Saturday, March 8, 2014

My Hedge-Hodge (The Girls We Once Were Link Up)

Brandy Walker: The Girls We Once Were (excerpt)
The girls we once were are coming back to us now.
Whispering their stories, our stories, in our ears.
Let us hear.
Let us listen to the little one that is who we were
that is who we are
before the shame and obligation took their toll.
It's haunting us, that this is written in the plural.  I know it's plural because it was meant for a group of women.  Yet it also seems to be giving me permission to acknowledge my own plural, my collective of pieces.  There are so many little girls in the system of us.  They keep surfacing, sharing their stories, their intense feelings - shame, rejection, betrayal, fear - oh the fear that these little girls of me still hold. My girls are telling me their stories - stories told in colours, in images, in shapes, in feelings.  Stories that don't start with once upon a time and never end in happily ever after.

The stories my little girls hold are stories of hands in places she doesn't want and games played in secret.  Stories of too loud voices and the Black reaching out hands to steal their breath.  Stories of splitting because the pain was too much for one little girl to hold and so she created friends to help her, to hold the beauty and the horror separate, so that neither were lost. I hope that somewhere inside there are also stories of swinging high enough to touch the sky, of tea parties while dressed up like ladies, of giggles and bubbles, and songs belted out at the top of her voice.  I know there must be.

She is my hedge-hodge, and I must practice quiet watchfulness for her to uncurl and show me her vulnerable softness - her love for colours, all the crayons neatly arranged in shades, her delight in sunshine and stomping rain puddles.  It doesn't cross her mind that someone might sing better than her, she throws her head back and sings for the pure joy that the singing brings.  She loves words and how those words go together to create magical worlds hidden in the pages of her books.

Her spines also show me her determination, her fierce protection of those she loves, and her willingness to do battle instead of running to hide.  She bristles easily, her tenderness makes her so easily wounded and we learned the lessons of her spines too well.  It was too easy to learn to be hard, to keep people at a safe distance.  I didn't see that she only protected because it was necessary.  It's no longer necessary for me and so I must learn from her to uncurl myself and share my tenderness.

I'm ready now, ready to hear her stories. Ready to be the arms that pull her close and hold her until her screaming dissolves to hiccuping sobs. Ready to rock her small body with mine, stroke her flaming hair, and sing her songs she taught me until she sleeps - safe, protected, mine.

Story Sessions International Women's Day Link Up. 


  1. I had to work through that as well. In some ways I have been so many DIFFERENT girls in my life, mainly because I was trying to please different people (whether or not they knew it). Your vulnerability and openness in this piece is amazing.

    1. I woke up today, planning to take this post down, feeling too exposed, too vulnerable. Thank you for hearing me - it helped me to find my brave again.

  2. To the different girls that we are, and the different roles we have played.

    1. very much so Monica. It's new and freeing to learn to only be me, not to play a role for someone else,