Don’t you wish that sometimes you could just let everything out without hesitation or debate, without fear of consequence or humiliation? In the supermarket today a toddler let fly over a chocolate bar. He wanted it. His mother didn’t. He took it off the shelf, she put it back. He took it off the shelf again, she put it back. He stamped his feet and said: “Want it!” She sighed, eyes heavy from lack of sleep and too many compromises, and said: “Not today. You had a chocolate biscuit for breakfast.”
His lip began to wiggle, undulating like a caterpillar on a window. A single tear ran down his angelic little face, then he began to scream. Not the sweet little squeak you’d expect from such a lovely little boy but a full-throated, throw your head back, coming right up from the guts, roar!
He roared for about 10 minutes, throwing himself on the floor and kicking his feet, while his mother stood there pretending she wasn’t with him, looking like she needed a valium, a cigarette and a Jack Daniels all at once.
I love toddlers. There is such a strong sense of abandon about them, a wildness that hasn’t yet been restrained by the yoke of good manners and proper behaviour. How liberating would it be to say no to every vegetable that’s put in front of you, to refuse to share your toys, to sleep during the day and stay up all night, to wet yourself if you can’t be bothered going to the toilet, and to scream and scream and scream if you don’t get your own way?
Imagine if you could do the same thing as an adult? What a release it would be if you could just stand there and scream if things got too much. Someone pushes in front of you in the queue at the Post Office – SCREAAAAAMMM! They don’t have any of your favourite cheese at the Deli – SCREEEAAAAAMM! The bank says it’ll take 3 days for your cheque to be cleared – SCREEEAAAAMM! You’re 10 minutes late for work and the bus is full so you have to wait for the next one – SCREEEEAAAMM! Your neighbour’s dog chews your morning paper for the third day in a row – SCREEAAAAAMMM!
It probably wouldn’t be long until you were committed but for the brief period you were able to partake of the joys of scream therapy, you would be completely de-stressed. So the next time you see a toddler having a tantrum, don’t get annoyed, imagine what it would be like to be able to express your emotions as they are at that moment. And internally – scream along!