Last Sunday I was sitting on the porch with my friend Lisa when her 5-year-old daughter Alice sauntered out wearing pink shorts, long curly brown hair, no shirt, and a grin.
“Look at how long your hair is!” I said.
Alice smiled politely.
“Mermaid hair!” her mom added.
“Whatta cutie pie,” I said.
“IM A BLOODSUCKING MONSTER!” was Alice’s reply.
God, it makes me laugh again right now just thinking about it.
Don’t you miss those childhood days of supreme confidence, of a deep inner “to-thine-own-self-be-true”-ness?
Those days when someone would try to tell you who you were (::cough:: based on their limited and internalized perspectives and biases of gender norms, social value, innate worth, and beauty:::cough::) and without even thinking your young brain was like BACK OF LINDA YOU DON’T KNOW ME OR MY LIFE !!!!!!!
Sometimes I wonder what it would be like to operate in this world WITHOUT all the baggage, fears, insecurities, and expectations that I’ve collected over the years. What it would feel like to live with a bit more Alice-ness.
Alice shares her ice cream. Alice is excited to see her friends. Alice is honest: when I overstayed my welcome with her family in a year I spent without a home, 2-year-old Alice would greet me as I came out of the guest room with “No! NO! This MY house! You go YOUR house!” (That’s some primo boundary-setting, gurl).
Alice makes silly faces, not to be cute or be seen but because SHE thinks they’re funny.
Alice is so completely at home in her skin and herself. Like I told her mom: “That one marches to the beat of her own monster mash.”
She knows what she wants, what she likes, what she doesn’t want, what she doesn’t like--and she’s not afraid to share those things. She’s a sweet, tender-hearted, generous child, who also doesn’t think twice about being like “Does that thing you made have pineapple in it? I don’t like pineapple. I don’t HATE pineapple, I just don’t like it a lot.”
When Alice was 3-years-old she decided that nothing would do for her but to dress up as “Nacho Libre” for Halloween.
Her mom (one of my best friends, Lisa ), while a super-creative person herself who supports the imagination of her children, was also tired.
“What about being Anna from ‘Frozen’?” Lisa asked, eyeing the store-bought costumes hopefully.
“Nacho Libre!” said Alice.
“Or a puppy? You could pretend to be a puppy? That would be fun!” Lisa pursued with fleeting hope.
“Nachoooooooooooooooo…. Libbreeeeeeeeee!” was Alice’s reply.
That same year we found Alice hiding in a corner of the house with a chocolate frosting container she had found, opened, and was shoving gleefully by handfuls into her mouth. When we took it away from her, she looked up at us, hunched her shoulders bashfully, but giggled maniacally while making direct eye contact.
Feisty. Funny. Mischievous. Unapologetic. That’s the word!
Maybe today’s ANNIEGRAM reads simply as a love letter to a little girl. (I do love that bloodsucking monster a lot, it’s true).
But today’s ANNIEGRAM is also a love letter to YOU. To the young you, the hopeful you, the confident you, the at-home-in-your-skin YOU. The YOU who believed that everything was possible and anything could happen and the world was yours for the playing in.
What would it be like, to re-visit this YOU? What wonderful things could happen in your days if you remembered the YOU that you were?
Maybe you were quiet, content to treat yourself to beloved books and a comfy chair. Maybe you went out digging in the dirt for worms, watching in wonder as they squiggled and squirmed in your small hand. Maybe you wrote silly little poems, or made up complicated dances on roller skates (hypothetically), or watched clouds change shape, or ran around your neighborhood getting disgustingly sweaty.
Maybe you found the off-limits frosting and secreted it off to a corner to jump into a sugar crash. I AIN’T JUDGING!
Today’s ANNIEGRAM is a reminder to think about that YOU. Remember the things that made you feel the strongest, the most joyful, the best. Because times are hard, and we need to engage the innate potency of our ultimate childhood selves like never frickin’ before. We need to stand in the Power Pose of our Best Monster Mash.
So what would that power pose look like for you? Hands on hips? Shoulders back? Looking serious and foreboding, like a superhero? Or maybe eyes crinkled in a smile—hands clapping in glee, throwing your head back laughing.
I’ve been thinking about it and I think my Monster Mash Power Pose is this:
Gigantic grin, standing at the top of a painful journey up a volcano of death, glowing with pride and gratitude, arms outflung to welcome in the next most more that the world can give me.
THREE GOOD THINGS
Did you know that you can support THE ANNIEGRAM with your dolla dolla bills y’all?? If today’s newsletter’s tone was too optimistic for you, never fear! I sent another post this Wednesday to my paid subscribers on Patreon and here on Substack that included a previously unheard power ballad I wrote and recorded about being depressed and sitting on the couch for too long. Fun!
My sweet friend Kari is selling her sweetest-ever tiny house! Even if you’re not in the market for a totes adorbs very small home, it’ll still warm your heart to stare adoringly at the pics of what a lil’ love can build. (Plus, scope out the lawn where I’ve been having my summer quarantined campouts!)
Last week I had an impromptu physically-distanced garden party with some friends and made cucumber sandwiches with this crazy good vegan lox cream cheese and the lemon cucumbers from my garden, so nbd I’m just Martha Stewart now. ::hair toss::