I’ve become obsessed with a line from the Where the Wild Things Are movie and I can’t stop saying it in my head. It was a little after Max had arrived to the island; he and the wild things had been running around trashing the place and having a great time and then they stop and talk about all the fun stuff they’ll do and Max adds, “And we’ll all sleep together in a real pile!” And they do. And Max is happy.
This sentence, this sentiment really struck a chord with me.
I think the movie did an amazing job of echoing the sadness of growing up. There is terror in getting older—terror in family dynamics changing, friends changing, self changing. I can distinctly remember times in my own childhood when even just a minor shift in how things were would make me long for a way to freeze time. I wanted to be able to rewind life so that I could unravel what was becoming increasingly complex. There were many small moments in the film that seemed to shine a ray of light on those terrors, but for me nothing seemed to illuminate them as fully as the phrase: “And we’ll all sleep together in a real pile.”
Maybe if you had to pin down a formative moment of sadness in childhood, it might come when you get too big to lie/sleep on your parent. At some point it becomes either inappropriate or just plain uncomfortable and the one feeling of ultimate security is no longer available to you. That physical sense of disconnectedness changes you inside.
Tonight on the couch, my daughter was draped over me for so long that my legs fell totally asleep. I consciously felt my limbs go from tingles to pins-and-needles to complete numbness. I just rolled with it. I didn’t want to move her, didn’t want her to feel responsible for the growth that will, not long from now, make it impossible for her to lie in a pile on me.
Disconnection happens on many levels, but I think we feel it first on the physical.