By DeJanae Evins. Photography by Eric Michael Ward.
Eating less sugar and more greens, going to bed at a decent hour and managing not to get lost in the grocery store are just a few things I was instructed to do as a child that I still lend value to today. Food is meant to be nourishing to the body, and rest for rejuvenation. I can manage to navigate the produce section and find all the ingredients for vegan ravioli just fine. But clinging tight to the idea to never get lost birthed a fear in me; a fear that has long last kept me from trusting myself and embracing my inner child.
My fear of being lost was born out of others fears for me. Fear of what a little black girl might be subject to and confronted with in this world.
So, instead of listening to myself, out of fear, I learned to I second-guess myself, to seek outward for confirmation about every decision. I needed validation, and constant reassurance that I was on the right path to success or happiness or whatever it is another person’s intentions were for me.
So many times I’ve felt an absence in and of myself. I later learned that it was the child in me that felt neglected. Her voice had gone mute, her creativity dulled. I came to understand that my fear of getting lost was a result of the broken relationship I had with myself.
To be childlike is to be curious and eager, to be adventurous and full of wonder. Children are creative, playful and open to experience. I’ve had to be that way with myself, and get back to having, and owning, that freedom.
For me, that looked like listening and learning African lullaby’s to comfort and encourage my inner child. It meant asking her the hard questions about the things I was fearful of and addressing lingering issues. It meant growing confident in the ways I expressed myself, and not being afraid to be vulnerable. I began playing in my hair more. Dancing more. Laughing more. I’d go on a hike or take a nap in the middle of the day. I’d compromise with myself; I’d have ice cream when I got the craving for something sweet or cancel plans if I felt I needed space.
I did these things with the understanding that our inner child represents our first original self that entered into this world and our capacity to experience every pure emotion. Sometimes growth looks like reconnecting with that aspect of ourselves; the most authentic version of ourselves.
In an effort to mend that severed relationship, I became more accountable. I’ve accepted my responsibility to reach back and reconcile with the little girl who was taught to be more careful than carefree. Reconnecting with her has led me back to myself, inspiring me in ways I hadn’t imagined.
Fostering that relationship allowed me to regain my inner peace and grow in areas rooted in fear and insecurity. My “Carefree Black Girl” operates from a place of love and acceptance.
I do more acknowledging my emotions than policing them. I know how to protect my inner child and how to show up when she needs me. Rekindling this relationship has helped me run towards the things that are unknown and trust my inner child’s curiosity and ingenuity.
I’ve learned it’s all me; the joy, the strength, perseverance and prowess. I’ve given myself the freedom to be lost, and found.
DeJanae is a writer and creative. She contributes to BGIO because she lives and breathes in these spaces; spaces where black women share their stories, inspire one another and encourage higher levels of illumination. Her go-to self-love practice is bathing, whether it be in the sun or a tub surrounded by flowers. DeJanae believes that cleansing your physical and spiritual bodies daily restore purity and peace. She believes to bring forth and manifest anything, you must first water it with thought. Water yourself with thought. DeJanae resides in her hometown, Los Angeles, CA. Follow me @DeJanaeTanye.