“This morning I feel rich with time. I have a whole day!”
Just thinking that, as I journaled, made me feel like an excited kid. As a kid on a day like this, I would probably (after Saturday morning cartoons) play outside. In the desert, finding shade determined where we would play; on the west side of the shed in the morning and the east side of the shed in the afternoon. Sometimes I taught school, scratching lists of rhyming words on the side of the shed. Other times, I would play “house”, scratching walls in the dirt and cautioning my friend not to walk through the wall, but to come around to the door.
Once, when there was a flood that blanketed the town, water was two feet deep around my house. I could not go outside to play so I decided to clean the house. I made a long list of rooms that I would clean. I started working, as happy as I could be. My mother would be so proud of me! [STOP]
I stopped writing, suddenly realizing, “I can stop my memories before they go to the dark side!”
This is like being given permission to stop the past from replaying and reinjuring me.
There’s no denial, I remember what happened next; what my mother’s actual reaction was; the hurt it caused; the hurt or mental illness in my mother’s life that prompted her reaction. For me, today, however, I do not have to relive that experience, for feelings, or information, or for validation from others. I have gotten all I need from that memory.
Today, I can offer my inner child a different experience by saying the words a loving parent would have said then; new words to offer her and me a way to remember childhood differently. She can know I am proud of her. This is not fantasy. I am a real person, a mom, and a grandmother. Ten-year-old-me inside adult-me is just as alive as I am. Today, I am proud of her. My head is held just a little higher.
No wonder ACA teaches, “The solution is to become your own loving parent!”. In essence, the solution is to rewrite the past; not just in forgiving Mom for a mistake, but in changing what happened by doing what would have happened if I had had loving parenting the first time around. Then Adult Julia and Little Julia can experience what it would feel like and move forward with more confidence from that supported, successful place. Our body would respond and react to that better way of living by sending out new hormones and creating new neural networks. And, yes, I would hold my head just a little higher.