Sometimes when I give voice to my inner child, she comes up with some very painful experience.

Assuming her perspective and her pain, I experience again what it’s like to feel short-changed, deprived of air-space, belittled, trapped, victimised: by things, people or situations that overwhelm me…

and these emotions can feel all too familiar from my present-day life too. They have become habits – clothes that I wear.

And then I notice that many habitual, almost unseen behaviours of my adult life are a replaying of the insecurities I felt as a child and have never properly spoken out – afraid of shame, ridicule or discredit.

The following poem – which came to me on the seashore, while on a solitary writing retreat in the far northeast of Scotland in 2016 – is influenced by the notion that many of us still carry grief for the loss of a real or imaginary twin soul, or resentment at a real sibling whom we perceive as having limited our full growth.

And also – sometimes simultaneously – a deep existential aloneness; a longing or a need: to connect, to touch and be touched. The last line of the poem nods to that longing and that need.

I don’t know precisely to whom I addressed it. I do know that it was uncomfortable yet liberating to release it. Looking at it months, years later, I realise that it still can be a catalyst for further lettings-go. I offer it to you.

I would like to thank Jan Parker, whose exercise about life stories provided a context for exploring the feelings that emerge from being witness to my own chronology.

And here is the poem:

separated at birth

you got in my way

you stopped me from doing it

you stood in the light

you cast a long shadow on me

you took away my toys

you didn’t give me any toys

you wouldn’t play with me

you wouldn’t work alongside me

you wouldn’t listen to what I say

you wouldn’t talk to me

you wouldn’t and you didn’t.

And now I forgive us,

forgive us for struggling

when what I really wanted

was the snuggling

© Kathy McVittie 9 May 2016