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The Child Inside

Written By: Purple Love Guest Blogger Denise Kirschner

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Do you see her? She’s coloring with her brand new, sharp crayons, blowing bubbles, watching them float aimlessly throughout the air, and wobbling on her pink Huffy bike with training wheels…she’s looking at her collection of stickers deciding whether she likes the puffy stickers or scratch and sniff ones, she’s lining up her Smurfs and glancing at her Disney comics…she’s reading I Am a Bunny with her brother, and stringing yarn through her animal sewing cards…

Do you see her? She’s pretending to cook alongside her Mom, decorating Chanukah sugar cookies, challenging her Dad to a game of Connect Four, and asking him to stay and watch her at her tap class…she’s blowing out the candles on her bunny birthday cake, enjoying Gramma’s Bisquick waffles with syrup in every square and Grampa’s toast smothered in Land O’Lakes butter…she’s wiping vanilla ice cream off the tip of her nose and relishing the chocolate frosting with the white squiggly line on her Hostess Cupcake…

Do you see her? Where did she go? Why is she hiding? Is that her crying? Why don’t the girls play with her? Why do the boys tease her about the way she looks? Why won’t they let her sit at the lunch table with them? Did they just laugh at her new dress covered with baby roses and her pixie haircut? Why did the cashier look at her and ask her mom…how old is your son?

She’s confused…her parents love her, her brother loves her. They say it doesn’t matter what girls think…that boys avoid her…that adults utter callous remarks….after all she’s cute and funny and talented… that’s all she needed to know and her heart healed.

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That little girl with the short brown hair, toothy smile and toothpick legs, she lives inside of me as her feelings beat in my heart and her memories pierce my mind. Memories of her childhood filled with unconditional love and acceptance from her family tinged with bewilderment as the outside world saw her differently and judged her on her appearance. She believed though, that those who love you, they will never hurt you, they will want what’s best for you…and for the most part that satisfied her through her early adolescence and young adulthood. For so long, she lived happily inside of me. She did not fear life, she did not fear food nor did she let other people’s opinions deter her or people’s rules ruin her.

So when we met him, she too was excited. That innocent night turned into a relationship. Time passed and the loving relationship transformed into a marriage, a marriage that mutated into an eating disorder. That little girl, she faded, slowly shrinking away under his control and the numbness of the eating disorder. Who could blame her? She was scared, lonely, confused. Someone who supposedly loved her was hurting her, was hurting us. In her mind that was NOT supposed to happen after all love had never hurt her before. But his love caused hurt and pain. She disappeared and she lost me to him.

I missed her, but more than that, I needed her. She needed me. I left that marriage, a situation that was harming us both, behind. I had to search long and hard for her. I needed to regain her trust and let her know she was safe. And one day, ED stepped aside, anxiety slid over and she appeared in her brilliant blue pants and matching pink and blue tee shirt playing Lego’s. Cautiously, she let me back in her life, as I let her into my heart. And we began to heal.

Release your Inner Child

That child, that beautiful little girl inside…she is the reason I strive for that yellow light, that light of recovery. She still needs more from me… she needs me to feed her body, care for her mind, and nurture her soul. I will not disappoint her. You see, I need her…her strength, her carefree spirit, her zest for life, and her courage to dream. So it is with her, hand in hand, heart to heart, that we head towards a life not dictated by ED, but a life filled with hope and passion – her life, my life, OUR life.

 My name is Denise and this is Where I Stand.