When I was a little girl I loved to sing, write, create.
When I was a little girl I didn't have a plan or a to do list. I sang all the time and danced in my room. I spent hours drawing my dogs and horses I wished were mine.
When I was a little girl I didn't worry about what I could or couldn't do. I didn't worry about what other people thought. I lived in a small town in a small house. I didn't know there was a big world out there.
When I was a little girl I didn't worry about my dreams. I didn't know my dreams were dreams.
No one told me I couldn't so I didn't tell me I couldn't.
Then I wasn't a little girl anymore. I was a girl. I wanted to sing, write, create. I didn’t realize it but I wanted to connect and communicate. I sang in choirs, in my room, with my friends. I wrote horrible poems and read lots of books.
I realized there was a world out there and it was big and bright and wide.
I started to realize my dreams were dreams.
When I was a girl I also began to realize other people had ideas and expectations about who I was and who I should be. The world was sending me messages. I wasn’t quite listening, but I wasn’t not listening.
Then I wasn’t a girl anymore. I was a young woman. I wanted to sing, write, express, connect. I was serious about the piano. I joined choirs and took voice lessons and played in the school band. I wrote more bad poetry. I hung out with my music friends. I shared things I wrote.
I didn’t have a plan or a todo list. I finished high school. I went to college. I kept playing the piano. I kept writing. I still felt the pull to create, connect, communicate. But I was crumbling. I was crumbling and I was scared. I didn’t know how to take dreams and make them reality. I was shy and melancholic and kind of fucked up. I didn’t have the tools. I didn’t have the strength or the belief in myself. I didn’t realize what I really needed to do was buckle down, make a plan and do the work.
And those external messages, ideas, and expectations? Now they were coming in loud and clear. Blasting at me from all directions. My mom, my peers, my community, the media, society. I was malleable. I soaked all those messages in and internalized them. I started to think the external voices were internal directions, feelings and ideas.
So I drifted. I drifted into adulthood, into motherhood. I drifted through jobs. Years of depression and anxiety. I shoved creativity and self-expression down so far I forgot they were there. I was compacted and pressed into a horrible, painful, tangled mess. I kept trying to shape and shove myself into the world’s expectations of who and what I should be. I kept looking for external validation. I became emotionally and physically sick. Mild, chronic stuff. Overweight. Inflammation. Sky high anxiety. I was drowning and lost and wandering all at the same time. I was imploding and blowing up.
Now I’m a middle-aged woman. I still want to write, create, communicate. I still feel a need to connect with others and to express myself. To say something.
This time I’m making a todo list. I’m working on a plan. I’m coming full-circle, back to the little girl who didn’t know she couldn’t.