She’s got a smile that it seems to me
Reminds me of childhood memories
Where everything was as fresh as the bright blue sky
Now and then when I see her face
She takes me away to that special place
And if I stare too long, I’d probably break down and cry
— Guns N’ Roses (1987) 🔫🌹
Healing the inner child
When I was 8, I wrote my mother a letter asking her this question: “Why don’t you have time for me?”
It was a valid question but I never got a reply. Like most parents of my generation, mine both worked full-time. Both worked their way up the ladder at the government’s top financial institution. Their love language was primarily focused on being good providers for my sisters and I. We grew up mostly autonomous self-starters but lacking that validation that we are enough on our own. It’s funny because we all filled up that lack in the same ways–by pouring ourselves out through books, music, art, and our school lives. We were creatively and academically engaged, but we also became people-pleasers in varying self-destructive degrees.
I am grateful for all the hard work and sacrifices our parents have made for all of us to live a comfortable life. And I understand they both made the best choices they could at that time. Most of my shadow and healing work revolves around reclaiming my worth. That I never needed to be extraordinary, to compete, or to always remain on the ledge of pleasing and pleasant to be enough for them or for any other person I value in my life. I am enough. I am always enough. And I am loved. I am loved by those who fully embrace me as I am. I continue to heal.
Celebrating the inner child
They used to call me bungisngis. I was the kid you could pull laughter out from effortlessly. And if you did it in a string again and again, I ended up laughing in tears. I remember making Lola Ilagan (not blood-related, but special to me) happy with just my laughter. She told my mother, “Ay, ang tawa niya, ang sarap!”
I first encountered the saying, “Laughter is the best medicine” when I started reading my dad’s monthly Reader’s Digest subscription when I was 7. And yes, I do believe laughter + the gift of making someone laugh, smile, and see the brighter side of things is a balm to both the bodily nerves and the soul.
I want to continue celebrating and paying homage to this precious inner child trait by laughing like bungisngis little Lea more often and making others laugh and smile in my own ways. Corny or not. 🌽
Embodying the inner child
Whenever I channel my inner child, I always flash to this particular photo (see featured photo). It’s special for me. There wasn’t any ocassion for it, just a random Saturday or Sunday when my mom thought of finishing off the leftover film in her analog camera by taking photos of me and us in the garden.
This is the essence of little Lea. I feel like it doesn’t need further elaboration. You can look at it and feel what my soul–my inner child spirit is like. Eternally young and innocent, playful and mischievous, easy to love, trusting, and free as a bird. Always seeing and revealing the light in others. That’s how I hope to embody my inner child as she continues to be with me in this wonder-filled journey of a life. 💗