Saturday, April 18, 2015

In Defense of Posting Pretty Pictures

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It is the nightly custom of every good mother after her children are asleep to rummage in their minds and put things straight for the next morning, repacking into their proper places the many articles that have wandered during the day... When you wake in the morning, the naughtiness and evil passions with which you went to bed have been folded up small and placed at the bottom of your mind; and on the top, beautifully aired, are spread out your prettier thoughts, ready for you to put on. -J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan
I've been trying to find this description for days. I knew it was from some long-lost book from childhood, but I couldn't remember which one. I'd misplaced it. I loved the image of a maternal figure tidying a child's mind and hiding the nasty bits and sprucing up the pretty ones.
There was irony in having "lost" the guardian angel that J.M. Barrie describes in Peter Pan. I must be my own guardian angel now; I must spruce up my own mind and hide my own nasty bits -- I no longer have any care-giving figure to do it for me.
These days there is much harsh discussion of how people use social media to present their lives in a rosy hue for the consumption of others. Sometimes I feel I'm on trial; I'm not one for posting an ugly photo or a tired photo or a photo of a big mess and goodness knows I have the opportunity to take all of those on every day of my life. I could easily be accused of presenting only "the prettier thoughts, beautifully aired."
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Thursday, April 9, 2015

Big Girls

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 She’s gazing at five girls who have taken over the upstairs deck of the bus. Their conversation is thick with posturing, bad-mouthing of boys, sharing of cell phone photos, discussions of upcoming parties, and, alas for me, scatological humor. I wonder about conversations I’ll be listening to as my daughter leaves the insulation of home. I wonder about the conversations I won’t be privy to.

I think about the longings of young adult life, of the dark passageways and of the ties teenagers form –loose knots that are imperiled by the faintest of breezes. I remember my own yearning to be someone else, a part of something else, to be like a particular idol. Maybe her youth will be a gentler passage than mine. Where is it written that our early years are marred by rivalry and exclusion and a raw hunger for a different set of physical traits? 

Is it time to let go? And if so, can I still hold on?

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