Embracing your inner child

I heard the cry of my inner the child the other day

The wails took me by surprise

It demanded it be heard

And said I must crawl again to truly rise

Children do not have a monopoly on creativity. Or on taking risks or truly embracing freedom either. However, we arguably seem to value these skills more in children, making sure we place them in environments where these skills can be encouraged and nurtured. You come across parents who ‘ooo’ and ‘ahhh’ over scribbles that their child has made and insist on hanging it front and centre on the fridge. Of course, this is not because it looks great (let’s be honest, most of the time it’s looking very…abstract) but because they’re early indicators of a child’s creativity and that’s exciting for them to see.

On the other hand, as an adult, you find that you quickly become more rigid in your ways, an  overthinker when it comes to risk-taking and due to work and other time-consuming commitments. You see something intriguing online for a course that’s slightly ‘out there’ but nevertheless looks fun and you think ‘ooo, that looks nice’, then you scroll past it and move on because reality calls and you realise there’s no space in your crammed schedule for such things. Next thing you know you’ve become a full-time resident of the comfort zone, which gets its name for a reason; it’s a cozy habitat, after all! 

Final results from one of the many paint kits I’ve completed since lockdown

Stepping out of that zone and picking up a new skill as an adult can be thrilling but also quite scary. It requires commitment and will but also the willingness to be vulnerable and make mistakes. During my piano practice with my teacher, I could always feel myself getting worked up when I wasn’t getting things right straight away when, in fact that’s literally part of the learning process.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been finding myself reconnecting to the things that made me the happiest as a child. Painting, singing, creative writing, even learning to play the piano recently. In fact, I was mistaken to think they ever stopped bringing me joy. I think at some point during the end of my teenage years I thought to myself, ‘I need to abandon these things and properly be an adult now, as if there is one correct way to be an adult. Boy was I wrong – from here on out, here’s to being bold and testing new waters! 😎😉

Your Difference is your Power

A few months ago I was standing on my doorstep one night rooting through my bag for my keys in order to open the door. As I looked up, I saw (what I assume to be) a white stray cat strolling across the street. I remember weirdly standing for a minute to admire it; stray cats I see are not usually white so it was a rare sight. It’s white stood out beautifully against the darkness of the London night.

Like that cat maybe we should start wearing what makes us different more proudly on our sleeves. I say this as someone who recently feels like they’ve been in a lot of spaces where they’ve felt so…different and out of place. Sometimes it was because I was black, sometimes it was because of my faith, other times it was simply because I felt like an introvert surrounded by larger-than-life extroverts. At times like that, it can be tempting to either shrink back to try to survive the situation by suppressing your difference so you can camouflage into your environment.

It’s definitely true that differences can be isolating. But differences can be empowering once fully owned and the beauty of them is fully understood. Admittedly, it is a learning process- and not an easy one; one that Is part of the wider journey of learning about and loving yourself. Don’t be someone who holds their differences tightly to their chest scared they might be noticed or zoomed in on. Instead, if like me, you often find yourself feeling such a way in certain social environments I want to challenge you to be a bold different from now on.