I thought Warrior was hard. This one I put off for two months.
My Little Girl
My Baby Girl hurts. She is in pain. So much pain and she doesn’t know what to do.
She doesn’t know why she’s been hurt, why she feels hurt.
She is so little, so small, how is she supposed to fight back and make the pain stop?
She doesn’t know how.
So she does what she can.
She furrows her little brow, straightens up her spine to make herself just a little bit bigger, clenches her fists so she can feel the strength in her tiny muscles, and starts moving. At first it’s a crawl, then she learns to lift herself up so she can walk, then run, faster.
She plows on, plows through. Trying to mask the hurt so she can feel normal again.
It kinda works.
Everyone around her oohs and aahs… Look how strong Baby Girl is! She is so smart! So good!
Baby Girl grows into Little Girl. She keeps marching. She is studious, athletic, musical, and hard-working at it all. So Diligent. Disciplined. Obedient. Mature for her age.
Little Girl doesn’t know any better. All she knows is how to survive.
Teenage Girl is somehow attune to this. She knows Little Girl isn’t REALLY mature. I mean, sure Little Girl follows all the rules, but that doesn’t count for Mature.
Mature means you go through each stage in the process. It takes time.
And when you don’t give time for your Little Girl to actually BE a Little Girl, then what you end up with is a Woman who is [over-]functioning on the outside and crying on the inside. And those cries are so foreign to Woman, she rejects them. She doesn’t even know they are her own. So she continues to do what she’s always done, and does so well… continue to quiet the hurt.
When she does that, she quiets the rest of Little Girl.
The part that knows what she needs and isn’t afraid to ask for it (even if its a literal cry for help.)
The part that knows what she wants and knows how to get it (even if it means doing the very thing you’ve been told not to do.)
The part that delights in just about every wonder of this world. And if it’s not delight, its disgust. She clearly knows her Yes and her No’s.
Rainbows, Yes; Spiders, No.
Spiders, YES!, Broccoli, NO!
Little Girl knows herself. She’s fine with her own company. She’s cool with hanging out in the grass with the butterflies, beetles, daisies, and dirt. They’re her friends.
And when her other Little Girl and Little Boy friends show up, she invites them into her world, and easily slips into theirs. Together they build sandcastles, create the most magnificent reenactments of their imagination, and lie in the grass hand in hand, staring at the clouds, giggling to themselves, just BEING.
Little Girl is not afraid to ask questions. Not afraid to not know the answer. Her Curiosity is abundant, and she’s resourceful in how she satiates it.
And when her brain and her body has had enough stimulation for the day, she lets herself stop. She’s mastered the art of the Nap.
Little Girl isn’t always happy and full of Joy. Sometimes things don’t go her way and she gets mad. She stomps her feet, raises her voice. She makes sure she is heard.
And because Little Girl is so switched on, over time she gets the fact that sometimes life doesn’t go your way. Sometimes you can be heard without the tantrum.
Little Girl pays attention to this lesson, because somewhere deep within her, she knows that one day when she is a Woman, there will be many disappointments, let-downs, setbacks, failures, and she wants to be able to hold that pain without wreaking havoc on herself or others. She knows that as a Woman she will have so much innate wisdom to share, and she wants people to listen.
So Little Girl learns to be with her emotions. When her school trip is cancelled, she learns about disappointment. When her dog is taken away, she learns about loss. When someone says something mean about her to her face, she learns about hurt. When she sees a friend being hurt by someone else, she learns about anger. And when the thunderstorms come, she learns about fear.
And by learning about her emotions, she learns about Desire & Possibilities, Love & Connection, Empathy & Forgiveness, Passion & Purpose, Courage & Trust.
Most importantly, when she feels so so small, and like she doesn’t matter, she learns that she is Valuable beyond measure, regardless of what other people do or say to her.
Little Girl must experience all of this in order to mature into Woman. She can not bypass, or take a shortcut. If she does, this is what will happen:
She will eat her feelings. When she has a deadline and she’s not convinced she has what it takes to pull it off. When her date cancels at the 11th hour. When she goes out to dance (because she knows she wants to) and she looks around and all she sees are other women who are more beautiful, put together, and successful than she.
She will become addicted to achievement. She will have to edit the email at least 7 times before it is ready to send. She will choose sitting in a dimly lit cubicle on a Saturday afternoon, over exploring and adventuring in the city with friends. She will wake up in the middle of the night to answer an email, so she’s not caught out and off-guard. She will walk, talk, and type at the same time, forgetting that life is actually happening as she walks, like a ghost, on by.
She will hurt everyone around her. She won’t try to intentionally, but she will need so much from them. Romantic partners, besties, siblings, colleagues. She will be craving the love and validation that she can’t give to herself and hasn’t yet received from her Self, and so it will be everyone else’s responsibility to fill this void. Except they can’t. And won’t. At first she will play nice. Appease. Give gifts. Tolerate. Contort into a million different shapes in attempt to get what she wants. It won’t do the trick. So then she will lashback, withdraw, punish, offend, coerce. That won’t work either. And so she will feel, if not be, alone.
How do I know what happens to a Woman who has lost her Little Girl?
Because this was me.
I can’t tell you why or how, but somewhere along the lines I stopped being friends with my Little Girl.
She was so needy. Always begging for attention. Unpredictable. Awkward.
I think it started with the feelings. I have a few poignant memories of disappointment, rejection, anger, and joy, but they are just blips in an otherwise monotone emotional life.
And her body. It just never stacked up to what other Little Girl bodies should be.
As a teen, I started to have more emotional outbursts, mostly directed towards my parents.
It was only a few years later I started to eat my feelings. It was a 2-for-1 problem solver. I didn’t have to feel and for once I could control my body.
I was 27 by the time I first cried in public. And it was only 1 or 2 tears I let fall down my cheek.
It wasn’t until 35 I learned to match my feelings to words.
For the most part I’ve lived with a wall surrounding my heart. I’m now slowly taking down the wall, sometimes brick by brick, sometimes whole sections at a time come crashing down.
It’s the Little Girl inside me that holds my hand, looks up into my eyes, and starts pulling me towards all that life has to offer on the other side.
She says, “Don’t worry. It’ll be OK. We can do this. You just have to let me be free.”
Free to feel. To get it wrong and make mistakes. To create imperfect masterpieces. To rest. To play. To squeal with excitement and quiver in fear. To delight in herself. To fully love others.
Innocent. Without answers. Shame-free.
Whether at 7, 27, 37, or 67, our Little Girl invites us to a rite of passage that transforms us into a Woman who can handle the full range. How will you respond? Will you answer her call?
Embody is a non-choreographed free-form dance class for women, and those who identify as women, where you are guided to experience a playful, light-hearted, curiosity in your body, so you can hold space for the full range in your life. Check out classes happening near you at www.embodydanceclass.com. Join my newsletter to find out about classes I teach and other offerings.