Holistic Depth Psychotherapy - Nicole Ann Ditz, MA CMHC

Voices of the Inner Child

"The Psychotherapist's Inner Muse" (cont'd):

"Uncaged for the moment, I make my sauntering and tippy gait up the skinny part of the road that sputters then dead ends at an old crumbly farmhouse. It is spring thaw and the yard is slick with mud pies and brown gullies gurgling with chilly runaways. I have a couple of friends who live in this house at the very stop of the road. They are not best friends. My life is too tight and chore-choked for everyday toss around friends. And besides, some mean adults would say they are a little bit on the riffraff side of the tracks. They might crinkle their noses and slide their mouths all the way over to the other side of their faces like the heart-shaped disc spelling out bad news on an Ouija board.

Mud Child

"Mud-pies gratify one of our first and best instincts. So long as we are dirty, we are pure."

~ Charles Dudley

I have trudged the mud soft road in search of my outlawed playmates Shawn and her older brother Bobby: a super handsome, guitar swinging boy of a mature 10 years old. Bobby is the type of boy muddied just enough by the bad luck of a wandering away dad that his luster may fade in the murk of time like a weathered tin can. But for now and therefore forever, he smells the 'just right' smell of earthworms, firewood, and rain. His right thumb is caked with dirt, even beneath his broken nail. He is my shiny junkyard prince. I blush and mumble and wiggle my fingers real fast but secretly when he clumsily hands me over one of his boy-cute grins.

Their house stoops sadly, listing slightly to one side. It seems lonely with its unwashed windows and busted up, rusting trucks where I once found the rubbery remains of baby bird carcasses, too young even for pin feathers. I make a wide berth around the dead truck this time, fearing the possibility of tiny beaked ghosts seeking revenge for their lack of any chance at exiting their muddy graveyard.

We scuff about the yard, kicking stones along the forgiving ground and whizzing around on a kid’s rusty metal spinning wheel that creaks shrilly with the exuberant limbs of play. Bobby winks at me. His eyebrow lifts and falls, arched like a barn swallow’s wings. I gaze down squeamish and delighted at my sneakers, now drowned by mud. A slight rise of fear catches in my throat as I briefly flash to my mother's robin egg blue eyes darkening with mud-mad shadows.

I turn toward the grass green aproned mother with singsong fake shyness: 'Mrs. C, may I have a clean pair of socks?' Bobby takes me to his drawers and lets me choose a blindingly white, almost knee length pair. Then I make my triumphant skipping way along the dirt then no-dirt road and hang a slightly rounded left to my home. I feel gleeful and bursting proud to be wearing a sparkling bright pair of Bobby Socks as I gingerly swing a plastic bag with my yucky clothes in the crook of my hand. I am wearing Bobby’s socks: socks that curve around the larger slopes of his feet, socks he sweats in while hitting homeruns playing baseball, socks he crunches and cracks his toes inside like musical instruments. Wearing Bobby's socks makes me a real girl, a girl connected to a boy with mud brown hair, almost halfway to his shoulders, but different than a girl.

Muddy feet

"The world is mud-luscious
And puddle-wonderful."

~ e.e. cummings

My mother greets me at the door with a scowl. Her eyes gather the storms of Midwestern tornadoes in their narrow orbits. She gazes with hard pack disdain at my mud splattered clothing, all her facial features pursing inside a tight circle in the very middle of her face. 'I am wearing Bobby's socks,' I chirp, as the cords of my throat shrink away like a hunted animal. 'Mrs. C let me borrow them because mine got wet,' I utter miserably, knowing I am digging my grave deeper with each embellishment. 'Their yard is super dirty. It is unpaved, and we played in their yard.' I hope against hope that my short, direct, and factual statements will wash all the mud away. I no longer even look at her. All my former excitement shrivels up like the unfledged birds, hovering still and lifeless, stuck deeply in the path of her stare.

A sharp deluge of English, Portuguese, French and tongue clucking utterances slices the air between us. I am made to strip down bare bum naked on the open front porch of our flat yellow ranch house whose neighbors are only a few long jumps right and left. Our road streaks with passing cars and kids streaming along in pastel windbreakers on bicycles. My clothing is muddy, and my name is mud, and mud is the enemy and therefore am I. Humiliation pops in my belly, hot as the bubbles that rise on freshly asphalted roads during the dog days of summer. I expose my embarrassed Everything to the world and the cars suddenly seem to crawl by as though in bumper to bumper traffic. I imagine heads bobbling and pointing laughingly at me like spectators at the traveling circus watching the clown stumble and fall. BANG! My mother slams the door on muddy me, my muddy clothing, my filthy self, my horrible post-play self. I feel a lump in my throat. Mud is bad. Muddy clothing is very bad. Spring is bad. Soft is bad: soft girl, soft heart, soft road, soft earth. I am bad. Bad-me.

Now back in Vermont, the pups are dragging their winter coats through soggy mud thaws. Drivers slow, roll down their windows, and say with a chuckle: 'Sure looks like the dogs had fun today!' I smile back, a bemused 40-something year old mother holding hands with her invisible child, as my dogs prance sodden on their mud stiff leashes. There is no path on this road that is mud free. Mud has run amok. The tips of Maggie's pendulous ears graze the mud as she sniffs the fallen sap-sticky pine cones. Joy's cream muzzle is almost black with mud like a three day beard. I feel the easiness of mud beneath my new Ugg boots. The mud surrenders to our steps, bends to our will. The usually crystal white snow is flecked with mud as the earth submits to shifty weather like a laid back parent indulging her child’s fickle pleasures. We take a step; sink with a squishy sound, then sink further still. Mother Earth’s embrace holds our imprints loosely without judgment, without remorse, without threatening to disown or swallow us up. Mud is here. Mud is tender. Mud is giving. Mud is flexible. Mud is generous. Mud is Everywhere. Mud is Life. January mud-melt. I am muddy. Muddy-Me.

So Dirty. So Good."

Nicole Ann Ditz, MA CMHC, Holistic Depth Psychotherapist

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