I grew up in a turbulent childhood, I don’t want to dwell on the past or get the violins out; it’s just a fact I have made peace with (or, at least am trying to).
Growing up fast was vital, I was molded into a serious, quiet kid and expectations of me to be clever, independent and mature were very high.
The invisible rule book was my bible and my mother’s stern words were my psalms.
I was the trophy child, the one who had her entire life mapped out for herself by the age of 10, the perfect teenager who didn’t get wasted or come home past curfew and the respectable 20-something who found pleasure in being a domestic goddess, cheerily catering to ex-partner’s every need and being the nicest doormat you’d ever walk all over. I never stepped out of line, and I was dutiful to a fault.
I was so consumed with being the prissy good girl, I lost myself completely in the people-pleasing madness.
And yet I ached to break free.
I desired to be delightfully wayward.
I needed to be unabashedly playful.
As I was nearing the magical age of 30 (the age where you are supposed to have your sh*t together, apparently); the world I thought I had worked hard to secure was crumbling beneath me. Everything that could go wrong, did go wrong.
I’d scream at the universe, “But I did everything right! I’m the good girl, haven’t I done enough? Why is this happening to me?”
With every new crisis—heartbreak and bad days cascading upon me, one on top of the other like bricks to my face—something fiery was churning in the pit of my stomach, something wild wanted to escape, a theatrical rebel wanted to cause mischief and a thunderstorm began to rattle in my rib-cage.
I was exhausted trying to meet people’s ideals of a perfect human being and I was bored of trying to live up to societal and familial expectations.
The epiphany came to me in yoga class, playfully in happy baby pose: I said to myself, “Wait just a goddamn minute…I don’t have to care about any of this sh*t!”
Yoga wanted nothing more from me than to just breathe, laugh, and make shapes and play. Like a loving grandma, yoga was allowing me to grab my feet and literally be a happy baby.
And that was the day I began to heal my inner child, and just like a child, I allowed myself to tumble, and to finger-paint my life into a glorious, colorful mess!
Eventually, my tears turned into laughters and a more vivacious aspect to my personality erupted out of me. The people-pleasing perfectionist took a backseat.
I am now known to be cheeky at work and I wear pigtails with pride.
I crack naughty jokes and erotic puns, and I pilfered the last doughnut in the canteen!
My wit is feisty like a leopard and I wear red lipstick to celebrate my smile and new-found confidence in my mischievous voice.
For you see, I am embracing a side to me that was stunted and was told it was bad. I am reclaiming my child-like wild heart that was stolen from me and locked away in a mountain of docile obedience.
You can find me in the super market, down aisle 15, holding a can of beans and bopping to cheesy pop music.
You will see me smearing chocolate and honey on my face and licking the wooden spoon.
You will notice me wearing bumblebee tights, a bright red play-suit and an over sized granny cardigan whilst painting my nails mauve because I think I look good.
You will see me dancing butt naked whilst mopping the kitchen floor.
You will see ink on my skin, paint in my hair, crumbs in my bed and my teacup precariously balancing on the bouncy mattress because I dislike coasters.
You will notice I carry at least five hefty books and two tarot decks in my backpack because I find pleasure in mystery and mysticism.
You will see me accidentally spill curry down my jumper and shrug, “Oh well, it’s just a jumper.” And I “forget” to do the washing up for days on end because there are more important things in life to do than chores, like writing erotic poems or meditating to your favorite Beetles album.
You will hear me ask people, “If you were a dragon, what would be your super power and what color would you be?” because icebreakers like this unlocks that child-like imagination and the answers tell you a lot about the person.
You will find me in the rain, stroking wet moss on an old bridge, staring at my fingertips in wonderment, knowing water bears might be swimming on the surface of my skin.
And you will see me in a meadow of wildflowers, holding my hands up to the sky and shouting, “Hello Clouds!”
You will find me spending all my savings on a holiday adventure of a lifetime rather than investing in mortgages and designer sofas.
You will see me be outrageously silly and laugh until my eyes squint.
And I’ll be spending more time daydreaming and making love than working extra shifts for the sake of a little more cash.
Some may think me peculiar, others may tell me to act my age, settle down and have babies. But right now, I’d really rather not, and I am enjoying this new found mischievous exuberance! Right now all I want to do is play. Just let me play; let me find my way and explore my possibilities so that I can relish in rediscovering myself all over again.
Life falls apart on purpose because your heart-door needs to be broken open so that your inner child can step out into the radiant light, pick up the pieces and make a beautiful mess whilst giggling at wiggly toes in happy baby pose.
Author: Katie Ness
Editor: Emily Bartran
Photo: Brooke Cagle/Unsplash