Friday, April 21, 2006

my small enclosed world

The younger me used to play under the sheets. Creating a tent with my head under the bed linen and shining a torch underneath so the whole space lit up in a soft glow. I used to go tunneling too, from the top of the bed to the bottom, torch in hand and fingers leading the way. When I got to the end I'd lay there on my stomach with the book resting on the matress and torch in hand reading my story for hours.

When I was upset or angry I'd bury my face in the pillows of the couch and pretend I was someone else (usually someone magical) or hide in the wardrobe right in the back where mum's long dresses hung. I'd sit there quietly running my hands over the different fabrics - soft silk and smooth, worn cotton - something about the smell and the soft comfort of an enclosed space made the buzzing in my head slow down until I was calm again.

If I didn't want to face something I would go hide in the little triangular space between the wall and the back of the couch. Sometimes I'd stay there all day. I got good at taking a running leap over the top of the couch and into the space. I was quick. Childhood: probably the first and last time I ever was quick. I had hiding places at school too. Behind the big furry tree, behind the library, in the classroom (but away from the windows so that noone could see) and behind the multi-purpose hall. Behind, behind, behind.

Sometimes when children are upset or scared they will go and hide underneath the tables in the classroom. You can't exactly drag them out - you end up negotiating (teachers wear so many hats). I had a child last year that would run out of the room and when I went looking for her I'd find her in the hallway crouching under the small space under the puffy chair. I understood it. The world is big, and it's even bigger when you're a small child. When you're upset you feel even smaller than you are normally, you get smaller somehow.. and so all you want to do is make your world small enough to feel safe and normal again. You can't get bigger, so you make your world smaller. It's smart. I get it. It's still a bugger to get them out though.

I was not one of those children that physically ran away when upset. I never packed my bags and walked out the front door saying goodbye to everyone and thanks for nothing. Sure, I threatened it more than a few times - but was laughed at "yeah, okay go then". My parents didn't really humour that kind of stuff. Besides that whole act seemed so illogical to me - where could I go that they wouldn't send me back? And living on the streets was just impractical - how was I going to pay for stuff? Childhood: Probably the first and last time in my life I was ever practical. So, with that in mind, I escaped using my head. I do it now too. There is nothing more comforting to me than bringing the covers all the way up and over, burying my face in the pillow and just pretending.

...and sometimes when I have a particularly bad day I still stick my head in the wardrobe and breathe in the musky, calming smells that only a small enclosed space can harbor. Blogging can be a small enclosed space too.

I was never very good with dealing I guess.
Sometimes the world gets too big and I need to make it smaller.