When I look at pictures of myself as a little girl, it’s hard to believe the stories that my Mom tells me about me. In pictures I look like a little picua, always ready to strike a pose for the camera. In my Mom’s stories I was una nena timida who broke into tears at the mere thought of having to speak to a stranger.
Mom often tells me stories about a birthday party or two that I ran home crying from. I was too shy to jump in with the mix of kids vying for the candy that had fallen out of the piñata; so devastated and unsure how to get the candy I wanted, I ran home to Mom. I don’t have very good recollection of my childhood so I can’t confirm that story (or those stories since it apparently happened more than once), but in knowing myself I can say with a degree of certainty that it is probably true. But then, as I said, there’s the me in pictures: The little ham; always ready with a pose and a smile.
When I arrived in Puerto Rico last fall, one of the neighbors who knew me as a child, told me that I would go to her house whenever my Mom dressed me in a pretty outfit and I would say (not ask), “Me veo bonita, verdad?! Was that me? Is the proof in the pictures?
The two contradictions in the personality of this little girl made me think about the woman I am and wonder, which, if either, little girl is my inner child.
The answer, I guess, is both and neither. I still love posing for pictures, but am rarely pleased with the results. Most days the “me veo bonita…” is more a question than a statement. But the candy oh the candy…that is still a problem. While the days of running home to Mom in tears are long gone, the days of fading into the background and letting others take my share of (insert anything here) are just beginning to change.