That Scene In Labyrinth That Represents My Life

Do you remember the scene in Labyrinth where Sarah thinks she’s back home in her room and she’s so relieved but you know that something’s up? A little Hoggle-esque muppet lady comes in covered in a mountain of junk. You don’t know where she ends and her belongings begin. The Hoglet says, “You need this, don’t you, dear? You don’t want to go without this…” and hands Sarah toy after toy. Sarah's so grateful to have something familiar to her; you feel her desperate hope that the nightmare is over. But the Hoglet hands her more toys and more junk, and soon Sarah is just as buried as the Hoglet. Sarah realizes that she can’t pretend this is real, throws off everything, the room collapses in a pile of rubble, and she escapes. 

IT’S A MUPPET MOVIE, PEOPLE, AND IT’S ALSO MY CHILDHOOD. Anyone else relate to this? Not just childhood but life altogether? 

The messages I felt when I was growing up can be summed up even more succinctly but less artistically than that scene: You need many things. To survive. Things = peace. Without things there is no happiness, no safety, no fun, no work, no point. But at the same time things are oppressive. Too many of them are overwhelming and so instead of dealing with anything I’ll just lie down in bed. 

The momentum of this didn’t really get going until I became an adolescent but then it took off with a vengeance. The depression of my childhood adolesced right along with me. Every single minute overwhelmed me, to the point of dissociative shut-down. I slept in a Hogletted bed covered in trinkets and stuffed animals and books and colored pencils and clothes and jewelry and pillows. I carried a junk drawer in my pants pockets "just in case": Chapstick, swiss army knife, coins, sketchpad, pens, pencils... It was my bed all over again. When the purse stage began, forget about it. 

The security blanket approach has taken me into my thirties and I'm determined to be rid of it. No, that's too harsh. I'm determined to love it into no longer being my only course of action. 

I’m determined to create a core template of self that will illustrate something different for my children. Something safe, something confident. So they can watch me not give in to the ego’s urging that I buy something that would make me happy for all of seven minutes. Some set of values that I can apply to situations that are hard so I can say, "I know what to do, I’m going to ______ (breathe through this desire, feel the feelings fully and then let them pass, discover what my trigger is and heal the triggered child's pain, etc.)."


Maggie Frank