Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The Loss of a Lifeline

A child forms his self-image based on what is reflected back to him by his parents, close family members, and a few close friends. His sphere of influence is narrow which elevates their importance to him. A young child lacks the wisdom of time, so when words are spoken about him, he stores it internally as truth. He believes the reflection of himself that is shown to him by the important people in his life. A positive person can be an important buffer in mediating a negative self-image. If the positive person leaves the child’s life, a critical lifeline is lost. We see this in Pages in the Wind, as Emily is forced to move to New York and leave her grandma and best friend behind:

Emily gazed out the window of the big jet as she flew away from her life. The vast tufts of white clouds seemed to float endless without destination, as she few in the direction of a new life. She felt a fluttering sensation invade her chest as she thought of her grandma. The memory of her last vision of Reid leaning stoically against the fence was etched in her mind. She looked at her mother reading a book, and her father pointing out the window and talking to Robert. Emily felt an intense sadness, and as her eyes started to tear, she closed them. She shut down her heart which felt as empty as the seemingly endless sky that took her away from her life.

Emily defines herself based on two visions, the vision of her parents, and the vision of grandma and Reid. What has not developed in young Emily’s heart is her own vision of who she is. From birth, she looked into the eyes of her father and saw ugliness, and when she looked into her mother’s eyes she saw indifference. When she is with her grandmother or Reid, she sees an entirely different picture of herself. This is her saving grace, her lifeline. When she looks into their eyes, she sees the person that she wants to be without realizing that this is the person that she is. She is too young to challenge the reflection that she sees when she is with her parents. In losing her Grandma and Reid, she will lose the reflection of herself that she needs to feel worthy. The loss of the positive people in her life is heightened by her negative self-image. In losing her grandma and her best friend, how will young Emily cope with the prolonged abuse of her father, and the indifference of her mother?

6 comments:

  1. My go-to person as a kid was also my grandmother; my dad was a deadbeat and my mom awol. I don't know what would have come of me if I hadn't had her. great post, great writing. Im enjoying your blog.

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  2. I relate so much to your post because I lost my aunt who was everything my mom wasn't, and it was devastating to me. I wonder if life wouldve been easier and better had I had her to help me grow into an adult. Great post.

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  3. I understand this writing in terms of how she sees herself, I relate this to my own life. I hope Emily can stand up for herself or do something to undo the damage of her parents. I love your blog!

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  4. Love the writing and the focus on the important people in emily's life. It doesnt always have to be the parents and it is sometimes better if the child is given more access to grandparents. Awesome blog

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  5. I want to know Emily and Reid! Something tells me this is a great love story in the making. I'm a fan! :) He better not grow up to hurt her cuz she's my girl!

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  6. Having been through similar experiences, I appreciated the prose presented here. Very moving. Excellent work! Keep digging deep!

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