Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Thoughts on the Book Room and My Struggles with Being an Adult

I love to read.  Joining a book club has been one of the best things I have done for myself.  Often times, it pushes me to read books that I would never think to read.

Case in point, Room by Emma Donoaghue.  It’s not my usual type of book since reading about a traumatic kidnapping of a young woman who is forced to have a baby while living as a captive in a very small room gives me hives.  I gave it a whirl (because I’m a team player), but I ended up being totally entranced that the first-person narrative was a five-year old son of the kidnapped victim.

The Room is everything to this child.  He has no awareness of the outside world and thinks everything on TV is not real.  Since he only knows his mother (and has to hide at night when the abuser comes to see the young woman), he personifies the objects in his room.  When he and his mother escape, all he wants to do is go back to see Room.  The little boy has a tremendously difficult time adjusting to the outside world and mourns for the safety of Room, so his mother and a police officer take him back to Room.

When he returns, the little boy doesn’t recognize it.  It’s smaller than he remembered and nothing looked the same.  His perspective had changed once he experienced life outside of those four tiny walls.

Even though the context of this story is gut-wrenching, I thought his attachment to Room and his altered perspective were an achingly beautiful metaphor for growing up.  And strangely enough, I totally relate to this little boy.

I feel these past six months have been really weighing down on me: I’ve been doing some major work on shifting the way I view myself as I’ve been strengthening my personal boundaries.  Often times, I just want to quit and go back to the way things used to be.

Except they can’t.  Because I am different.  I have witnessed life outside of Room, and now everything has changed.  I’m no longer the same person who reacts to the madness around me.  I no longer think that I am self-indulgent if I’m making time to take care of myself.

But still, I struggle.  Part of being an adult is accepting situations for what they are, yet that does not mean accepting means that I have to participate in the same unhealthy way.  This is the hardest part for me.  My therapist says it’s the internal battle between my adult self knowing what to do to protect me, and the little girl part of me waiting for someone else to step in and take over.

And I would say that is true.

In what ways do you struggle with being an adult?  


Krista said...

This is a beautiful post, Erin.

Erin Janda Rawlings said...

Thank you so much! I appreciate it!