Trigger Warning: Allusion to Eating Disorders
By Nicole Quy and Emily Fromant, Co-Editors In Chief
Healing, or connecting with, my inner child is a prospect I’m very familiar with. But it took until this summer when I was reflecting upon my past with eating disorders, and the genuinely astonishing amount of hatred I harboured for myself at such a young age, to realise that, perhaps, I needed to do the inverse of the methods I was currently employing.
I could not heal my inner child until I momentarily dissociated from her, positioned myself outside of her, and apologised, with the most sincere of hearts, for the pain I had caused her. She was only a child; she should never have to worry about such trivial things. It wasn’t until I reframed my perspective in this way, looking upon myself as the child I once was, not that is in spirit still there, that I could feel my ever cool self-critical self-perception begin to soften.
I want to say so much to her, not least in the hopes that perhaps, one day, I’ll speak of and to my present self in the same tender way, but also because she deserves an apology. I am sorry I ever convinced you that you weren't enough, that you had to change. I am sorry for not deleting the stupid blue app, which defined your entire teenage life, dictated which social events you could go to, whether you could afford to add milk to your cereal, and ever made you feel like you weren’t good enough. To think, in doing this, that I drained the energy and spirit of the pumpkin-patch dungaree, floppy bucket hat-clad, grinning little girl , is a feeling poignant enough that it makes me honour, not suppress those same hunger cues I used to subdue, and honour my reflection not with pointing fingers, but tender arms.
20-year-old me is going to be the role model I needed, when I was convinced I needed to restrict myself, preoccupied with my body and chiding myself for purely existing. I deserved, and deserve, better. To the sweetest, smiliest, happiest little girl who I convinced was too much, who needed to shrink away, I’m coming back for you love, I hope you’re coming back for me.
But I am also afraid of you. Afraid of how close you are getting. I am scared I am not enough for you. That you will look upon me with your great green eyes and be disappointed. I feel I’ve failed you. That I was never a fairy like you wanted, or a princess, that I hated you so wholly and completely, that I did not deserve you. It is hard to describe how I look at you now. Frozen in a picture frame. You feel so far away, yet so close. You wanted so many things, you deserved so many things. I wish I was stronger for you, I wish I protected you from the things I would say. But I didn’t, and I couldn’t. But I also feel you would love me anyway.
I would tell you: It’s you that keeps me strong now. That I still love the colour pink. I’d show you all of my shiny piercings - and you’d love them. I am reclaiming all of you; your vulnerability, your wide smile, your shameless singing. I am unlearning the fear I have been conditioned with and learning from you. And you have so much to teach little one, and I am sorry I didn’t know that sooner.
Featured Image: Nicole Quy
We need to be kinder to ourselves, both past and present.