Monstrous Femme

Living Dead Girl

The funeral of my inner child was not well-attended.

That little girl with the white-blond hair and big blue eyes . . . she could never keep a straight face for pictures. She was always silly and carefree. She lived for laughter and creativity. Hard to believe that was me once.

I can’t pinpoint the moment she died. Maybe it was a slow, gradual death. The kind of death that is quiet and lingering, choking out the life clinging to whatever’s left before it finally drifts away.

I hear my own voice, her voice, our voice, screaming: LET ME OUT!

I don’t remember the lid of her casket closing. I do, however, remember how cold and hard the ground was. I remember the struggle it took to break earth to make way for us, like the world was rejecting such a sad offering.

A choked sob: “I’M STILL HERE!”

The thing about inner child work is that you start to hear things you never listened to before. You put effort into seeing yourself and your life from a standpoint of gentle love, support, and wonder. You’re supposed to nurture the little you, give it what it needs. In my case, though, when I tried to reach my inner child, I found myself in a coffin.

A quivering whisper, eyes filled with tears that land on the pillow beneath her: “Please don’t leave me.”

The magic that I do to try and reconnect with this part of myself is surreal but special. A spiritual necromancy that pierces the veil of my funeral shroud to bridge the gap between versions of myself.

Journaling, crying, dancing, singing, screaming, sleeping . . . every moment of every day looks different in this process. There are times I smile and laugh and feel the warmth of love again. There are times where a solid stone of sadness sits in my chest as I remember my mother screaming and throwing my toys at the wall. Sometimes I’m singing as loud as I can to a song that speaks to my soul. Sometimes the only thing I feel is the numb-nothingness, the absence of everything.

I wish I had taken care of this inner child of mine. Moreso, as an adult, I look back and now wish someone else had stepped up to take care of her. A needless death, a thoughtless loss. Someone surely saw what was going on around her, but no one said or did anything. When the time finally came for my inner child’s death rattle, all that was left was a shell. The part of me that survived crawled out of that skin and shed that husk.

Some would say it’s a metamorphosis, like a butterfly from a cocoon. I can wholeheartedly tell you that that is not the case. I think it has been more like a rotten, decaying fruit that was buried in the back yard yet somehow the seeds inside managed to sprout and are trying to grow.

So, when I take these times to hold a seance and commune with my inner child and find myself in the chilly coffin we call a home, I try to listen. I try to let her tell her story and remind me of the things we loved. I try to be objective and console our cries of anguish and agony. I try to encourage her to come back to me, murmuring pleas to make us feel alive again.

I meditate, I pray, I write. I sing the songs that make me feel fleeting connections to that childish joy. I focus on moving my body in a way that feels free. I focus on wearing the loud, flashy clothes that I know a younger version of me would have loved.

It takes decades for us to make progress. My trips to my mental mausoleum aren’t frequent, but when I visit, I take time to hold her little hand and let her tell me what would make us happy today. The rotten fruit gave us sustenance, nutrients. The dreams we had linger as the sleep is rubbed from our eyes. We grow stronger. Together.

A small child alone could not break the hard, solid wood that encased her corpse. However, with me there to help, pounding on the casket becomes easier. It takes so incredibly long for us to get the strength to knock a hole into the lid. With both of us hitting, tearing, pulling at the wood, we manage to reach dirt. The earth feels suffocating as we claw through it, earth shoved under our fingernails and our minds overwhelmed with the darkness as we try to keep everything from filling our mouths.

Eventually, when I finally break the surface, my hand pops out as a fist. The last-ditch effort to free myself results in us climbing out of the hole we never dug for ourselves. As I gasp heaving breaths, I realize that I’m alone. Alone, but not. I feel her, my inner child, in me and with me, warming my chest with hope.

When I am able to get to my knees and slowly stand, I find myself being the flower in the garden that has bloomed with the rest. The weather is warm and comforting as I wipe the dirt from my clothes and my hair.

I shamble forward, my spell complete. I am no longer a broken being or a dormant seed.

I am one of the living dead.