Have you ever done a vision exercise in which you go back and talk to yourself as a little kid?
Of course you haven't. That's weird.
For some reason, I found myself on a long run recently and found myself in a total meditative state. I saw me, a 7 or 8 year old version of myself, and suddenly started asking 3rd-ish grader me all kinds of questions. We sat on the floor of my old room of our childhood home, a room in the top corner of the house that flooded with the most perfect sunlight.
I was a total weirdo. I put together stupid outfits in bright, crazy colors and insisted on not-less than a minimum of three accessories in my hair (unless I was wearing my helmet for horse riding, of which I resisted multiple urges to paint and bedazzle the crap out of - if my Mom wasn't killing my vibe of it being "soooo expensive"). I colored and drawed (yes, I DRAWED, dam*it), and wrote stories of awesome epics involving majestic horses, virtuous dogs, and badass heroines who wore dirty riding boots under their meticulous, sparkling gowns. I collected hoards of wildflowers (they were weeds) and fashioned jewelry and house goods for my dolls out of whatever craft and house project leftovers I could find.
I asked "lil C" what she wanted to be when she grew up. Without hesitation, it was a journalist-TV anchor-Olympic equestrian-creative writer-veternarian. Of course, I'd be done with school and could devote my time to such pursuits, all while married to a handsome Zach Morris-esque stay-at-home hubs' who would tend to our four perfect kiddos. But, I cooked the meals, because that's my jam. All in a day's work.
Such confidence. Such gumption. No sense of limitation. Dreams bigger than Malibu Dream House. You wanna mess with this? Whatever. I've successfully managed a household of 4 brothers and a sister, while y'all play with that creepy baby doll that pees on itself (I secretly wanted one, just couldn't bring myself to ask for it - even though I blamed my parents for never giving it to me in the first place).
Eyes sparkling, talking 80 bagillion miles a minute while organizing drawings and plotting the next masterpiece - how could I tell her what the world had in store for her?
Somewhere between miles 6-7, a montage of life flooded between that moment of our conversation on the floor to present. The people who weren't so nice. The things I said that were mean and icky I can never take back. The moments where joy and innocence turned to dark, scary situations. The sense of overwhelming pressure, the feelings of not stacking up or not feeling included or belittled. The stupid, STUPID things I did to make someone else happy or think I was cool. The pain of loss, of failure, of defeat. It turned the later versions of me into this angsty, jaded person who only focused on what needed to be fixed or organized or better. "Good enough" was never good enough (not just from myself but from everything around me), and the bubbling well of resentment towards projects and things in which I worked so hard to achieve but ultimately fell flat came to a raging boil. Even in the running itself, I only focused on how poor my time was, how painful my knee felt, how sloppy my form must've been. I didn't notice the chilly breeze and breaking sunrise and the fact I was capable of running that distance at all - not until my sassy 3rd grader self swung her Scrunchie-tied ponytail and said, "HECK YEAH, YOU CAN DO IT!"
I picked up the pace and another montage followed. The people who made me laugh at only things we could understand. The well-earned victories, large and small. The hugs when they were needed most. The walks on the beach. The ideas and goals and accomplishments that were once floating ideas that became realized. The brilliant pangs of awe of often simple moments in simple places. The sense of wonder. Excitement. Empowering others. Connection. Gratitude. Waffles.
The pre-30 Celia has found herself lately slipping into waves of mini-depressions, feeling that yucky sense of loser-hood when things don't seem to come together. When peers seem to have it all and that comparison creeps into the core. When the wheels are spinning and gears are turning and things don't seem to happen.When people don't support. When nobody listens. When the pursuit of the perfect image becomes the priority. But with a little digging and mental decluttering, I can find the earlier versions of myself when she was happiest, proudest, most connected, most present. And my post-30 self and beyond is going to need even more of these moments to take the next big steps and future risks.
I finished that run in honor of "Lil C," to let her know I wasn't going to let her down. I may not exactly have foraged the path she had in mind, but it's because the world presented many other unique opportunities just for her. And it continues to do so, sending the right people - both the supporters and the "teachers" - who guide her every step of the way.
2015... let's do this.
Hugs & High Fives,