The frozen picture

The frozen picture

The girl was 8 years old when she drew a picture of her family. That’s my dad, my mom, my younger sister, my older brother, she decided. And that’s me. Each character was colorful, with multi hues that crayons could create.

It wasn’t just a kid-art paper to hang on a wall for a few months. It was a culmination of years of forming identity, a place in the world, and understanding of what each member of her family was like, and how each related to her. That crayon drawing was simply the expression of a much deeper held understanding and way of seeing the world. And way of seeing herself.

My dad is the studious one who never has time for me (draws dad behind computer screen).

My mom is the deep, caring, talkative one who’s always on the phone with her ministry projects (phone held to mom’s ear).

I’m the academic one who’s valued for what I can figure out and the answers I get right on tests.

I’m also shy and geeky and don’t know how to approach people, so I don’t expect anyone to notice me or care about my life.

. . .

Fast forward 35 years.

That frozen picture still hangs in front of my face. How hard I’ve fought against it! Yet it never budged.

Since I couldn’t change the external portrayal of the face in the frame from a geeky invisible academic, I instead expanded deeper. Explored my own depth. Then tried, here and there, to express it. But the academic writing that was all the frozen picture allowed couldn’t express the glorious aliveness I’d felt inside.

So I barely talked, since after all, the girl in the frozen picture is drawn in transparent ink. She’s invisible.

. . .

It took facing my shame of the hidden recognition that this is “who I am” in a conversation with my brother to start unwinding this.

Seeing it for what it was.

A still frame snapshot from a moment in my life, holding a still-forming early understanding of my potential and place in the world.

It was a valid relating of what was perceived in that moment.

But it was meant to be a moving picture, not a frozen portrait.

Fear held it there.

It felt stable, secure, something to build around. Invisibility kept me distant, but it also kept me safe from a mean world, where catty girls would laugh at me behind their outstretched hands.

With social invisibility, I could be there, but not seen. So no one could laugh at me, or pity. A non entity.

But I could be smart. As smart as I want. I’d let my teachers see that side of me so their ”A’s” written on college papers told me I’m in the right place.

I built a whole life behind that picture, like Ariana in Dumbledore’s world, creating a secret passage behind her into the hidden room at Hogwarts while her face itself forever portrayed her girlhood identity.

When I tried to show something else, a different face, the world said no. That doesn’t match that picture. You don’t get to say, express that here. Go back into the frame. That’s where you belong.

It kept the world safe too, safe from the unknown. Stable pictures everywhere means a timid soul can navigate with confidence that the pictures around them stay the same. Life is predictable and therefore navigable by one who’s gripped in their own fear of the unknown.

But it’s boring.

Certainly the spiritual teacher, the transformation coach personas couldn’t fit into that picture. While my deeper soul knew this is what I was born to do, the picture lied. And it limited.

It silently and coldly fought back against efforts to expand beyond it, like chains forged from unseeing metal that can’t be reasoned with or begged to loosen.

I could spend another 40 years exploring that crayon drawing, examining every nuance, trying to understand what it says about who I must be.

Or I can recognize it for what it is. An immature portrayal. A childish scribble. A relic of a moment in my life, antique. Obsolete.

I can take it down from the front of me and learn (somehow) to live freely.

One night a couple weeks ago this little story-post flowed out of me. I wanted to share it here, because I’m guessing if I’ve been experiencing this for a long time, it may be in your world too.

This hidden internal picture has always been there, way in the background, where it’s hard to even notice it, but there’s a semi-awareness of it. It’s something I’ve been aware of but not enough to fully see it or choose beyond it. It’s also been shame-based, as if it’s the detailed reason behind the assumption that “I’m not good enough”. It’s the proof of that. It’s something to never share.

But I broke that never-share mind-rule when I spoke up about it to my brother.

And a couple days later, I dove in to Being in an inner voice session to ask about it. I’ve found that in the realm of Being, it doesn’t matter how hidden things are in human-mind land — it’s always able to be revealed, and the truth about it (that is ready to see now) can be exposed. So in my inner voice questioning process, asking about this picture revealed the details I shared in story form above. It also brought me to the place where what seemed impossible to ever address let alone dissolve could be chosen beyond. A quote from that session: 'We are not the limited picture. Even though this is one potential expression, there are gazillions more available here even for this specific human. This form may change by choice.’

I accessed an ability to choose to expand beyond the picture that day. But I’m not in a rush to make sure to destroy it. Instead what works for me with things like this is holding conscious choosing over time, with lots of allowing around the whole situation.

But I have found edges opening in my world since, new opportunities and alivements happening around the edges of the limits that picture portrayed. In the last two weeks, I’ve experienced more connectivity with my daughter, clarity around relationships that are peacefully complete, and a sudden clarity and ability to set up people-related structure in my Notion system that had felt confusing and stuck for over a year, ever since I first started working on it.

Do you relate somehow? Is there something freezing you to an old image of what you have to be? Just coming to some awareness around it is already a way of working with it. But if you feel called to do some deeper work, take some of these questions that I used in my session (or your own version) to your being, and see what comes up:

  • What is ready to release around the frozen picture?
  • Is there more needed to see about what this picture is?
  • Is this picture relevant now?
  • Why is the picture there?
  • Does this picture represent the true nature and potential of this human?
  • Do you see this human as that picture?
  • What is ready to choose now?


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