Different versions of ourselves

Post by Tamarisk Saunders-Davies for the Kind Kindred series

image courtesy of TORLEY on Flickr

How my inner-step kid taught me to be a better step-mum

Over the past six months, I’ve met another one of my selves.

See, I think we’re all made up of lots of different versions of ourselves. There’s the you who got teased in middle-school, the you who’s brilliant in a crisis, the you who used to be a smoker…and this past summer, I got very well acquainted with my inner step-kid.

Back in June 2014, I turned my whole life upside down by selling my house and moving from London to Toronto to be with the man I love and…I became a step-mother to a 4 year old kiddo. And he’s become a step-kid. 

It’s been interesting, scary, challenging, amazing, fun and hard in equal measure.

Here’s what I didn’t anticipate – getting to re-connect with my own inner step-kid.

Being in this new step-mother role it’s like I called up my inner step-kid and said “DUDE! Guess what? I’m a STEP MOTHER now! I know, crazy right? Hey, we should hang out for drinks tonight, whaddya say?”

She and I haven’t hung out for ages, maybe ever, so she jumped at the chance, sat me down and started to vent.

Turns out she feels very angry about not feeling heard, because that’s how she felt back then. She can feel very alone. She can feel a very righteous anger. She can feel really scared about were she stands and about who’s got her back.

In meeting this version of me, I saw how if I didn’t acknowledge her needs and listen and respond with kindness she was very capable of lighting some fires, causing mayhem and then running away.

So we took it all apart and talked about it, she and I.

We talked about feelings and qualities.

What does it feel like to be a step kid? vulnerable, exposed, ignored and invisible

What does it feel like to be a step-mum? vulnerable, exposed, scary

We talked about needs.

What do you think is going on here? Step-kid me is trying to run the show but she doesn’t really know how. Step-kid me thinks that this could be the best opportunity ever to heal some old wounds by doing a better job now that you’re a step-mum.

What do you think you need? I need for step-kid me to feel safe and heard and to let her know “I got this” and step-kid me needs me to know that doing things differently this time around would be like having the world’s best, never-ending hug for her.

What qualities do you both share? We both feel very deeply, we both want the best outcome possible, we both believe in kindness, we both think there’s a better way of doing things. We both need each of us to listen with kind ears.

What secret super-powers does step-kid you have that you’d like to use? She has the power of “Do This, Not That.” She’s already been a step-kid and has all this really useful information on what’s a good idea and what sucks. I think this is a brilliant super-power!

Talking to this version of me, and listening with kind ears, has been completely transformative.

While I do my absolute best to love my step-son, work on creating a safe, warm, loving home for him to come back to and work on my relationship with his dad to model for him what a healthy relationship looks like…he’s the one who has given me an amazing gift by getting me to chat with my inner step-kid.

Tamarisk Saunders-Davies is a life coach and counselor who believes that becoming fluent in your feelings changes everything. She’s also obsessively searching the globe for the best slice of cherry pie, so far Portland is winning. 
Find her at www.tamarisksd.com

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