My adult self is better at shrugging things off, at pushing pain and fear and distrust down, at swallowing hurt and doing “what needs to be done.” So, it came as a bit of a surprise to me that my adult self could ever understand that the shell that separated the adult me from the child me needed to come down.
The shell was there for a reason, one could even argue a good reason. There was pain, there was loss, there were questions whose only answers were hollow and deeply unsatisfying, “I don’t know” and “because that’s the way it is.” My child self knew enough to know that he wanted to grow and he felt that he couldn’t with all that brokenness. So, he built the shell around the broken parts, around all the unanswered questions. He did his best to let my adult self grow.
My adult self craved freedom, my child self craved security. So, the shell seemed like a good solution and we got a long way with that shell intact. We almost convinced ourselves that it made sense. But, eventually, we (all of me) were stuck. One part of me felt so much and the other felt so little. Neither was happy, neither was whole.
The shell needed to come down. We needed to see each other, we needed to trust each other, we needed to love and hold each other, we needed to be one. My child self needed to find the safety of acceptance in my adult self and my adult self needed to find the freedom to feel in my child self.
Together, we began to take that shell apart.