Friday, March 15, 2013

The Dungeon

​According to the Canadian Institute of Health Research, 1 in 5 Canadians will experience a form of mental illness at some point in their lives.  Personally I am challenged by bouts of depression; I believe they are, on balance, fairly mild and mostly manageable, though I have sought counselling on occasion also.  Depression is a topic that I cannot cover in-depth in this space, but I can share my own experiences with it - stories like this can only serve as a memoir, not an educational treatment... every person’s depression is different.

​Every once in awhile, the King found himself in a dungeon.  This had been occurring well before the birth of the Lightning Kid.   It had occurred before the birth of Shark Boy, before his marriage to the Queen, before he’d ever met her.  He was often asked why he was in the dungeon - how can a King be in a dungeon? What put him there? Was it a giant monster? Some enemy?

Being asked this frustrated the King - he didn’t have a real answer, and he doubted having one would do anything to help him get out of the dungeon itself.  Fresh air and exercise seemed to help him stay out of the dungeon, but once he was in, those sorts of things became harder to do, and he found himself almost unwilling to leave if he could.

The most recent time he was in the dungeon, he started to try to drag himself out, he looked down to see if he could spy what manner of creature could be holding him back.  At first he saw nothing, but as he looked closer, he noticed there wasn't any monster... at least not just one.  There was a tiny gremlin - 'the things you haven't fixed'.  Then he saw another - 'what makes your job difficult' and another 'lack of sleep'.  'Self-doubt', 'Missed deadlines', 'what have you forgotten?', 'Fear of the Lightning Kid's Future', 'Fear of Shark Boy's Future', 'Health scares in the family'... so many of them clung to his robes.  Any one of them, or even in pairs or groups of threes could never have overpowered him... but they were co-operating and pulling in concert, and as such the King was unable to fight them off.  Escaping from a hold, however, is more a matter of wriggling than of brute strength.   And so, a few at a time, he escaped the gremilins... most temporarily, some by distraction, some by out-maneuvering, some by ruthless aggression.

Today he would escape the dungeon, but he knew he could end up back in it.  The man who had freed him was the same man who had imprisoned him - his own self.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Lightning No More?

The Lightning Kid had once had his hair cut by his own grandmother... it was essentially a bowl cut.  While some found this more objectionable than others, the King and Queen were willing to tolerate it ... for a while.  Still, the hair continued to grow (as hair is prone to doing), and the Queen was becoming decreasingly tolerant of those who referred to the Lightning Kid as a princess rather than a prince upon first laying eyes upon him.

So she took him to the business that had done a good job of Shark Boy's first haircuts... and so the Lightning Kid turned from a baby, to a handsome looking little boy!

It was a bittersweet moment for the King and Queen; they were pleased with how good he looked, but the idea of him not being a baby anymore was saddening.   Then a greater worry occurred to them: without long hair standing on end, would he still have his Lightning?

Later that day, the Queen took him to a private chamber for nursing, and rather than settle down for the feeding, the young prince would not stop looking around and trying to interact with the other children.  Pretty soon, none of the mothers were able to peacefully feed their children and were forced to leave because the children all wanted to watch the Lightning Kid.  It seemed like the Lightning Kid hadn't lost his thunder!