The six weeks that I went by myself through Europe is when I transitioned into adulthood. Never before had I gone so long away from my family, and I realized the impact it had on my ability to see myself as a real person. No one else spoke on my behalf but me for once, and I was fascinated by myself for having adult conversations. I was impressed with myself for doing so in French no less, but just as much if not more so in Germany with P. She knew me when I was a child, so it was more empowering to me to speak without my mother present. I realize at this moment that what I was experiencing was a degree of inhibition for the first time.
One of our conversations turned to literature, stemming from a quote she made that went over my head. She was astonished the “The Little Prince” wasn’t a mandatory read in the states, it was such a classic! And she told me it was available in French, German, and English on Amazon and continued to speak highly of it.
Shortly after I returned home to the States, an unexpected package arrived for me. P had sent me a copy of “The Little Prince”, and I sat down that moment to read the slender book. It’s a sentimental story about the integrity of being a child, which made it ironic for me to fall in love with it at the turn of adulthood.
Now a mother myself, I look back on my childhood to see the ways it influences the way I raise my children. Oddly I don’t remember a lot of it anymore, as a result of trying to leave it behind me and build myself back up. I consider regretting it now that I’m a writer, since many argue that one of the intentions of writing pertains to emotion and experiences and I’ve deliberately buried mine deep. I wrestle with this when working on my novel I first conceived over a decade ago to relieve the stress from being abused. In my research I came to the conclusion that Anakin (my father) is a narcissist, so I’m something they call an Adult Child Of Narcissist(s). One of the most dangerous aspects of this kind of abuse is that it is interpreted as normal by the victim and the abuser, but is hidden from the outsider.
I intended to work on my story more before Alice asked me to look after the babies. I had Ginger, Gaston, and Guinevere gathered in the same room and wondered how to use my time besides getting things done. Guinevere pointed at my laptop and asked, “movie?” I figured it was adequate research to watch something from Netflix. Bailey informed me that “The Little Prince” is available, remembering that I had the book and tried reading it to her one time. I was eager to see what they did with this classic.
I used to not be sentimental. I don’t know if I was emotional from my research or if the sentiment of the story seized me, but I had tears in my eyes through the entire movie. I meditated on it each time we paused it (life happens when you have kids) and came to be more and more enlightened. For starters, the heroine’s mother shows narcissistic tendencies: lives vicariously through the child, controlling the child’s schedule, giving the child value based off of his/her accomplishments, isolating the child. Secondly, the comparison of children and adults is made often, and frequently in conjunction with the phrase, “growing up is not the problem. Forgetting is.” Initially it’s clear that they are referencing the innocence of childhood before the corruption of the world- don’t forget, stay true to the “inner child”. And then it clicked for me- forgetting in general can be a problem. After all, that was the obstacle in accomplishing my goal of writing this story with truth and purpose was to communicate the trauma of what I went through while still giving myself a happy ending I dreamt up in my youth.
My past includes my experiences, even the bad ones, and I think I have accepted that. In my present I can give my children the childhood they deserve, and I can protect the future by reaching those living my past now.
P is the one I came out to by email and said she would respond when she had more time, but I have yet to hear from her. As she hasn’t disrespected me, I feel no ill toward her, and am still eager to hear back.