so much. When I’d get birthday money they’d take it. When I got a job, I paid their bills I heard, “please KellBell buy my this I love you”…I was a 12 you assholes, 12!
When I got a bigger paychecks, when I upgraded from babysitting to a tax paying job I transitioned into paying their bills. When I turned 18 I found out that they had used my name, DOB, and SSN for utilities and satellite and I had bad credit and terrible debt before I had even turned 18 and I am 35 ad I am still paying for it. Not fair. Not cool. Don’t like. But what can I do? Pay it or remain in their debt and control for the rest of my life? Fuck that shit! I have dreams. I have goals. I am almost out of debt (minus student loans, which don’t even get me started on that). I was always home alone or trying to find a friend to stay with.
We didn’t have a working land-line phone so I never was one of those girls or teenagers that would get phone calls or be on the phone. I actually hate being on the phone it causes me so much anxiety. We didn’t have the internet. We didn’t always have gas for heat, cooking, and hot water. We didn’t always have food. We didn’t always have toilet paper. We didn’t always have electricity. We didn’t get new clothes (well my brother did). We had roaches galore, not because we were dirty, but it’s a real problem when you live that close to neighbors. My mom was a clean freak.
We had mice. Mice so bad I would hear them in my ceiling of my room in the basement while I was sleeping. I would wake up to dead roaches and once a mouse in my water or beverage I had on my night stand. I have woke up with mice on my pillow next to me. The flea problem was terrible too. Oh my goodness the fleas and all the freaking animals we had.
I did not have a childhood like most people do. It was chaotic and stressful and so hard to get through. It was painful. It hurt. I was made fun of and picked on and hurt by the very people I trusted to keep me safe from all those things. The people that I wanted to love on me when someone at school was so mean to me, not tell me “wha wha wha everybody hates me, nobody likes me, going to the garden, going to eat some worms”…yep whenever I was hurting that was the response. My other favorite responses to my pain and suffering was, “here’s a quarter why don’t you call someone who cares?” You know what happens when your bullies are your parents too? You learn to shut your fucking mouth because what you feel or have to say means jack diddly squat and you just figure it out on your own. Because you were already shown that if you aren’t silent you might have cigarettes put out on your skin (my parents didn’t smoke another trusted adult or two did though) or be made fun of.
I’m parenting her though now. It is so hard to try and be 35 and an adult and also be a child in so many ways. I have tried so hard to teach her and correct her. I realize now that my love is kind of parenting her too. I mean lets be honest here if he wasn’t brave enough to deal with the consequences of telling me, “No”, or what he thinks it is I should be or not be doing (no one ever has) just so I am happy, healthy, and safe (literally my best interest at heart) then I wouldn’t be growing. You see no one has ever told me what I should do. What I should eat. What I should wear. I was just pretty much left to fend for myself, like way more than I could ever express with the word “a” and “lot”. I was abandoned and a show put on in front of people.
My inner child has needed a lot of molding and shaping. There is one area still that I am finding myself childlike and that is how I handle frustration. I have panic disorder and oh boy do I panic quick. I go 0-100 in no time some times. I have medicated with the guidance of my doctor and it does help. I now can go sometimes a whole week without an episode. Usually at least one day a week I panic about something. I am working on correcting this in me. This is still the one area I am growing. My love is amazingly patient and helpful. Even when I cannot see what it is he does for me or how much he loves me, because I think in those moments everyone hates me and is going to hurt me and leave me. He, even though hard on him, gets me through it.
You know I keep reminding him how sorry I am for all the bumps in the road and how hard I am to love. I am not sure I can ever apologize enough for being me. I am messed up and through no fault of my own. I literally taught myself everything I know. I watched people in the distance and decided what I liked and didn’t like. I knew that I needed to be less like my mom and more like the woman who opened her home to me so much. I needed to be like the women at church that I admired. No one showed me how to do any of it though. No one even showed me how to be a girl, but they did try to make me a man, which I am not. I am actually really gentle and kind and loving and warm, and I kind of like feeling like a princess (but I won’t let anyone treat me like a princess).
I am going to keep parenting this last hurdle I have with my inner child. She is going to learn that it is 100% okay for her to be loved the way she loves. She is going to learn that she is worthy and wanted and respected. She is going to learn that she can do it all just because of the man who stepped up to love her and to help her parent her inner child. It will never fall short on me just how big of a had my love has played in the growth in me. I didn’t need him to save me, but he did and he still is. For the first time in my life he isn’t the only one saving me though…I am saving me. i