Opinion: Listening to your childhood voice

Christina Bucciere

Christina Bucciere

Christina Bucciere is a junior journalism major and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].

Usually when I need good, sound advice, I turn to my sister, my mom or Beyoncé quotes, but lately I’m trying something new. For about the first third of my life span, I floated through life on the innocent, naive wings of childhood, and I was totally killing it — who wasn’t, at that age? It’s time we look to our childhood selves when in need of guidance. Back then, the world was simple; we saw everything in its simplified version. Here are a few things I did better at age 6 than I do now at 21:

—Saying “no.” When I was 6, if I didn’t want to play freeze tag with you, I said no, and that was that. No guilt, no drama, just a simple no, and everyone lived. Now, turning anything or anyone down doesn’t even seem like an option. I’m not sure where this came from — maybe my type-A drive to prove to myself that I can do everything or my fear of missing out — but more often than not, I end up taking on too many commitments that leave me in a frenzy and wishing I had the guts to decline.

—Letting go of pettiness. My childhood best friend and I were notorious for getting in about 20 “fights” daily and making up within minutes. Because we were neighbors, it was a great way to master the perfect diva storm-out. Minutes later, however, one of us would knock at the other’s door asking to play again; the answer always a nonchalant “yes.” My childhood self was able to shrug off arguments like nobody’s business, but now my sensitive nature and adolescently acquired insecurities give me the ability to mull over petty disagreements or comments for an exorbitant amount of time.

—Taking a compliment. I miss the days when I could meet a compliment with a simple smile and thank-you — you know, like normal people might do, but not me, at least not anymore. My general reaction to any form of compliment now leaves something to be desired. I tend to stare at the ground like there’s something really interesting down there and mutter something unintelligible like “oh, yeah, thanks, like, a lot;” and worst of all, in my frustration with my awkwardness, I try to overcompensate with excessive smiling that borders on a neurotic clown grin. It’s a mess.

— Liking my reflection. OK, who didn’t feel totally awesome about their appearance as a 6- or 7-year-old? When I looked in the mirror, I knew I was looking fly in my Gap Kids T-shirt, Limited Too tri-level zipper pants and jelly shoes. I loved myself and felt no shame about it. Now, even if I spend some extra time in the morning treating myself to some special pampering, it still takes a lot of effort to muster up even a half-smile, which usually turns into a downtrodden this-is-as-good-as-it’s-going-to-get sigh.

I was happier in my childhood. I wasn’t privy to the self-inflicted and outside deprecation, the pressure of building a resume and the underlying morbidity that often holds the world hostage. Back then, life was good. Life was easy. I’m not saying to believe life can go back to that again; we’re supposed to gain new experiences and perspectives as we grow older, both good and bad. But because of the negativity we have and will continue to encounter, there is something to taking a page from our childhood memory book when life has you on your knees.

Those were the years I was free with my laughs and more open to adventure. Those are the feelings I want to remember when I’m reeling over my enormous homework load or struggling to lighten up about one stupid comment. In these moments, I will choose to ask myself “WWLCD?”: What would little Christina do? I challenge you to ask yourself the same question (inserting your own name, of course). I would be willing to bet the answer will make life seem a little less complicated.