Monday, September 12, 2011

The Little Me

It's Monday morning.  I roll over with a groan and stretch to the sound of my chirpy pre-schooler who has formally announced the time and is already firing questions at me about our day.  I try to delay the answering in hopes that she will slow down and crawl under the covers for a few more precious minutes of rest.  Like most days, she sits beside me and refuses my unspoken offer of blankets, pushing them away and asking me, "Mama, can we get up now?"

I force my rising and head for the coffee maker.  A couple of hits of my favorite drug and I can try to fien an equal excitement about the day.  The beginning of the week always holds a list of 'To Do's.  Today I don't want to do any of them.  I homeschool my daughter now and though I know there is a lesson scheduled for Monday I am already negotiating how I can do something else by 9:00 AM.  Monday mornings always include the gym.  I need my exercise.  Trust me, the world is a safer place because I work out.  By 10:00 AM I am convinced that I am over tired and under ambitious. 

Against my will, I dress and head for the 'Y' with a crying child who doesn't want to play with the other kids in the playroom while I do my workout.  "Stay home!" she yells as she bounces up and down, shaking her hands and scrunching her face.  I have to admit, it's compelling when normally it is an annoyance.  She settles as we pull into the parking space and I walk her in and down to the babysitting area.  She doesn't even toss back a glance once she sees all of her playmates busying about the toys.  I am still wishing she talked me into her agenda earlier but I am here now so I head to the fitness area.  It's treadmill day.  I don't want to run but I make myself even though I want to hit the stop button about 20 times in the first ten minutes. 

With every step, an ongoing war.  The battlefield is my mind.  The need to discipline myself versus giving in to the desires of the day.  I recalled a buzz word as this went on that I haven't heard since the early 90's.  I remember it very clearly.  It was on the lips of every psychologist and in the discussions of many talk show hosts.  The topic was the Inner Child.  I had a therapist who spent hours with me, helping me to first identify the voice of my inner child, discover what she lacked, and then how to help her.  We spent a lot of time with my eyes closed, picturing what she looked like and how she felt.  Most of my sessions were about her.  This delicate creature within, so damaged.  I had to be careful not to make her worse, I had to tell her that I loved her and that she was safe.  I was even instructed to sit quietly for a half hour every day, give myself a hug, say 'I love you' and see her in my mind surrounded by soft, warming yellow light.  What ever became of her?  I haven't seen her in so long.

She is still there. Her agenda usually doesn't include effort.  She'd rather go willy-nilly, avoiding anything that has to do with work or sacrifice.  I made a french toast breakfast this morning with egg whites.  She wanted eggs, sugar and cinnamon in the mix.  I made two slices, she wanted three and with extra syrup.  I made her have one tablespoon.  She didn't want to go the gym and do penance for any misuse of calories from the weekend, I ignored her whining and got into the car.

I used to spend so much time being careful not to upset her.  I invested so much in making her happy, thinking that if she was that I would be too.  Now, instead of coddling her every whim and weighing it against what I would like to do, I just say, "Get moving!"  Turns out that my inner child needed the one thing everyone told me never give her, a simple spanking. 

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