Recently I have been thinking a lot about who I was as a child, the ways in which I used to be able to let myself go, to sit in the quiet of all that is human and find peace. Nowadays I watch children in their realm and relish in the freedom that runs through their limbs and I find myself becoming envious of their flow, of their carelessness, of the way they can just allow themselves to surrender to the wind, and be present with every moment.
I have spent the last 12 years taking myself so seriously, thinking that hardships were the end of the world. I have realized in COVID, coming out of that space, that those things in which I believed at the time were so important, really were not at all. Those moments where I lost myself and was fearful I would never find my way back, I did. The seriousness that I placed upon myself, the pressure, and the standards that I held towards myself kept me trapped, kept me inside darkness.
As children, we have no standards, we have nothing to compare ourselves to, we are just atoms floating earnestly in the wild with others just like us. Threatening to vanish, completely present with ourselves. As time goes on we all begin to understand how to be, the floating stops, and we find ourselves moving with the pace that those older than us have chosen, and things suddenly are expected of us. We come to realize what we cannot get away with anymore. This for me, became extremely restricting, leaving me wanting to crawl out of my own skin to escape the pressure of myself. I am realizing how destructive this can become. I found myself doing things I never thought I would.
I have been thinking a lot about coming home to my childlike self, harnessing her rhythms and her carefree spirit in spaces that allow, and even in spaces that do not. Not only does that look like challenging the narrative of adulthood and relinquishing myself of the pressure that value is attached to being “grown-up”. But it also requires a childlike kindness towards myself in every single moment, especially when no one is watching. I have to rewrite the concept that there is such a thing as being a “grown-up”. We are all children, some of us are more attuned to our rhythms than others. But living inside every adult is a child waiting to be found.
As children we laugh, we laugh so hard, from the gut all the way to our toes, and we never worried about how we looked while we did it. I cannot remember the last time I truly let myself go that far. Now, I crave those belly laughs. And I allow myself to feel them when they come along. I let myself go completely, melting inside my own smile like a long lost friend. I throw my head back and let my body shake.
These are the ways in which we can channel our inner child. We can let ourselves get loud and clueless all at the same time. We can admit when we do not understand something and be open to new knowledge with wide eyes. We can make stupid jokes and laugh at ourselves. We can be honest with how something made us really feel. We can ask for help when we need it. We can admit when we have doubts. We can cry when we need to and let go of someone when they have treated us with harm.
I know that child is in me, the bright green-eyed, girl with caramel skin, skipping rocks across the creeks and running bare naked into the ocean. I know she’s pulsing in my gut, pushing to come back out and jump in the rain puddles and howl at the moon just to let everyone know she’s back. She’s back to live a life without so much of a burden, to chase the feeling of freedom and to let herself go in every moment she can, because she might never get the chance again. But every opportunity she has to do so, she will take with every part of herself she has left.