During a Skype session with my marvellous Max, an image of myself as a four year old emerged clearly. I was in a pink tutu, dancing on the Village Green at our annual local fair (something our ballet school did as a matter of course).
In this mental image, the tiny me ran up to the adult me and clung onto my legs. She still had the cotton wool stuffed behind her ears (because her headdress hurt), something which is still the butt of family jokes 36 years later.
Even thinking about the image makes me a bit teary so I won't labour the point in describing the healing work that ensued.
After the session, though, I became obsessed with finding the photo. The next time I visited my parents' house, I trawled through boxes and boxes of family and childhood photos. I didn't find the one I was looking for (my mum found it weeks later and sent it to me) but stumbled across so many memories that stayed with me for days afterwards.
Overwhelmingly, I realised how young I looked in all my photos. I realise it sounds silly to say this about one's childhood photos but I even looked so much younger than I felt in photos of me as a university student and once I'd joined the workforce. I guess I've always felt "old".
Also, for a kid who was a bit of an attention seeker and class clown, I invariably looked serious in most of my photos.
And thin. I looked THIN. This might have been the biggest revelation of all. I never ever felt thin. Even at my saddest and most vulnerable -- like when I was nineteen and in the midst of a nervous breakdown and eating so poorly I felt dizzy most of the time (and also wearing hot pink on the Village Green) -- I looked in the mirror and saw someone who was obese. And the culture I grew up in -- at home, at school, in most of my friendships and at ballet school -- obese was directly equivalent to unloveable.
A whole lot of stuff made sense after this descent into the underworld of memory. One was why I have been dragging my heels when it come stop enrolling my daughter in ballet classes, despite her asking every week.
The other is the reason why I have been attracted to pink! For the past two years, I've been gravitating to hot pink: hot pink piping on my shoes; hot pink purses; hot pink hair clips; hot pink beads. And I am so not a hot pink girl! Although it does look kinda nice on me because I have such dark hair but I digress.
Suddenly I saw that the invitation to take this journey has been waiting for me for quite some time. It felt amazing just to notice this and to realise that I am finally ready to pay attention to the signs the universe is sending me.
These days I'm wearing my various hot pink pieces -- the material ones and the memory ones -- with love and more than a little bit of pride.
It's time. I'm ready.