Okay, something you should know about me is that words and music are everything. Movies, books, and songs have words or phrases that connect on a deep, primal level with something I’m feeling or thinking or have experienced. Music is the magic that transports me to…anywhere. Though some of the things that stick out or are memorable may seem silly, believe me, they relate. For example: sparklies.
Did you ever see the Secret of NIMH movie? It was based on a book, Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH. Both are pretty great, but, as always, the book is better. Anyway, Dom DeLuise did the voice of a crow who wants a “sparklie” to give his new lady friend. That word (unsure about spelling, so…) has stayed with me since I first saw the movie back in 1982 or 83. I have found that sparklies, in whatever form they’re found, attract attention from pretty much anyone.
Birds love sparklies. So do cats and dogs. Children love them, as well as adults (usually round, mounted on a gold hoop that fits just so on a finger…). Quite often, I use the sparklie card to help children transition away from parents in the mornings: look at my new earrings, so and so has a shirt with sparklies, look at the scarf Jane has with sparklie threads in it…it really works, even with the boys (girls like the sparklies themselves, boys like the opportunity to sit on your lap).
Today, my co-teacher and I were having a deep, very personal conversation during naptime. We were sharing about the crap that had filled up our childhoods. We are both survivors of all sorts of neglect and abuse. We have suffered greatly as adults, sometimes resulting from our own stupidity, sometimes simply because of someone else’s cruelty/insecurities/selfishness…sometimes because that’s just how things work out. We have scars, but not the kind you can see. We are damaged, but we hide it well. We are often quite lost, but we act as if we know where we are going. We have spent years upon years mastering the masquerade. But today, we pulled off the masks, briefly. When you pull off a mask and let someone peer at your brokenness, you can feel their gaze and it hurts. It hurts to squeeze out the infection caused by still festering sores, but it is necessary from time to time. Otherwise, infection will eventually kill you, even if you don’t die. Is there a point to all this? Why yes, there is.
Even though my life was a cesspool of abuse, neglect, broken and shattered emotions, damaged psyche, even though I was taught that I was less than human, there have always been sparklies shining through the rotting mass that is my past.
My mom, before she was taken from me (long story-I was very small when this happened…) used to read to us. Oh, how I loved the words on pages, the things they spoke to me, the places they took me. Mom taught me how to understand them and decipher their code. By the age of about 4 ½, I could read Golden and Seuss. Books have saved my life. They have been my constant. My friends. They’ve never betrayed or hurt me. The friends I made in books were always there for me when I needed them. Always. Thanks, Mom. You gave me a most cherished sparklie. I hold tight to it to this day. And I don’t just mean the love of reading. It’s mainly the memories of you sitting with us and reading night after night after night. That’s a memory that shines through all the AFTER that came, the DARKNESS.
Another sparklie, Honey game me. We’ve been married nine years this year, and we were friends for more than a year before that. Anyway…we were dating. He owned a bicycle and we talked about me getting one and then we could go to the park and ride. (We worked 3rd shift and during the day, the park was mostly empty…). So, he took me, TOOK ME (this is important) to Toys R Us because they were having a bike sale. He walked around with me and we finally found one. It was green, my (then) favorite color. He took such care putting my new bike in the trunk of his car…he put down an old blanket so it wouldn’t get scratched on anything. He tied it just so to keep it from moving around and getting scratched…it wasn’t even expensive-assembled it was only $67 after taxes. That’s good, right? Anyway, as I stood back and watched as he meticulously prepared my new bike for the journey to his apartment, I tried really, really hard not to cry. No one, NO ONE had EVER taken such care with anything of mine. Or even of me. I had never mattered that much before. Even as I write this, I cry at the memory. That was the very first time anyone had ever made me feel special, like a real human person. I was devastated. If you’ve ever experienced DARKNESS, you’ll understand. Kindness causes pain because it tears off the scab of unseen wounds. It squeezes out the pus and infection, (the absolute belief that you’re unworthy of such care), and leaves you frightened and numb. But wow. Wow! What a guy Honey is. I didn’t need a diamond ring. The sparklie he gave me that day could eclipse the sun with its brilliance.
Brother gave me one almost as big as the one Honey gave me. Actually, he gave it to me before I met Honey and it is equally as devastating and wonderful, but in different ways. Brother is much younger and after Mom passed away, he wanted me to move home and be the “bad guy” who would get rid of the riff-raff he had accumulated during his mourning period (everyone handles death in different ways). So I did and we became good friends. His buddies would come over and hang out (now there was food…). One day, a couple of the guys said some off color thing and Brother told them they were not allowed to talk that way in front of me. Wow! Thanks for the major sparklie, Brother! Wow!
Sparklies are all over the place. They shine, even when lying in a pool of crap. (Poetic, aren’t I?) A child’s hug. A stranger’s smile. A door held open. A flower peering through a sidewalk. A bird chirping. A dog wagging its tail or a cat’s purr. A baby’s laugh. A song on the radio. A favorite book. A memory, clouded by “darkness fog” or “tainted association” (both phrases I use when referring to my own memories) that suddenly becomes clear…clean…bearable…new…healing…restoring…
If anyone ever reads any of my ramblings, and you stumble upon this one, I hope you glean something from it. Know this: I used to believe the GREAT LIE. Heart and soul. But IT IS A LIE. Open your eyes and look for sparklies. They’re out there.
The crow in the movie didn’t get the sparklie he wanted. But he found some string that the lady friend really liked…be open to whatever form your next sparklie might take. Scoop it up and hide it in your heart. On really dark days, it will fill you up with its sparkliness…promise.