picture of little girl with sunhat and crochet bikini
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the girl in the crochet bikini

Look at this little girl in the picture ! Isn’t she magnificent ?
A bit wild, headstrong, quite free, happy…  It’s me as a 4 year old.
I wonder, who is this person ? And what happened to her ? Is there nothing left of her but some vague memories, funny anecdotes told by those who knew her, a collection of faded photographs ?

I can’t remember what it felt like to be her, not really. All those layers that have accumulated on top of her.
Learning to walk in line. Learning what to do to be “succesful” in life, and what not to do. Toning down that troublesome big mouth. Dimming the mischieveous glimmer in those eyes.
Choosing to become a brainy nerd, focused on academic achievement. Not even rebel in adolescence. By choice ! Figuring I had been wild enough as a child.

And then, when I was barely 20, being told by a doctor I was seeing about my chronic insomnia, that I was having a midlife crisis ! I mean, really ? What the hell was I thinking ? How could I lose that radiant, bossy,  exuberant girl in the crochet bikini in such a disastrous way ?

I guess I did the best I could, with what I knew at the time. Going for what I thought was important to “make it”. Believing that going numb from the neck down was what it took to achieve what I thought I wanted.

I’m so grateful my body put a stop to all that by shutting down eventually.
Even though it meant not knowing anything any more for a couple of years.  Even though it meant seeing parts of my carefully constructed identity tumble and fall.
And really, I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up. But that’s OK. I kind of like that uncerainty.
The fear and the joy of not knowing are part of my life now.

There’s one thing that little girl and I still have in common though.
One thing that’s still very much there : my creativity, and my love for drawing and painting.
It’s growing stronger every day, in full color and with a ferocious energy that almost burns a hole in the canvas sometimes.
It gives me hope. I can choose a different direction for myself.
I can be that girl in the picture again. But maybe with a bigger crochet bikini  😉

Child's drawing in B&W
Child's pianting of a mountain landscape
Even as a child, this artist liked to switch between abstract and figurative styles...

How about you ? Do you feel you lost the child you once were ?
Or have you managed to stay close to your authentic, natural self all your life ?
Do we have a choice in who we become, you think ?
It’s not much use dwelling in regret, I guess. We can only learn and grow as we stumble forward…

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