The first prompt in the 37 Self Explorations program is to find a photo of yourself as a young girl. Look at her closely and think about who you were back then. This exercise is all about reconnecting with the girl you were, showing her love, healing old wounds, and realizing all the ways the wonderful qualities she possessed still live inside you.
Here are pictures of me from 30 years ago, at age seven. In many ways, this was the year I lost the innocence of childhood.
My older siblings had gone off to college by now and my parents were getting divorced. What was a household of six became a household of three: my mom, my little sister, and me. Even though my dad wasn't always the man we needed him to be, I was a daddy's girl and the divorce took a toll on me. I wouldn't have said this back then, but I think it's fair to say now... I was devastated by the divorce, devastated that he wasn't around every day to give me the love and affection I so desperately craved.
I also went on my first diet that year. In fact, this is my back-to-school photo from 2nd grade, taken after I'd lost weight that summer. I was so proud of this little black dress, but after awhile, it didn't fit anymore and it became a source of shame.
This was the first time I remember being body conscious, realizing my body wasn't like other girls. The kids at school started to notice it too and I became the butt of their jokes.
It was definitely a painful time of transition for me. It's when I learned to hold onto the pain, to keep it to myself. Other kids had it worse. Who was I to feel sad? It was isolating, and I remember feeling lonely, even though I was never alone.
What were you like back then?
Precocious. Book smart and smart mouthed. Quiet at school, but rambunctious at home. The perfect blend of naughty and nice.
What were your hopes and dreams? What kinds of things did you love to do?
I loved listening to records and choreographing dance routines with my sister. We also liked to stay up late and watch music videos on TV. I dreamed of being a famous actress, singer, and dancer. I also loved to draw and wanted to be an artist.
What do you love about her?
I love her spirit, her fearlessness. Looking back, I'd say she was pretty badass for seven years old. Total braveheart. <3
If you could send her a message, what would it be?
Oh honey, you don't have to carry the weight of the world on your shoulders. It's okay to let it go. Try to enjoy the sweet freedom of your youth each and every day. You are precious, you are seen, and no matter what, you are loved.