Guardians of childhood

Recently I went to the cinema with my mum and daughter. We watched ‘A Streetcat Named Bob’. I read the book a long time ago, and all I really remembered was that a homeless person found a most marvellous cat and it gave him hope to get his life back on track. What I entirely forgot was that it also deals with the subject of heroin addiction and recovery. Post film, this prompted a really interesting conversation with my daughter who wanted to understand why he suddenly became very ill, and I explained the process of withdrawal to her. Afterwards, it occurred to me this was one of the hard conversations that happen during the process of growing up. Explaining to your child that the world is not straightforward and there are harsh things out there feels really bleak. It is also important not to overwhelm and to counter this with all the amazing things too. Of which there are many. And then I thought about the easier ‘hard’ conversations that I have engaged in with my daughter.

Father Christmas. The Easter Bunny. And most specifically, The Tooth Fairy. And whether or not these noble warriors of children’s existences, are actually real. For the most part, I have always taken the philosophical approach with my daughter, if we can talk about something, then it exists at some level. And then if further conversation was necessary, we would talk about if dreams or ideas were real.

This is where the conversation has become interesting for me. There seemed to be a clear separation in my daughter’s mind about reality. She understands that there is a physical manifestation and there is also the non-physical, which is somehow less real but seems to have a good deal of validity. I guess we have always had these sorts of conversations, even when she was smaller. Possibly my favourite ponder of my child was when she was around five. We had just entered the car park where we lived, there were lots of spaces. She said ‘If you go into a car park and there is only space, then that is not a choice. One choice isn’t a choice at all’. Clearly, as an adult, I can see the wider applications of her words, but I often wonder if she did as well.

We have now had the logistical chat about the existence of ideas, and other than Father Christmas (who is based on an actual person, which makes him somewhat more contentious than the other characters) we are all good. I generally think that when a child asks a question, they are ready for an answer. Maybe not the most complex one, but one that is without fabrication and definitely holds some element of truth.

Map Point. What questions do I still want to ask?

 

Promising me

A couple of nights ago, I had a moment of clarity, my prevailing thought was ‘I think of myself as unassuming, but in reality, I am anything but’. I think of myself as quiet, as unobtrusive. Maybe this is my way of trying to negate myself. Maybe this is me remembering who I thought that I was.

I am clearly very attached to the person that I was. I have kept the familiarity of that emotional place without realising quite how much I have changed. I know that I do express myself more authentically now, so I think it’s likely time to change my mindset. Make my headspace match what is actually happening in my reality.

I don’t dress particularly wildly, but I guess to a degree I am developing my own style. Knee high socks are a recurring feature as are knee length skirts. Vest tops are still worn well into winter. The last one I have become somewhat infamous for. I am also proud of my selection of coats, but these are rarely seen owing to the vest tops in November thing but know that I do have some truly fabulous items of outerwear. But it isn’t that my physical appearance has changed so massively. It’s that I now have a passion for my clothing choices.

I am also a quiet person. Usually, my headspace feels like a storage facility for filing that has just experienced a small localised hurricane. But I am not always quiet. I know that I still don’t speak so much and find it hard to compete to make my voice heard. But I am more okay with this now. If people value me, they will allow me space to find my words. And if not, I am good with that too.

I recognise my own strength so much more now. It’s strange to feel comfortable being me. It can be hard for me to see any value that others place in me, but I am improving. I am promising myself that.

Map Point. What am I scared to show others?