Eighteen months ago, I wrote a letter to my inner child. Come into my life more, I said. Well, she took up the invitation. Now, she wants to take over. She says it’s time to heal the early years and fully rebirth myself. <Gulp.> Anyways, here she is. See what what you think.
Congrats on the life changes. You’re safe and happy now. So that has me wondering: Why am I still scrunched up like a knot in your belly? What’s the point of holding this old fear pose? I’m sick of being that sick feeling in your stomach.
I just want to be the Little Betty you once were, before life got in the way.
What my inner child wants
Listen to me. We must play. Really play. So stop taking classes to learn how to paint, draw and dance. Let’s just do it!
Oh, how wish we could act silly. Imagine us running around in the sunshine, jumping and hollering. (If that’s too much freedom, I’d settle for rolling on the carpet with the dog.)
Or, what if we got cozy on the couch with a book? Not a book for work, or, for your book club, or, self-help books. Just a fun book.
Of course, I’m asking a lot. Mommy and Daddy trained you to keep quiet, work after school, help the family, go to church and learn Chinese from a tutor.
Back then, living inside of you felt like suffocating in a wet, dark cave. I froze whenever they yelled at you for doing bad in math, science and piano lessons.
And I’m so sorry they didn’t care about your writing. At least, I liked it! When you scribbled random stories in your notebook, I got to float around, smiling. It was very enjoyable. At least, until Mommy scolded you for wasting paper, when you should have been doing homework.
After that, I’ve been stuck in the cave.
Over the last 18 months, visiting you made me happy. You’re fun when you’re not moody, which triggers your self-doubt. When you get like that, I hate it because I plunge back into the cave.
3 trimesters in a woman’s life
But we can change the whole metaphor. For instance, what if I’m in your womb waiting for rebirth, instead of hiding in a cave?
You know what I’m talking about. Surely, with all your research, you’ve heard that women pass through three life stages that are like three trimesters.
In the first trimester, we’re young, right through our 20s. Then, we devote our middle years to mothering and nurturing. (Even if we’re single with no kids, we’re usually taking care of somebody, right?)
By the third trimester, we’re done with menopause. We’re also rich and beautiful with maturity based on life experience. We’ve transformed into a gift to the universe — the gift of the wise woman.
You’re ready to be That Woman. You found your wisdom when you finally loved our parents. You understood that they did their best. That Mommy believed hitting you would beat out the rebellion. That Daddy forced you into right-handedness to help you fit in.
You get it. As immigrants who suffered hunger and the horrors of war, they were all about survival. They dreaded raising you in the racist U.S. of the ’60s and ’70s. They feared the culture would destroy their precious, American-born Betty. After all, you were just a nobody girl with a yellow face. In their own way, they tried to protect you.
I know you’re embarrassed to say you ended up traumatized. But what would you call it when you’ve spent 10 years(!) on this blog, ranting about Asian parents, obsessing about single motherhood and regretting relationships with the wrong men? A sane person would not carry on like that.
Hey. It’s okay. Your blog documents your traumas and your triumphs. I’m proud of you for sharing your story.
And now, my girl, it’s finally time to let go. Time to sing a new song.
What my inner child wants: a new song
Let go of the constant effort to either meet or fight your parents’ standards. My goodness, Daddy’s been dead 39 years, and Mommy, since 2010.. You can be your own woman now.
Stop forcing yourself to ignore yourself. Instead of negative efforting, embrace your third trimester. Turn my stinking cave into a warm womb that nurtures us both for our next life.
Thanks to your hard work, we’re almost there. You’ve learned how to give and get unconditional love. You’ve created a family of choice filled with a quarter century of therapy, friends and support group goodness.
Your home life is available to us, too. An empty-nesting mommy like you is ready to focus on yourself. You paid off the mortgage on the house, which erased a huge money pressure. Plus, you’re in great health.
You’ve even detoxed from man dependency. The past 18 months of celibacy liberated you from Mommy’s mantra. Btw, I’m still shaking my head (SMH). How could she tell that “having a man is a prestige?” LOL.
Girl, you only need me. I’m your other half, not some man. Together, we make one whole Betty. I complete you.
You are the outer Betty, who wrestles with the world in search of new adventures, while keeping us safe.
I’m the inner Betty, the core. I am your creativity, light source, higher intelligence, emotional center and spiritual truth.
If you let me out 24/7, this could be the prime time of your life. I’m ready to play. Are you?
Okay readers, your turn
So….this is what I’m getting from Little Betty. If you have questions or comments for either of us, we’re here. If you and your inner child want to share your thoughts, we’re all ears.
We’re here to give and get support because all of us deal with old, early wounds. They run deep and ripple through many layers.
And guys, this post and discussion is also for you — you might have rebirthing hopes and dreams, too.