“We remember what we understand; we understand only what we pay attention to; we pay attention to what we want.” – Edward Bolles
It’s hard to describe my utter glee upon seeing what I endearingly called the ‘little men’. The thrill wasn’t based on the fact of the toys themselves but the reality that they not only existed but that I remembered them from childhood.
When you have a hazy memory and are not sure if it’s real or imagined, there is real joy in things that confirm you are not a crazy person, making up silly memories or doing what therapists call ‘creative reimagination‘. For me, the trauma of being burned was like a bad dream sequence — foggy, missing pieces, unreal, as if I am holding my breath. When I can connect with something real from the experience, I can breathe. I am sure there is a psychological theory to explain why this is important to me but I don’t know what it is. It is important and that’s enough for me.
I was so happy to reconnect with the little men that it didn’t even cross my mind whether all the pieces in the set had in fact ‘come home’.
“Oh, I found Tinkerbell,” was what Susie said to me, some time after she’d given me the set of little men.
Tinkerbell? It had no context.
“I was looking in my old high school jewelry box for my claddagh ring and there she was. Tinkerbell. Right in that jewelry box.”
Tinkerbell? Yes, Tinkerbell — she was the jewel of the set! As a three year-old girl, Tinkerbell was my particular favorite. For months as I was immobile, re-learning how to walk, I remember sitting on my bed and playing with all the little men.
When I went to collect Tinkerbell from Susie’s house, it was shocking how small she was. She stood less than an inch tall, even with her blue wings fully extended.
I’m amazed at what turns up when you open the door to your memories. Forty years later, Tinkerbell and her entourage of little men return from long-ago packed-up things and jewelry boxes from high school. I keep them on my desk at home. When you ask, you can receive. The key is being open to what chooses to return.
- Princess Talk #9: Tinkerbell (fangirlsarewe.com)