Inner-child work can be the first step towards healing a lifetime of emotional dysregulation, which is why I’ve decided to do the hard work of healing my inner child by only eating cartoon-shaped foods.
Who knew emotional security was only a scoop of Arthur-shaped mac and cheese away?
When I first started learning about inner-child work, I really connected with the idea of honoring the little me who has simple wants and needs. Five-year-old me only wanted the comfort of my mother and handfuls of Scooby Doo fruit snacks, and since I can’t control my mother, I buy Scooby Doo fruit snacks in bulk.
Sometimes I wonder if I should be working on myself in a more holistic way, like going to a therapist or starting a new mindfulness practice. While taking direct action to solve the problems that linger on from my youth would be more realistic, it’s not what 10-year-old me would’ve wanted.
Ten-year-old me could not solve problems by talking them out or through experimental therapeutic drug treatment. No, little me would cry and beg for a delicious snack deliberately marketed towards kids through a popular cartoon franchise. That was the only way elementary-school-aged me could make sense of this crazy messed up world. Therefore, I must buy bags upon bags of marshmallows with Hello Kitty’s face on them, not just because they’re yummy, but because they will fix me.
Inner child work is not easy or cheap, I have spent hundreds of dollars on cartoon-shaped foods. Though expensive and kind of weird, I’m willing to pay the price for snacks shaped like animated characters if it means that I’m closer to suturing my inner child’s wounds. There is no fast track to healing, but if there was it would be SpongeBob-shaped ice cream with gumball eyes.
Making the active choice to heal myself has changed me for the better – I can now deal with problems as they arise and I’m no longer terrified of change. The one thing I still need to work on is how to heal from the sugar-induced stomach aches, but no one said inner child work would be easy!
Some days the work gets hard, some days the angsty teenager in me wants me to buy herself a Four Loko with my I.D., while the four-year-old me is kicking and screaming until she gets her Disney princess gummies. Despite the difficulties of this work, it is so worth it to enjoy every single cartoon snack you wanted for dinner as a kid. Take that, mom!