As a little girl, she wasn’t always excited to celebrate her birthday. Strange. You would think that being the only child she would have wanted all the attention for that special day. She wore a crown on her day, though she didn’t think she was a princess. She wasn’t impressed with princesses or skinny barbies. Her mom always got her the most beautiful dolls. Her favorite toys: a kitchen set, grandma’s jewelry, a produce scale (the one used at farmers markets), vegetables from the fridge, a cloth doll, a few Lego sets. Her favorite playmate: grandpa.
Now looking back at the birthday pictures when she was little, I see a timid little girl, barely smiling for the camera. Maybe she was just a kid who didn’t like her pictures taken, hard to believe now.
Back at that time, there were many questions with no answers, situations that were not explained: like her parents’ divorce, why she had to live with her grandparents, why she was being teased at school for having a limp or a scar, why was her life different from other kids around her… She learned about resentment and guilt that she had imposed upon herself without knowing why. Years later, she had to re-learn about trust, specially trusting herself, to stop doubting and second-guessing. She didn’t know any other way. She grew up as an only child; however, with lots of cousins, lovely family and relatives, who cared for and protected her (sometimes too much), but nevertheless, very much loved. Most importantly, SHE LEARNED ABOUT LOVE FROM THE MOST BEAUTIFUL, COMPASSIONATE AND LOVING COUPLE SHE EVER KNEW: HER GRANDPARENTS.
After all, she was a lucky kid. She was blessed with the unconditional love and care from her grandparents, who raised her with good family values, taught her about living a humble life and caring for others. She also was blessed with the love and care from her parents; who even though were not physically with her, they were still part of her life at a distance.
I have thought what if her life would have been differently, but I believe things were perfectly as they were supposed to be. Every experience and situation shaped her into the person she is now: a beautiful soul finding beauty in all things, hopeful about life, believes in love and caring for others. I know she is all that!
She was loved. She is healing.
She is LOVE.
Looking at those pictures made me realize that, like many people, I had neglected the LITTLE ME for so long, and I needed to let her know that I have her back. Now 30+ years later, I understand that sometimes we live the life we are meant to have, with all the trials and tribulations. A scraped knee, each surgery, every single scar, a broken heart; each tells a story, teaches a lesson and we can only learn, get up, dust off the dirt and heal from within.
If we don’t heal from within,
we might be without.
For a while now, I’ve been discovering new practices and creating new habits to support my spirituality and highest good. Some being meditation, journaling, daily affirmations, connecting to my body and my needs. Call it wisdom, experience or acceptance, but I do feel that at my age now I have a better grasp of what life is about and that I am living a more meaningful life. Maybe part of it has to do with the realization that my life is not the same anymore, that if it is not me taking care of myself, then who will?
A practice that I learned and keeps me grounded is to reconnect with “little Wendy”, the little timid princess who didn’t smile much at pictures. I looked at pictures of the younger Wendy with the eyes of compassion and really devoted my time and thoughts to think, believe, admire, and bless that little Wendy from years ago. Then I wrote to her a love note, I wanted to tell her that 30+ years later, everything would be ok. I asked her questions, asked for forgiveness, asked for her blessing. In return, I gave her words of encouragments, advice, my blessing. I don’t remember what my birthday wish was back then, but more than a wish, now I make a promise: that I will always take care of myself, the inner child or the crazy silly grown up version, to nurture and love.
Do you remember that when you were little it was all about you? You were a bundle of joy for your parent. You received all the care and attention because seeing you smile and giggle was the best gift to watch. You are still a bundle of joy (bigger version), and you still matter to your parents and family, but something was lost. You forgot to smile at the little things, to giggle at silly stuff, to laugh at yourself first. You forgot what it’s like to run barefoot on the grass, to go on an adventure, be free and fearless, to look in the mirror and see the beautiful princess (or prince) living a happily ever life, to take the time to care for yourself. All of a sudden, those memories seem so long ago, and even might seem ridiculous to think about them now.
Somewhere between playing with dolls and cars, playing innocent games; we learned about negativity and self-doubt. We forget to be kind and compassionate with ourselves. It was easy to lose trust in ourselves and procrastinate: “I can’t do it,” “I am not good enough,” “I am fat, who would want to go out with me?,” “I am meant to be alone,” “I will eat healthy and go to the gym… tomorrow,” “I don’t have time to take care of myself, too much to do, there is always tomorrow”. These are negative beliefs that somehow sneak into our minds and stop us from being the best we can be. But, what if tomorrow never comes? What if tomorrow comes and life is turned upside down and nothing is the same anymore? We get so consumed in our everyday routine that self-care comes second, if at all. We forget to take care of ourselves, to dedicate time to attend our needs, to made amends and forgive. We forget we once were kids trusting that whatever happens, things will be all right. Well, we need to touch bases with that kid again, to reconnect with that true self.
Wouldn’t you want to hold, embrace and take care of that little YOU? What advice would you give about the things that are coming in her (his) future?
Take out an old picture of you, look at that innocent little face, what is she telling you? Can you recall what she was feeling at that moment? Are there any words of encouragements or advise now that you have walked the path? Write a letter to that little one. A letter of forgiveness: giving it and asking for it. A love letter to the beautiful mini-you, to that pure innocent child who maybe grew up so fast and didn’t enjoy her childhood. Perhaps to that little kid who was so overly protected and couldn’t spread her wings for adventure, or lost confidence and trust and couldn’t be her best. Reconnect to that little person who is still hiding inside, and sometimes comes out as little voices of self-doubt. Tell her/him that no matter what, things will be ok. You know it!