Monday, January 7, 2013

As free as a....5-year old?

"Raise your hand if you can paint a picture." That is the statement Craig Zablocki made as the intro speaker for my job training. It was the beginning of a talk that would shake my life and recovery to the core. 
It took me no time to decide not to raise my hand. Can I paint a picture? Hell no. I have always wished I could paint a picture, but I suck at painting. As I looked around the room I saw about 10 hands out of the 300 there in the air. I was not alone in my decision...I was just surrounded by a lot of others who couldn't paint. We are RAs for goodness sake, not artists. Bulletin boards....we got that...painting....not so much. 
Then Craig said something that made me stop and think. He said, "If I were to walk into a kindergarten class and ask the same question, how many hands would shoot up." Answer: all of them. I took a moment and reflected on this. At the young age of 5....I knew I could paint. I could draw. I could do freaking anything I wanted. And when I was 5 I was I was wrong. 

You see Craig then asked us if someone offered us a full ride scholarship to paint a picture could we do it? Again I knew the answer:heck yes. It might not be a pretty picture, but I could paint a picture. So somehow my 5 year old brain had it right and this 20 year old one just made me lie. This started a stream of thoughts and breakthroughs through Craig's guidance and my own reflections. 

Why Stop at Painting

I began to reflect on this example of painting and realized it went into ED so perfectly. If someone were to walk up to me right now and offer me a cupcake or any sweet for that matter I would push it away. My mind would be filled with fears of what it would do to my weight, what people would think, how many calories and fat grams were in it, why the person offered me a cupcake in the first place, if they thought I was fat. In the end, there would be no cupcake. 

But when I was in Kindergarden....even though that's when my ED started....had someone walked in and offered the class cupcakes heck yeah I would have be in for that. All I would be thinking about is how good it would taste and that free ring in the top (cupcakes always have them). I would think about how I would eat all the icing, probably get some on my nose, and share tons of laughs with friends. There would be no thought of my body or judgements, just the cupcake. And in the end I would enjoy the any 5 year old would. 

So what happens between the innocence of a 5-year old and the time of adulthood. Why do we go from knowing we are capable of anything (as a 5-year old I even thought I could grow up to be a lion) to questioning our ability to do something as simple as paint a picture? How do we go from allowing ourselves our cravings to questioning our cravings will affect our bodies? The answer: we begin to live in fear of others judgements. We have experiences, communications, and relationships that tell us we aren't good enough, aren't pretty enough, that others opinions matter. And as those experiences add up, we begin to live in fear of other's judgements, and with that we judge ourselves. 

But if we were to relinquish that fear. If we were to let ourselves have the mind of a 5-year old again. To live in the moment and not take ourselves so seriously.....perhaps we could be free of this self-judgmental decision making and find our real potential. In the moment, nobody's opinions matter because they come after the fact (if they even come at all). If we don't take ourselves so seriously then we can laugh at others judgement, because they don't matter. Life becomes about experiences and not evaluations. 

Craig revealed even more about breaking through this fear, but tonight I have some 20-year old things I have to take care of (thank you classes beginning....ugh) and you know what this means.....this post is to be continued and you are going to have to come back :) Don't get frustrated with the anticipation, live in the excitement of the anticipation like a sleepless 5 year old the night before a field trip. 

Oh, and for more about Craig and to even read his blog check out Really, this guy is amazing. What he says is so simple, but so groundbreaking. Let's go back to the carefree spirit of our 5-year old selves. The little child still inside each of us. The child trapped by the pressure the "adult world" seemed to bring. The child waiting for us to come and set it free. And we have the key, the key is courage, the key is strength, the key is hope that we can feel that way again. But more about that (hopefully) tomorrow :) 

What would your 5-year old self want for you now? What is holding you back from that?

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