If I were to ask the 7-year-old Anusha of what she thinks of the 20-year-old Anusha, she would most certainly look me crazy in the eye and say, “I am not allowed to talk to strangers.”
That’s it. That’s what I would have heard. A stranger — just another face. The little girl in the tight ponytail with big doe eyes, mountains to conquer, galaxies to travel, would stare back at me struggling to recognize who she was looking at. In that moment, I felt alien to myself. Was she not proud of the independent, proud woman standing in front of her? That was the question that led me to decipher what had gone wrong along the way.
Little A was hurting, abandoned in a dark cold corner and now she was crying out for help. The body she inhabited was taken over by some cold, gray machine. I was hurting and all I kept saying to myself was I’m fine, it’s nothing, you’ll get over this, come on be an adult and the loudest screamed GROW UP!
These words did nothing but hollow me out and push Little A further into a corner, create shackles around her petite ankles, chain her down to work, work, WORK!
I was wounded. Little A was wounded. We both were trapped in a shell of a person who seemed happy, successful and ambitious to everyone else, but we knew what was happening. The cracks in the façade were beginning to show and the perfect world that was created had started to unfold into reality. The breaking point was near and …CRACK! Little A and I fell into an abyss. Surrounded by darkness, we had to reconnect and reconcile so we could find the light in this gloom. There was no other way. We had to talk.
Who is Little A? You might ask. She is me and I am her. She is the little girl who loved to have tea parties, ride swings in the chilly morning air, write letters to God, found delight in blowing bubbles – who had found solace in herself at the young age of four when she had her sisters take away all her thunder. She was the one person who always believed in me and she was the one person I had abandoned.
I made the mistake of abandoning innocent Little A to make my parents proud. To be someone. To be a good sister. A good daughter. A good granddaughter. To be the epitome of perfection — the best of all. In this fight to the best, I had given up myself. I spent my teen years being just that, until I cracked. That’s when I realized the heinous violence that I had inflicted on myself and Little A. Most of us tend to lose ourselves in the struggle for the people around us, the people we love and the people that love us, but I would like to unveil some behavioral patterns through which you are hurting your inner child.
Not saying “no”:
You tend to feel difficulty or guilt when rejecting something you may be uncomfortable with. In situations where someone asks something of you, you are reluctant in saying, “No, I cannot do that” or “I don’t have time to do that.” You are prone to say yes to things that are difficult for you and find yourself in situations that you would rather not be in.
You are constantly criticizing yourself. The way you look at the way you do anything.Your internal dialogue repeats derogatory phrases and it is very rare that you find yourself saying, “Hey, I did well today,” or “I am proud of how I handled the situation.” Instead, you tend to overthink and go into a frenzy over what you should have and shouldn’t have done.
Changing masks to fit the occasion
Multiple “you’s” exist. You change your behavior and the way you act in a situation according to the people and/or context involved. There is a different version of you for every occasion and every individual.
Not putting your emotions into words
You are mostly unable to comprehend what you are feeling and try to fit your emotions into the molds of two or three emotions — anger, sadness, and happiness. You are mostly unable to convey what you feel for the fear of being judged or misunderstood.
Not letting go
You are a hoarder. That’s it. You keep things close to yourself that may have positive or negative connotations and you keep revisiting those things to rekindle memories. It is difficult to give away material things in the subconscious for fear that you may be giving away the memory associated with that thing too.
This is only the tip of the iceberg. My journey with Little A has just started, and we have found peace and rekindling of affection within ourselves that will surely take us to the light at the end of the darkness.
So I urge you —ask your inner child, “ Do you want to play?”