Holistic Depth Psychotherapy - Nicole Ann Ditz, MA CMHC

Voices of the Inner Child

Dirt road

N Ditz

"My child says to me with a trembling chin:
'We will be in big trouble,'
I give her a wink and then a grin:
'But child, A little mud is not a sin.'
'Oh,' she replies, her shoulders lifting, her face aglow:
'Then c'mon, whatcha waiting for?
We have adventures ahead. Let's go!'"

~ mud child & adult

This short story was a joint collaboration between my adult and one of my inner children, a prepubescent girl of approximately eight years old. I hope to depict multiple levels of wounding: the child raised in a rigid and stifling environment in which perfect performance, obedience, and decorum were forefront and center. On a secondary level, the story also alludes to the sociocultural loss of empowerment for a girl child who is being taught by our society that boys are more worthy than girls and that one gains stature as a female by affixing one's identity to what is male, and therefore "better". Lastly, and most importantly, this story represents my intimacy with and continuous reparenting of my inner child selves. They have been, and continue to be, the greatest muses in my life and in my work as a depth psychotherapist.

"The Psychotherapist's Inner Muse":

"Clay. It's rain, dead leaves, dust, all my dead ancestors. Stones that have been ground into sand, Mud. The whole cycle of life and death." ~ Marinte Vermeulen

Mud Child

"Winter decays so unexpectedly. In Vermont, January is stripping off her ice skins like a dark snake uncoiling from hibernation too soon. We squash our paw prints along unpaved roads. The dogs bend their darkening muzzles downward into deep grooves of mud, peppered with grit and the fallen cuticles of evergreen boughs. Invariably, they find their noses poking into mushy indentures that suck like obsessions at their light hair, splattering debris I will find difficult to wash away. If the air were not so pine laden and balsam fresh, it would almost smell rank. Rank as memories that muck up one’s insides, months and then years too long.

It is on this walk that I begin to sense an unmittened girl stumbling along the muddy road beside me....

Charlestown, Illinois is a mere splotch of a town where nothing much happens except winter sledding down small hillocks that rise mildly amongst flat sighing cornstalk fields or catching tadpoles in lazy muddy summer creeks or trying to break into my older brothers' padlocked forts in any season. I live in this plop of a place in the middle of United States Nowhere.

I am 8 years old. I have lost several teeth. I like to squeeze my tongue through the gushy gaps in my mouth. They are narrow and dark like entrances to small, muddy caves. My tooth fairy is cheap. She drops off only enough money to buy tiny paper bags of penny candy that I hide from my brothers’ prying eyes until the candy grows stale. I would rather own my candy than gobble them up. I like to feel their soft and hard, square and round bodies in my hands. I also need to be able to count and re-count each piece carefully to know what I still have. They are mine and if I eat them they disappear. And I have less. Then I feel sorry and wish I could still see them in their colorful wraps, smiling sweetly at me.

Old Maid

"The Little Lady tells my mother to make me
Always wear dresses with itchy wool tights;
To eat full plates of liver, every bite;
To fold my hands on my lap, curtsy, and twirl.
She thinks she can teach me to be a good girl!"

~ mud child

I like books even more than candy. I have always read books to my stuffed animals since the time I slept in a crib. Even when I was too much of a baby to read, the letters would dance around inside my head like jumping beans until they bounced giggling from my mouth as a made up true story. I still love to read, but my mother often snatches away my happy butterfly feelings by choosing boring books for me. I really hate the ones in French, especially when she makes me pro-noun-ce each word correctly until my mouth feels muddy and twisted. If I don't spit out the words in the right French way, her face puckers up real ugly as though she is sucking on a huge sourball.

If I could, I would read all the books I wanted, all day and night, by the light of the sun and moon, curled up at the edge of the mossy green ravine underneath the huge leafy tree with the crooked squirrel's nest. I would wear loose bib overalls with lots of pockets instead of stupid dresses, let my hair snarl, and get mud prints on my blue denim bottom. But I can't because playtime is very short and BIG trouble catches me with her clawed hoof if I return home more than three minutes late.

Also, I can't because of the 'Little Lady'. This horrible creature is a character my mother made up as a model for how I should behave. She refers to her often and my stomach always grows knots. My mother wags her finger while her thin lips stretch like rubber bands across the sharp bones of her face, until they almost disappear. Then she snaps: 'the little lady would not want you to get runs in your stockings or ever rest your elbows on the table, but she does expect you to write long thank you notes to everyone in the world, and to always get straight A's, and to go to bed extra early every night, and to do homework all day, and to practice your cello hours at a time... And to work, work, work every single minute and to hardly ever play...'

Needless to say, I despise the Little Lady. I hate the way I picture her sort of like a creepy old maid from my German playing cards: a middle age, very short woman with a too large head, a cackle in her laugh, muddy dark grey curls and crimson lipstick. Little lady hates little tom girls like me. And worse yet, she is a terrible influence on my already very strict mother. I don't give a hoot about what the little lady wants, but I sure would like to make my mother happy with me for a change. She tells me she loves me only when I behave. But Behave and I are always on opposite sides of the ravine with Little Lady in the middle, shaking her little fist, and wearing her scary big blood-red smile." (cont'd on next page)

Nicole Ann Ditz, MA CMHC, Holistic Depth Psychotherapist

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