I came across this image recently and it really resonated with me. It’s quite a question, for me anyway. Can yours?
Since beginning this whole journey into D/s four and a half years ago I’ve always envied those who identify in full or part as littles or middles. Not in a jealous way but more in a curious way, not quite understanding how easily people could tap into their inner child so freely and in such a fun way.
I recognise a longing, not necessarily to be a little or middle, but to be able to find similar qualities within myself. I also recognise, unfortunately, that I have challenges that prevent me doing so. And that kind of makes me feel a little sad for myself. Not sorry for myself, but sadness around the situations that led me to have to hide her so well that I forgot where I put her.
I think, although I’m unsure on this, that I often come across as quite a serious person, responsible and more often than not, not always fun and lighthearted. I see these beautiful qualities in others and oh how I wish I could shed the layers to reveal this part of me. The difficulty is, I think, that she doesn’t really know how to play as she never had the opportunities she deserved in order to learn how.
Without going into too much detail, I know I very probably quickly learned that play had little place in a home where repeated acts of domestic violence, drug use and abuse and constant underlying threat was the norm. What was the norm was behaving, not rocking the boat and gaining praise through achievement. I don’t have many memories around being playing with at home with my parents or brother. Outside yes, at school yes, but at home? No.
I see my own young children playing so openly and freely, racing around yelling and making the mess children do in their whirlwind of learning and growing and battling at times, as siblings do. I find myself wondering if I did that and just can’t remember or if I really just wasn’t able to access that. And that realisation carries a lot of pain. Especially as I now have my own little people to compare myself against. I do know I grew up too fast, that I realised things I shouldn’t have had any awareness of so young and I learned very quickly to read moods, stay under the radar, stay quiet about what was going on at home and be a ‘good girl’.
So, whilst young, my young self was neglected by my parents. And I continued to do the same all the way into adulthood and parenthood. Only relatively recently have I spent proper time trying to pay attention to this inner child of mine and discover her again.
Yet there are often times I feel young, not always really understanding how things should work, or what things mean. How relationships should work and I also have learned this is interpersonal trauma based. I’ve had two clinical psychologists identify that I have 2 contrasting schemes – a very high functioning, driven, no nonsense, successful and strong way of being (protective part) and a much more childlike, young and unsure way of being (vulnerable part) as a result of not gaining all the developmental ‘tools’ I should have back then and then trying to use my limited selection in adulthood, if that makes any sense? Sounds awful doesn’t it? But makes perfect sense when I now know my brain was rather busy surviving trauma instead of doing what it should really have been doing. It was kind of distracted I guess.
She’s really pretty quiet, and a whole lot of sad. I imagine myself taking her by the hand and holding her close. When she’s noticed she sort of comes forward, very tentatively though. But she’s there, inside, watching, wondering, gradually making herself known to me. Her voice is getting louder as I realise she is the part of me that has held the pain and trauma all my life. Not adult me. So no wonder she can’t be free and lighthearted and fun. How can I expect her to be?
I know I can never call Cuiplash my Daddy as there are too many damaging connections and triggers there. Despite me fully recognising how much of a caregiver he is to me, how he calms and soothes and guides and looks after me. How he manages the important stuff at home, feeds me and supports me. It’s inherent in his nature and always has been. It’s very probably one of the things that drew me to him when we were teenagers as, even then, he protected and nurtured me. When he now calls me ‘good girl’ or refers to me as a girl at all, I know it is her that responds with a nuzzle and gratitude. Because he knows she’s there too and she thanks him for seeing her.
It’ll take me time to coax her out, to foster the trust in myself and find the playfulness and fun. The desire is there, the release is there and I also think a lot of healing lies there. I’m not suddenly expecting to become a little or a middle, I’m not sure if too much damage has been done, but the thought of being able to tap into the carefree and joyful me that lives in her makes her smile. Maybe one day my inner child can come out to play whenever she wants.