Lately, I’ve been reacquainting myself with my inner child.

I’ve named her lil’ Cathy and she’s about five years old. For a little girl, she is fierce and is known to stomp her foot and throw tantrums when she’s afraid or feeling like she’s being neglected by loved ones.

It’s important that I listen to lil’ Cathy and let her know that she’s OK, that she’s safe, because when I was young I had no say over my life, no control and this caused me to have unresolved trauma, which can often be a trigger for me in my daily life.

Lil’ Cathy wants to feel secure and is afraid to let go of control for fear she might be hurt, but lil’ Cathy is not quite up to date on the reality of where I am in life so I’m really working on letting her know its OK to let go and trust that I am capable of making wise decisions in my relationships. Lil’ Cathy is quick to react in defence if she feels slighted, and so I’m trying to understand where she’s coming from but also not allowing her in the driver’s seat of my own life anymore, because really who wants a five-year-old at the wheel? She’s crashed a few times and forced me to do damage control in my close relationships.

Lil’ Cathy just wants to be loved and assured that she’s safe and respected, and so I make sure to provide a safe space for her and buy her fresh babies breath flowers every once and awhile so she knows I haven’t forgotten about her. Some call this self-care. It’s important to connect with our inner child and sit and listen to what they have to say because we all have one. We all were once children ourselves and maybe we were hurt and scared and no one helped us and we carry the pain of those moments with us into our adulthood, whether we know it or not.

The element of imagination and playfulness that children have tends to get lost as we become adults, but I don’t think I ever really grew out of that side of myself. I am always daydreaming new possibilities and don’t fill my time with indulging in too much television, nor do I drink or do drugs. I would much rather create something than sit around and do nothing, which is why I’ve recently partnered with Tim Gosley to co-produce a puppet play.

This image represents a backdrop that will be used for my puppet show, which will speak of the devastation of the Giant mine but also of the wider problems of industrial contamination, environmental racism and injustices for the pursuit of wealth. Image courtesy of Katlia Lafferty

I thought my days of puppeteering were few and far between after the play that I put on in Somba K’e Park a few years ago on Indigenous Peoples Day, but it looks like my play ‘Golden Rock’ will be headed to the stage in the form of shadow theatre. I am so excited to have the legendary Tim Gosley on board. He is well known for his work on the show ‘Fraggle Rock’ (my favourite childhood show growing up, yes I’m an ’80s baby) and he won a Gemini Award for best children’s entertainer. He also worked on the set of Sesame Street and the feature film Big Bird Movie.

I am a huge fan — to me he is legendary. I will learn from Tim during the next few months how to bring the characters to life on stage at the Langham Court Theatre. The play speaks of the devastation of the Giant mine but also of the wider problems of industrial contamination, environmental racism and injustices for the pursuit of wealth, all while making sure it is age appropriate so that children can learn why a sustainable future is important, not only for ourselves but for our future generations.

I’m hoping one day the puppet show will make it to the stage up North. I’m sure lil’ Cathy would be proud of big Cathy and how far she’s come.

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