Older and advocating our younger selves

“Take the weight off my shoulders,

say I won’t make the same mistakes when we’re older.

Cuz with every step you take I’m getting colder, so come a little closer, just come a little closer.

I don’t want somebody else to call my name, no I don’t want somebody else when you could just say,

Say that you’re the one whose taking me home.”

Alone by Jessie Ware

When I listen to hear these lyrics I picture an inner child’s voice.

I picture a younger self speaking vulnerably with their adult self.

I picture the spoken of fragments, and the desire for restored closeness.

I picture an adult listening to someone they stopped listening to.

I picture the healing that such listening to our younger selves and stepped away from from wisdom can bring forward.

I picture how much time may have gone by.

This Fall I started taking courses to become a labor and delivery and postpartum doula.

At a time where I was without a job, I put 2,000 dollars towards this certification and the advocacy I was being steered towards.

Advocacy that I still wonder if I’m ready for emotionally.

My feelings towards parenthood are fragmented, like these lyrics suggest.

My feelings towards pregnancy equally.

I imagine my doula practice at the intersection of childhood trauma, medical violence and intentional parenting support.

I feel viscerally the wedge of all that sits there, and all the wedges we aren’t naming are present.

Rape.

Child sexual abuse.

Racism.

Systems involvement.

Exorbitant costs.

Triggers.

Fears.

Deep longings.

Caregiving.

Vulnerabilities.

Closed and open circles.

Medical histories.

Trauma histories.

Gaps in advocacy.

Gaps in support.

My heart is learning how to stabilize itself when I sit in these intersections so that I can access my skills for advocacy.

Skills that I have been using all the while, but also that are fragmented.

Fragmented because their meanings and uses are fragmented, and layered in my psyche.

Layered in my body memories, and energetically porous.

I hear the rain falling on my car as I search for the word I’m grasping for, but all I can visualize are children dancing in a fountain surrounded by smiling adults.

Adults who have energy to parent.

Adults who can extend and receive nurturing, especially in response to childhoods perhaps absent of both.

Adults who trust themselves, who have been offered chances in community to connect with their younger selves alongside any children they parent or care for now.

Children who trust that play is available to them.

Bodies that have memories of their consent in tact.

Voices that have language for the advocacy they require and embrace.

Advocates who can be in the fragments, and offer just their presence.

Home is an image that conjures many distinct references, but at one point everyone found a home in someone’s body.

A body that first introduced the world to them as sounds and sensations.

A body that for whatever else it has or will experience, also experiences your presence.

For all that they will share, they are not each other, but they cannot go back unconsciously.

How they had to prepare to share a home made lasting changes within them. Joined them. Joined even when severed.

The alone feeling that we search for in our bodies carries the memories of connections we still require and contain, whether we are open to those connections or not.

What must it be to want to listen to a younger self?

What must it be to feel an adult listening?

What could it be if our advocacy allowed us our narratives of trauma within our narratives of birth?

Within our narratives of childhood and parenting?

Within our experience of aging?

Within our experience of letting go of what becomes too heavy.

Within our consciousness around selecting the support we can give and the support we can receive.

Within our interest in making ourselves available to more than only positive parts.

Parts that repeat what we’ve experienced.

Parts that trigger us because they don’t validate what we’ve experienced.

Parts that scare us because of the chance that they could.

Parts that alienate us from others’ stories of our needs and experiences and wants.

Moments that ask us to listen to ourselves as younger than we feel, and as older than any one voice within us.

Moments where the rain falls more loudly than our inner dialogues, and become a space to listen casually, if not carelessly.

I listen to the lyrics still playing through my headphones and I offer tenderly, it’s ok to still care.

It’s ok to practice and celebrate all of the things we discover that we can still care for well.

It’s ok to care for things well.

It’s ok to care for things.

It’s ok to care.

It’s ok.

At a time where I was without a job, I put 2,000 dollars towards

Writer. Thinker. Facilitator. Advocate. Invested in accountability for power based violence, creative initiatives, and meaningful, nuanced dialoguing.