She Knew Something Else Was Wrong
“At 12:30 p.m…Mr. Goodson noted that she was lagging while running, tending to hold her left arm flexed. She did not complain. She seemed not to be limping. At 3:30 p.m. at Mt. Vernon, they walked for two to three miles. At first she was aware of no problem. He recollects that she was able to hold her arms up in the air symmetrically to take photographs with her camera. At about 4:30 p.m. in the afternoon, she fell on the rough brick path. After that, she was limping with her left. She continued to limp. When questioned whether her knee still hurt, she told her father that it was not hurting, there was something else wrong.”
I recently looked back at discharge papers from the surgery I had on my brain stem at age 8. The above quote is taken from a conversation my father had with the medical staff at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. I’ve seen these papers several times, but what jumped out to me in this recent reading was the note — her father asked her if her knee hurt and she said no, that something else was wrong.
This chilling revelation shows us that even at a young age, unaware from an educational standpoint of much beyond multiplication tables, our bodies are highly intelligent.
Two hours after I told my father that something beyond my knee was wrong, we went to the emergency room. My life changed significantly by the next morning when I became unable to move any of the fingers in my left hand due to a sudden onset of hemiparesis.
My friends will tell you that I’m a big believer in “gut” decisions. I’m a big believer in “gut” decisions because at age 8 my body knew there was something seriously wrong with it. I may not have had the vocabulary or knowledge to understand that something in my brain was bleeding, but I knew intuitively something was wrong.
Many years later, in the summer of 2019, I remember walking into the home of a dear friend in Washington, D.C., and saying “I know what I need to do. I need to move to Santa Monica and start a business.”
That same little girl’s voice was starting to return to me after decades of being pushed down. And while the majority of my friends thought I had lost my sense of direction when I moved to the West Coast after ten years in Washington, D.C., I believed fiercely in my intuition to know what was right for me and my body.
We lose connection to our intuition as time progresses. We move into young adulthood and are told what we shouldn’t do, and what is expected of us. We start to become ingrained in what others want for us versus what we know ourselves to be true. I know this happened to me.
Some of us have reflected on the inner child within our adult selves. What did they know to be true? What would they want you to do in the situation you are in today? On the other hand, some of us don’t see the value in exploring and listening to our child selves. We dismiss those feelings and “gut” knowledge as juvenile or lacking data.
I see my inner child as my path to empowerment. While some may not see her value, I see immense wisdom. She sensed wisdom in her body before anyone else knew she had an active bleed in her brain stem. Likewise, she knew she had to physically move three times from 2019 to 2021 to find happiness, despite what others expected or wanted her to do.
We live in a world where a lot of what we read, watch and do is dictated by what others tell us or expect of us. My challenge is for all of us to take direction from the eight-year-old inside of us more often. Are you happy? Are you enjoying your days? Or is she telling you that something is wrong in your career, relationships, or life?
The answer isn’t right or wrong. You don’t need to judge it. Victory isn’t hearing your inner child tell you that you are exactly where you need to be.
Victory is hearing her small voice and trusting her to guide your next steps.