A Quarter of My Mind: Why my 12-year-old self is my Superhero

A Quarter of Mind: The Night Niko Turned (Part III)
Winifred hMensa

Most people have a hard time remembering their past. I don’t. As a matter of fact, I have a hard time forgetting it. I seem to have the ability to see all of my life on one single timeline. One memory of pain is linked with all the memories of pain over the years; another image of joy is also connected with all the happy moments, and so on and so forth. You can liken the memories of the various phases of my life to concentric circles held together in time and space.

As with all adults, the seasons of life — with all its 5000 episodes of laughter, strife, disappointment, etc. — change us, sometimes leaving us mangled when we crash upon the shores of unfulfilled dreams. Soaking wet in our failures and flaws, we let go of our ideals, beliefs, convictions, and sometimes even our principles just so we can pull ourselves through the tedious path that life often leads.

Every now and then, we hear the unfettered laughter of a child and are reminded of a time and a place when we were once unafraid to set our souls free; when we dared to dream and be wild about it. Only to grow up and be forced to face the reality of life’s demands. The rain that pours on our parade comes in a torrent of worries and cares, and forces us to run for cover from our dreams

A couple of years ago, I had to survive a superstorm of such adversities. It was one bad thing after another worse thing. No matter what I did or how I sheltered, the storm would find me out and wash me dry and empty of all my hopes and aspirations. It felt like Murphy’s Law was working overtime! Interestingly, amid those trials that threatened my sanity and very existence, one thing kept me grounded and helped me get back on after every fall. It was my 12-year-old self. Some may call it an alter ego, but for me, she’s my superhero!

I’ll tell you why. See, I was a very peculiar child; quirky, confident, head-strong, misunderstood, and slightly off-beat — your typical INTJ child. I kept to myself most of the time and took life very seriously from a very young age. I was quite aware of myself, unlike most children my age, and fully confident in who I was (quirks and all). It was the age where my eyes were somewhat opened to life, and the fact that I was a human being with dreams and desires, needs and wants. I felt equal to whatever task life brought my way and never once doubted my young self or my capability. I had somehow come to terms with my uniqueness and individuality and I was all too happy to be different. I had no desire to conform or dance to anyone’s tune but mine. Not that I was much of a dancer, anyway. It was a stage in my life where pessimism or the pollution and negativity of life had not been absorbed via osmosis.

By the time I was 12, I was playing soccer regularly with boys at least 5 years older than I was and never for a second felt intimidated by them or even conscious, for a moment, of my now budding baby melons. As far as I was concerned, I had come to play soccer and any team was lucky to have me play on their side. That period in my life was when I felt the most me.

Some might call it ignorant idealism and blame it on a lack of experience, but looking through the lenses of time with my present-day reality in view, I see that all the principles I live by that keep me on the straight and narrow come from that feisty 12-year-old me. The dream, vision and ideals she held on to unflinchingly, have helped me maintain my course in life. I may not yet be at our destination, but I’m definitely on track (even after the storms threatened to throw us off our path).

Psychologists often talk about parenting your inner child and teach us how to ensure that we guide our inner child through repressed emotions and all that. They advise that as adults, we access our inner child so we can find the roots of our issues as adults. Frankly, in my case, my inner child actually parents me and helps me deal with emotions that weigh on me as an adult. Basically, my inner child is my utmost superhero because she was fully convinced and convicted of per passion and pursuit in life and believed she could do anything she set her heart and mind to.

As an adult in my late 30s, I feel in so many ways indebted to her and her unequivocal stance on principle. And there have been many precarious situations I have had to call on her judgment, and needless to say, she has come to my rescue countless times. And whenever I reach my breaking point or feel lost, I time-travel to the late 90s, to the 12-year-old me. I check in with her, learn why she believed so strongly in herself, relearn how to be me again, and use her resolute optimism to forge a new path in the present. Her innocence, principle, and sense of purpose always keep me steady and help me to remove the murk from my mind and not succumb to the perverse, depraved, and degenerate world we live in. She keeps me in check as I feel somehow accountable to her.

So no matter how old I grow, in my heart, I am still that 12-year-old me because she was a woman of steel and you couldn’t tell her nothing! She knew who she was and was confident in her skin. And oddly enough, that is what I aspire to become as an adult. Until I reach the full measure of her heart towards life, I’ll always keep her at the fore of my heart and mind and see life through her lenses.

>>>The author is a writer, poet, and pocket philosopher

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