I had to visit a school for work a couple of weeks ago. What happened there has been playing over and over and over in my mind, so I’m hoping this blog post will help me process it a bit more.
I was scheduled to visit the school the previous week but was completely paralysed by the idea and pulled out at the last minute. Thinking about it, and using more of back up therapist’s technique of breaking it down, the bits that paralysed me were the idea of talking to people I didn’t know (and my fears of looking like an idiot), and the thought of being physically trapped in an unknown environment. Neither of those things turned out to be the problem on the day, though – although I did, at one point, look like an idiot, and I did feel trapped. But, the fact that I went at all is a positive step, even if I still felt panicky – so back up therapist said, anyway.
While there I had to go into a classroom with the first graders (5-6 year olds). That alone was enough to strike terror into me. They were learning about the letter ‘g’ and all the things that start with ‘g’: glove, glass, garden, gate…
So, I’m sitting at the miniature table with the miniature chairs talking to one of the miniature children. She had to draw a goose, but she didn’t want to. She asked me to do it as she said she couldn’t draw. I said, “No, you do it. Just have a go.”
Well, she drew the best darned goose I’ve ever seen. Certainly the best goose I’ve seen come out of a 5 year old. But, and here’s the thing, she was practically in tears telling me it wasn’t any good; that she wants to be an artist but can’t draw. 😦
Well, that was enough to bring me to tears as well. She broke my heart. I wanted to scoop her up and give her a big hug. I wondered what’s happened in her short life to make her as f***ed up as I am?
I talked to back up therapist about this (after using nearly an entire box of tissues in her office). She said that probably nothing’s happened in her life, it’s just that she’s bright and has a picture in her mind of what she wants to draw, but can’t yet make the pencil do what she wants it to do.
Both my back up therapist and my regular therapist said this little girl touched a nerve. She sure did. She reminded me of myself. And gave the “mother” in me a good old whack.
In one respect I was relieved that probably nothing heinous has happened to this sweet little girl. But I was reminded of me as a child (and even as an adult). My whole life has been like that damned goose: seeing it in my mind’s eye, but feeling like I could never quite make it.
I hope someone loves this little girl. I hope someone nurtures her and supports her and encourages her. I hope that whatever she does, someone tells her it’s wonderful, be it a scribble or a masterpiece. I hope she doesn’t grow up the way I have.