Talking to That Little Girl

Personal Essays

I’m a strong believer in therapy. In the past, it’s helped me understand myself better and heal from divorce, recession, and codependency.

I’ve initiated a lot of change over the past year. I changed careers and moved in with my sweetheart, all while navigating some health challenges. So, with my pain points and past failures in mind, I decided to seek out a counselor again because I didn’t want to get stuck. I didn’t want to let trauma, bad habits, or old belief systems hold me back.

Therapy this time around is interesting. It’s challenging. As with most things, you listen to the therapist and you take in what works. Some does, some doesn’t. And sometimes, you discover vulnerability that you forgot was there …

I had asked my therapist about anxiety and procrastination. Naturally, we discussed what might be causing it. And unexpectedly, I found myself – under her direction – having a conversation with my nine-year-old self. (You know, metaphorically.)

My counselor asked me to “talk” to that part of me. So, in a very visual way, I imagined her. I saw her awkward limbs and choppy hair. I visualized her too-serious manner. I remembered going to gifted classes in elementary school and being picked on by the other smart girls. I remembered the comments of my former teachers, my mother’s (perhaps unconscious) neglect, the pendulum between artistic triumph and crushing insecurity. And I just wanted to hug her! What a sweet girl.

It’s a peculiar feeling … inviting your former self to spend a little time with you. Mothering the kid inside you. It’s like communing with spirits.

I’m not sure I’m completely over all my hang-ups. But it’s still going to bring a smile to my face (no lie), and it may even help me enjoy my work that much more, when I can ask that girl to come play – without insecurity – like we used to.