It is, I suppose, the common grief of children at having to protect their parents from reality. It is bitter for the young to see what awful innocence adults grow into, that terrible vulnerability that must be sheltered from the rodent mire of childhood.
Can we blame the child for resenting the fantasy of largeness? Big, soft arms and deep voices in the dark saying, “Tell Papa, tell Mama, and we’ll make it alright.” The child screaming for refuge, senses how feeble a shelter the twig hut of grown up awareness is. They claim strength, these parents, and complete sanctuary. The weeping earth itself knows how desperate is the child’s need for exactly that sanctuary. How deep and sticky is the darkness of childhood, how rigid the blades of infant evil, which is unadulterated, unrestrained by the convenient cushions of age and its civilized anesthesia.
Grownups can deal with scraped knees, dropped ice cream cones, and lost dollies, but if they suspected the real reasons we cry they would fling us out of their arms in horrified revulsion. Yet we are small and as terrified as we are terrifying in our ferocious appetites.
We need that warm adult stupidity. Even knowing the illusion, we cry and hide in their laps, speaking only of defiled lollipops or lost bears, and getting a lollipop or a toy bear’s worth of comfort. We make do with it rather than face alone the cavernous reaches of our skulls for which their is no remedy, no safety, no comfort at all. We survive until, by sheer stamina, we escape into the dim innocence or our own adulthood and its forgetfulness.
Cribb Comment: In my opinion, this passage relates so deeply to the bullshit diagnoses of ADD or ADHD or whatever the hell you want to call the “natural order auto-corrective brilliant vitality and yearning of the mind of the young” to escape their own unstable family atmosphere and perhaps, the stifling public educational system of mundane indoctrination and imposed conformity as well. I think the passage also brilliantly captures the notions of youthful depression which extends from misunderstood awareness and lack of spiritual guidance (non-Christian and non-organized) and/or true mentorship. It is an indictment of parents falling into the “oh-so-easy” trap of their parents, and then passing on the same madness and instability and delusion onto their own children, which stifles life and bastardizes the core elements and graces of a natural existence.
Katherine Dunne 1983