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Hibby hops and skips into my heart

February 12, 2013

Around the time I turned 40, I went looking for my ‘inner child’. Inside of me, I found someone around 7 years old; I named her Amelie. Later, for reasons I no longer quite recall, I determined it was important to connect with a 6 year old self; I called her Anneke.

Mostly I experienced them as having definite opinions about what I should wear. I often let them choose my outfit, or parts of it. They don’t like anything to match, and they prefer bright colors.

On days I felt particularly playful, or silly, or child-like, I felt they were nearby.

I’ve always enjoyed being aware of them, singly and together.

But they don’t talk. And, except for their clothes choices, I’ve never really gotten a sense of who they were. In other words, they seemed fairly one-dimensional; not full-fledged personas.


My top-level/ego is still on vacation (or wherever). Since there is no executive assistant in charge, many more of my internal aspects are showing up, and getting heard. This is a very good thing.

After weeks without any significant dreams that I remembered in the morning, Sunday night I had a compelling dream that I remembered upon waking. I was in a large cavern-like (but light and airy) room, reading a book about Art. In the text, I was surprised to read the name of someone I used to know. I looked up, slightly, and also caught sight of their name in the header at the top of the page. I felt a spark of delight — this person with their unusual name is someone I loved in high school. [The very same day that I deleted my LinkedIn account, this person’s photo popped up in that box that says, “People You May Know”. And that photo is very evocative of the 15 year old I knew: spiky hair, a necklace (!), and an insouciant grin.] In the dream, I looked up altogether, and T was standing right there in front of me, wearing that necklace and outfit from the photo. My heart leapt, and I wanted to grin back. But I kept my face noncommittal. He made some innocuous comment. I dismissively asked, “Do I know you?” He said, “No”, and scurried away. As he entered the corridor, leading to the outside door, I called out, “[name], asshole!”

Thanks to Siderea’s perceptive comment on a previous post of mine, I now recognized how I acted as contempt. And why did dream-me do that? Especially to someone whom my heart leapt to see, after an absence of, well, he was 15 31 years ago, same as me.

I used Monday’s morning pages to explore what the dream might have meant. T represented hope. Going back all the way to 1973, when everything changed, I’ve burgeoned with hope, and it’s always been denied. By me. (By others, too, but me first.)

Only fairly recently have I reclaimed joy.

From my morning pages: “What did I ever gain from denying joy? Well, a lot of misery, confusion, despair. Maybe hope is the same kind of effervescent necessity — to other people’s way of thinking, optional, in an easily-dismissed, contemptuous way — but it’s actually not at all optional. In fact, when I think of how [Name1] or [Name2] would curl their lip at my kind of hope — that’s exactly how I’ve been acting toward it! Hence, sneering at dream-T as he left. Ugh.”

I decided I needed to reclaim my inner children in a whole new way.

I spent yesterday exploring that idea. I realized that 6 year old me is quite alive and lively inside of me even now. She’s got very definite ideas about . . . everything. And she’s talking, telling me about them. Or asking questions. She is absolutely a person.

My inner adult self tends to reflexively admonish her with “not now” or “stop asking why?” or “that’s enough for now” without even listening first! Since my inner adult self can’t be Top Level, I’m guessing it’s introject-Mrs. Nocerino. Which, Ugh.

So, even though I have loads of internal resistance against listening and responding to 6 year old me, I’ve been doing it anyway. She is very exuberant. And strong willed. But she’s also curious, and fascinated by the world, and wants to experience everything.

Neither Amelie or Anneke suit her; she needed her own name.

A flower name seemed ideal. My first thought was Daisy, because 6 year old me loved daisies. But Daisy is a very old-fashioned name these days. I came up with a list of about 30 flowers that 6 year old me knew by sight or name or both. A great many of them were flowers that we both love, but they just don’t work as names. For instance, two of my favorites then and now: dandelion and chicory. Probably no one in the history of the world has ever named their kid Dandelion. If the word etymology was different, I might have gone for it anyway, but it’s too weird, and there’s no good nickname for a girl. Because I will never ever under any circumstances call myself something that is a boy’s name, or a boy’s name plus a feminine diminutive. Never ever ever. So dandelion is out. Chicory is interesting because, as a little girl, I recognized the color of the flowers as the cornflower blue of my crayon with the same name. I thought that meant the flower must be cornflower. I was an adult before I found out the name was actually chicory. But who would name their kid Chicory? It just sounds, dumb, and un-namelike. Also, a nickname of “Chic” or any similar-sounding variation is Right Out for family history reasons. We both love lilies and clover and roses, but those are old-fashioned names. Something we really love? Gladiolus. Showy, brightly colored flowers. I assumed they were named after someone, but instead the name comes from some Latin word. Unfortunately, Gladiolus sounds way too close to Gladys, which is horrible.

I actually own a dictionary of garden flowers, with thousands of color photographs. I went through the entire thing yesterday, looking for flowers that 6 year old me would have loved, but 46 year old me also loved. There were about 20.

But in the end, I chose a flower that (afaik) 6 year old me never saw or heard of, but my adult self has loved for years. Has taken countless pictures of. It’s almost as goofy looking as passionflower (another favorite, OMG), but has a way better name . . . hibiscus.

So I needed a nickname, stat. My adult self would start with Hibi or Hibbi or Hibii, then branch out in all sorts of ways. My 6 year old self is a lot more practical, and a lot more impatient. She likes Hibby. Period.

Added bonus? As we repeated to ourselves “Hibby Hibby Hibby”, a jingle from my childhood popped into my mind: “Libby Libby Libby / on the label label label / you will like it like it like it / on your table table table!” I have no recollection of what the product was. But it’s almost like there’s a song about us.

Hibby is also fun to say. 6 year old me thinks it sounds kind of grown up. And yet it’s ambiguous, because what could it mean? That is, we know it comes from hibiscus, but we’ve never heard of anyone naming their kid that. So if you met someone who called themselves Hibby, you would likely wonder where it came from, and what, if anything, it meant. You could ask, but that might be rude. You would have to wonder.

That thought process is remarkably similar to what I was thinking in 1991-92 before I legally changed my surname.

So even though real life Hibby never really lived — because no one was listening, and no one was helping her express her self — she and I have important stuff in common. And she remained irrepressible — she never gave up trying to catch my attention.

So I’m going to spend the next month being Hibby (whenever she feels like being ascendant).

I’ve already noticed that some of her ideas about tangible things to do create enormous pushback. That contempt comes out in full force. I’m disregarding it, and proceeding anyway.

Gatekeeper parts of me fear that Hibby will take over, and obliterate them. That’s not how the process works. I’ve been through this process 10 or 15 times, with other aspects, long denied. In the beginning, they are so hungry for attention and expression that they are sort of relentless. But only for a short time. Once they realize I’m not going to shut them up, or force them back into the box they were hiding in, they relax a little bit. Sometimes it takes months, or even years, but eventually, we reach an understanding, and they join my pantheon of archetypes/aspects as full members.

Every time that happens, all of us are changed. And our flavor profile / mosaic / tapestry overall also changes because new flavor notes / tiles / threads are being expressed. Every single time, the new reality is better than the old. Every single time, we are all enriched by new voices being expressed. New perspectives. New ideas.

I’ve already gained a lot from less than one day with Hibby. I can’t wait to see what we come up with in a month! (With an option to renew. 🙂

3 Comments leave one →
  1. February 24, 2014 14:04

    Reblogged this on Snakeskin and commented:
    I really enjoyed reading this. I’m very intrigued by your decisions around naming.

    I suspect I have inner children too. One is a six-year-old girl, I think, and whom I generally consider deceased. The other is an eight-year-old boy. It is for him, I think, that I need to buy a Buzz Lightyear action figure or Super Mario stuffed creature. I keep dreaming about buying toys so I want to go to Toys-R-Us tomorrow to do that.

    I wonder if my inner children need names. Hmmm. The girl doesn’t, but the boy might need one.

    I often feel that I did not have a boyhood, especially since I grew up socialized to be a girl. So I think my inner little boy wants attention. He wants to be allowed to play.

    • February 24, 2014 17:35

      I’ve found ‘letting them play’ absolutely essential to getting a sense of any of my parts. I wish you & yours joy in a toy store someday soon!!


  1. gender dysphoria: Amelia, Hibby, & Hannah | dreaming fish

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