I’ve been letting my inner child & the wounded masculine take the lead in my life for far too long. Most of my life, I really didn’t feel like I had much other choice than to operate this way. Reactivity, fear, anxiety, rage, & toxic productivity were the ones calling the shots because for so long, that’s all I knew about how to survive. The fear of getting “found out” for not having my shit together nearly as much as I let anyone believe or perceive me as. The fear of being shamed for not doing “enough,” or for getting angry much too easily. All because I was never allowed to be ME, for who I truly was, without getting ridiculed or looked down on by those that really never took the time to understand what my human experience was actually like or how deeply it had affected & wounded me. I was never allowed space for childhood or for being HELD through everything I was forced into doing because there was no other choice but to keep pushing & keep fighting. My earliest memories come with the narrative that I needed to do everything myself, & handle everything by myself, because there wasn’t space for playing, for being myself, or for my emotions. I had to grow up long before any person should have to, & it created a very angry, anxious, warped view of how life is supposed to be.
I’ve always felt the need to prove myself. Prove my capabilities. Prove my worth. Prove that I was mentally stable enough to not make anyone else uncomfortable. But, that also meant molding myself for the sake of making others feel good & make them proud of me. All it did was stretch me too thin & kept me masking my real, lived experience. I was constantly reaching for love & attention, & the older I got, the less this made sense. Why am I letting the people that hurt me, be more comfortable? Why am I screaming to be seen & given affection from those doing even the bare minimum or actively harming me? Why am I letting myself continually be pushed beyond my limits in an attempt to prove my worthiness to anyone? Especially those that judged me for not being the picture perfect version of how they thought I should be? I wished for softness, & compassion, & to feel legitimately seen & heard. I wished that I didn’t have to practically kill myself working so hard, while still barely scraping by. My inner child self had a hold on the reins, while my unhealthy masculine severely overcompensated in order to make it seem like I was all grown up & “got this.”
It’s been over 25 years of operating this way, & as a result, I’ve been so fucking tired. So incredibly soul tired. The neverending burn out really took its toll, & all I knew of how to be was survival mode & a dysregulated nervous system. It was fight, fight, fight, until I was completely frozen. Over & over again, & I really couldn’t take it anymore. This cycle was something that I knew that I couldn’t do to myself, mentally, physically, spiritually, any longer.
I have a daughter to raise. A little warrior & change-maker for this world, that is looking to ME for her concept of how the world works, & how processing interactions & emotions works. She’s 9 now, & the older she’s getting, the more it has become abundantly clear to me that the way I’ve lived, has got to go in order to make room for who I need to be. For myself, & for the little eyes that watch me so closely. All along I hoped for the parents I needed, & now that I have a child of my own, it was incredibly obvious how much that pain would translate into how I parented MY baby. I wanted more for her, & in order to be more for her, I needed to first learn how to makes space to be more for myself. Child me has been gripping those reins so hard that her hands are tender & raw, & the wounded masculine in me didn’t know how to walk away from a fight. They were my sources of protection, while also being the greatest sources of my pain. I needed to learn how to parent ME, so child me could actually feel safe to let go of the reins & let adult me take them.
This has been the greatest lesson & unlearning of my life so far. It’s taken so much of me to come to terms with that not only do I not “got this” most of the time, but that the hurt parts of me have been tirelessly waiting for the day I could actually say that I do. The mother in me has been calling out to take over & to take up the space she requires to do so. This mother energy that can hold the child in me, while also allowing the masculine to balance back into flow with the mother’s feminine energy. At 31 years old, I still catch myself up in the comparisons of how adult my peers are, & how much I don’t even know what that’s truly like. But the mother in me that is calling out to let her handle it, knows that it’s time that I get to experience adulthood AS an adult & a true provider. The mother in me is calling out to let me be held, nourished, & to allow me the space for surrender. She knows how deeply I need it. She knows how deeply that I am ready.
It’s taken so much discomfort & work with facing my traumas/trauma responses to get me here. So much heartbreak & grief has taken up the spaces inside me that I’m learning to fill with forgiveness & strength. But I know what is required of me to feel deeply seen & nourished now, is to love & care for me the way a mother would. With her divine feminine being, she would make space for healing, acceptance, & to live out loud, fully expressed. She would make space for softness, compassion, & nurturing. She would make space for fiercely protecting, & passionately creating, that which matters most to her. So these are the gifts that I am giving to myself as I let mother me take hold of the reins. She is the softness & strength that lets child me know that it is safe now, & lets masculine me know to let go of all the weight of needing to hold control or to be hyper-independent.
Lately, as I am stepping into who I am meant to be now, I continually ask myself, “how would my mother self navigate this?” so that I can move forward accordingly. Whether that be making sure I’ve had enough to eat, gotten enough sleep, given myself a freakin’ break, given myself enough credit, have been authentic enough, or stood up for myself enough… I am sure to check in with my mother self in all the moments where my child self & my wounded masculine still want to take hold. They have been fighting too long, & it’s safe now for them to let the mother in me take over.
She is sensual, creative, nurturing, soft where it counts, & just as fucking powerful where it counts too. I am my mother self, & the mother I needed now too. The cage has been opened, & she is here so you can hear her ROAR.
Now, if you resonated with this piece, & would like to see how I’ve expanded it for the After Dark subscribers, I humbly invite you to become a member of After Dark. I have created a spicy self portrait piece that coincides with my concept here, & I would love to have you there to witness not only myself, but all the other incredibly talented & magical creators that are bringing the HEAT to the After Dark space. I’ll have a coupon code available for my sensually embodied selfie course available for all members as well, or you can check it out here:
About Sarah Elaine
I am an empowerment coach & portrait photographer in Coolidge, Arizona that specializes in self image sustainability & outdoor boudoir sessions. I am also a mom, an artist, neurodivergent, & have CPTSD. It is my soul’s mission to authentically share my personal experiences with others as a source of inspiration & encouragement for prioritizing mental health, self care, self acceptance, & trauma healing for themselves.
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FEATURED IMAGE CREDIT: Model and photographer, Sarah Elaine