I’ve had a recurring dream for weeks now.
I’m standing in an empty room staring at a wall with a small mirror. The girl staring back at me is sixteen. She’s young, impressionable, afraid and quiet. She doesn’t speak. She looks confused and awkward. She is full of pain and regret. She has experienced deep loss. This girl is wounded. She looks vaguely familiar. She is weak but has no choice but to make difficult decisions. She’s only sixteen, yet in a split second her world changes and she is forced to end her childhood and become an adult. Dreams suddenly die, fun and games end, she now plays the role of wife, mother, carpool driver, housekeeper, family cook…..the list is endless.
Every time I wake up from this dream I have a sense of fear and anxiety. I get out of bed and walk to the bathroom mirror and encounter this young girl again, only this time I know I’m not dreaming. That girl is me and she won’t go away until I learn more about her and why she’s “haunting” me.
I finally took a good look in the mirror and realized that the sixteen year old version of myself has been controlling nearly everything for the past 12 years! Decisions made out of fear, hiding from truth and not accepting the reality that I am loved regardless of my circumstances or actions was all a result of this child running my life. I am afraid of being hurt and betrayed in relationships because of her. I allow my own voice to be silenced and my body and heart to feel oppressed because of the hurt I experienced at 16.
At 28 years old it seems crazy to allow a teenager to control my life and yet that’s what I have been doing….until now.
Before the current me takes back control I feel I need to allow that teenager to live out some of her dreams. She gave up a lot in order to become an adult overnight. I went back and read some of my high school journals and writings in my yearbooks. I have a small list of things I need to go do to allow that young girl some freedom again; give her a bit of her childhood back. I’m continuing to pursue healing and happiness and this is the next, very needed step forward.
“You’re never too old to have a happy childhood.”