The Heart of a Child is a Balloon

RedBalloon

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“There are times in life when people must know when not to let go. Balloons are designed to teach small children this.” ― Terry Pratchett

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When I was a child,

balloons fascinated me.

Whenever I spotted a balloon vendor in the park,

my heart would inflate and float,

bouncing up and down inside of me,

and had it not been enclosed within a cage of ribs,

it would have floated away to join the bobbing balloons,

straining at their strings,

eager to escape into the blue sky above,

which beckoned with promises of freedom.

My small hand,

tied by fingers to the hand of an adult,

would gently pull as my body ran ahead,

but adults are weighty things,

lead balloons,

too heavy to fly,

too cumbersome to move,

too slow to keep up with the heart of a child,

that buoyant balloon.

The first time I was given a balloon,

I let it go,

I set it free,

watched it fly up high,

to touch the clouds I longed to touch,

to dance and play with the wind,

to disappear into the blue,

in search of kingdoms far and yonder,

places I would like to see,

it would find them for me.

The second time I was given a balloon,

its string was tied around my wrist,

so tight it left a mark,

my hand turned purple,

and,

as I tugged at the knot,

tried to loosen the string,

to let my blood flow free again,

to feel my hand again,

which had grown cold and numb,

an adult voice admonished me,

in anger and in fear,

for balloons were not allowed to fly free,

and if I could not be trusted,

to hang on for dear life,

and not let go,

then it would be tied tightly to me.

That balloon came home,

with me that day,

and in my room I set it free,

I cut the string,

watched it float up,

then hit its head on the ceiling,

repeatedly.

I lay on my bed,

staring at the trapped balloon,

wondering,

where it would have gone had it been free,

it watched me too,

from up above,

and what it saw was heavy and weary,

sinking into sleep.

Morning came with open eyes,

which searched the ceiling,

the flat white sky,

but emptiness replied.

My heart leaped,

out of bed,

with joy and wonder,

the balloon had gotten free!

then sadness gripped my buoyant heart,

tugged on its string,

pulled it down,

to the carpeted ground,

upon which lay,

a deflated balloon.

The third time I was given a balloon…

 

InAPinch

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“Let go or be dragged.” – Zen proverb

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22 thoughts on “The Heart of a Child is a Balloon

    1. Thank you very much 🙂

      When I was a child I was often told by adults that I was an old soul, too old for my age. One person said this to me with such alarm it shocked me then. I really didn’t know what I was supposed to do about it.

      Now that I’m older… well, I seem to be aging backwards, mentally and emotionally… not physically, but that’s life!

      Recently I keep getting flashes of how I saw things as a child. I’ve never really forgotten, I guess I’m appreciating that view more for what it saw.

      Everything we have ever been and seen is always a part of us.

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  1. What an atmospheric poem- you are in deep contact with the child within you, when you reconstruct your emotions and gestures, they come out so vivid and alive, it’s like seeing little Ursula- already a thinker at that time! Thank you so much for this precious disclosure. xxx

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    1. Thank you very much 🙂

      Recently I keep waking up with a strong feeling-connection to what I felt when I was a child. Some feelings which I’ve forgotten and which have been stirred and recalled very vividly. Which is strange because it doesn’t seem to have anything to do with the dreams I’m having. It’s like an after-dream mint of a feeling from a time past. So I’m using this as inspiration. What was once silent now has a voice.

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      1. it’s remarkable how creative and unveiling your dreams are, they are rich in details and there is a subtle word in them, they have a ursula quality for sure!
        I have been an insomniac since my 20’s, therefore i haven’t got a proper REM phase and consequently dreaming is..a dream for me! Maybe i do, but i rarely get the opportunity to remember them when i Wake up; to tell the truth, my dreams are so realistic that they bore me to death, they present people with their real features and behaviours, no revelation or mystery, a puzzle to be interpreted. I long for an inspiring dream.
        Today i am so sad, it’s my father’s bday and i called him and i had said just one sentence when he sitted out:”whatever you say is imagined and has no foundations in reality, while your sister is well grounded”. He also underlined that he knew i was going to call him, although we haven’t spoke for months.
        You see, Ursula, you know, it’s hard to mourn our parents; each time, i think i am getting stronger but it’s not true, he can stab me right to the heart.I am so disappointed with him, but most of all with myself, where is all my progress gone? Ashes.

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        1. No, your progress is still progressing, evolving. So if it feels as though it’s gone, it’s simply because it has moved forward a bit more, so it has subtly changed. For it to change it needs to shed the form it had before, to grow, and when that happens it can feel as though it has vanished for a while, but it hasn’t. Trust the process, trust yourself.

          You know what popped into my mind while reading your words – Why is your father punishing himself?

          It’s a weird question, but it kind of makes sense. Because as much as N’s hurt other people, the hurt they inflict on others ultimately hurts them and does so by alienating everyone. They desperately want to be loved, but they destroy any love which comes their way until all people feel for them is contempt. They get what they give… and in some ways that’s what they want. They never believe that they are worthy of love and they set about fulfilling that prophecy. It’s like they are punishing themselves for something the rest of us will never be able to figure out, because why would you do that the way that they do it.

          The fact that he said that he knew you were going to call, gives him away, it gives away his secret wish, one which he can’t admit to himself. He was anticipating your call not because he ‘knew’ it would happen but because he ‘hoped’ it would happen. Saying that he ‘knew’ you would call is his way of expressing happiness at your call. The N version of happiness which is not to be confused with a non-N version of happiness.

          And what he said to you about you and your sister, the comparison, also gives him away – you challenge him, whereas you sister humours him. She tells him what he wants to hear, but it isn’t interesting to him because he knows that is what she is doing. He has ‘won’ with her, but his ‘win’ is bitter to him. N’s are always bitter when they get what they want because it doesn’t satisfy their bottomless pit of need, and it reminds them that they are empty inside. Whereas not getting what they want keeps them believing that getting it will satisfy their ravenous hunger – the illusion continues rather than getting burst. With you he has not ‘won’ and that tastes delicious. In some ways his relationship with you is of more value to him because it gives him something to live for, to look forward to, a goal to keep him alive. His fight with you is exciting.

          There is something else too. Your disappointment in him… it reflects how he truly sees himself. You see him as he sees himself, and the pain of that hurts, but it makes him feel something in an otherwise numb existence. Similar to why people cut themselves. Each time he rejects you, he cuts himself, and he feels because of that cut. Rejecting you hurts him. He does it to punish himself.

          I know it sounds twisted, but N’s are twisted. Everything is back-to-front and upside down with them. Their logic is completely illogical.

          I noticed something similar with my father. He respected me more and seemed to enjoy our relationship more when I hated him. When I was nice to him, he would provoke me as though trying to get me to go back to an antagonistic stance, because he had more fun that way.

          It does depend on the type of N that they are, and I think this is more in keeping with most male N’s than female N’s. Female N’s and Covert N’s have a different dynamic and agenda.

          Just a random thought…

          Anyway. From ashes a phoenix rises, stronger and wiser. Be gentle with yourself and encourage yourself to fly 🙂

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          1. Thank you so very much Ursula. I also think i am unworthy of love but this punishment and rejection pattern is not familiar to me; i understand when you say he sees i see him for what he is, he knows about therapy and all my efforts; I hated when he said he was sure i would have called, as i interpreted he was taking it for granted and I should have not to, it was just a kind gesture.
            I understand when you say he sees my disappointment as a Mirror to himself but this is very twisted and a bit mysterious to me.My sister also tells him her point of view but he criticizes her but not in front of other people while I am just always the black sheep. He’s so spitful with me.
            The ashes and the phoenix, thank you, you are such a kind soul. I am so sorry we couldn’t meet in the UK. I will read it again and again and will try to grasp but it is very complicated, my mind is not very athletic.I will do my best not to hate myself as he does but this was my first reaction this morning, it took me hours to calm down thanks to a friend, her happiness was contagious. Thank you so much for your precious help. s xxx

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            1. Everything a narcissist says and does is never about us, it is always about them. They just make us think, make us come to believe, that it is about us because they see us as extensions of them, so they think and believe that we must absorb their wounds… and being a child of a narcissist, we grow up thinking that this is our reality, our job, our duty, etc. But it’s not.

              Detaching ourselves from them is crucial, but also difficult as there are so many ties which bind. But we can do it, cutting each strand, one by one, until we are free.

              Just because you trip up, doesn’t mean it’s the end of your walk. Remember always to be gentle with yourself, that is love, and you are worthy of love… you may not think it just yet, but you know it and feel it… give yourself time and gentleness.

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        2. I wish your father could see you, cause he is really missing out, just like Ursula says…..could you take his words as something meant for him, and not you? What he is saying, he is saying about himself hugs ❤

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          1. Thank you Deborah, you are such a sweet and compassionate person.I will try to do that. A big hug to you eaching you on the other side of the planet,
            s xxx

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            1. Yes!!! What Deborah said!!!

              He has all these opportunities to get to know a wonderful soul, you, and all the riches held within that soul, within you, but he deprives himself of those opportunities and riches, of getting to know the person that you are. He’s not punishing you, he’s punishing himself. And you feel the hurt he is inflicting upon himself as hurt being inflicted upon you by him (because that’s what N’s do, they project and deflect, pass their wound on, but everything they say and do is all about them, their story) and then by you because you reach out once again and he rejects your out-stretched hand. It is not a rejection of you… he’s terrified of taking your out-stretched hand and deals with his terror by rejecting it, by rejecting you.

              There is nothing to be done about it, and you can’t afford to feel sympathy for him because it is not worth it… but it can help you to not be hard on yourself about the relationship and interaction which you have with him.

              It’s not your fault, it’s his. He is stuck and will always be stuck because he thinks he’s safe there and he’s too afraid to move beyond his own limitations. He tries to suck others, suck you, into his narrow world, hoping that will make everything better for him. But it doesn’t. It just makes things worse for everyone.

              Focus on yourself and on your path. Forget about him (as much as you can) there is nothing you can do for him, but there is plenty which you can do for yourself!

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              1. You are both right, but it is so difficult to believe it as it sounds as a fake, phony world;the most complicated for me resides in the real effective change of pattern behaviour on my part, as i do understand it logically and intellectually but my emotions are more or less following the same rut, a bit shorter and a bit less deep, like a mechanical response.And also seeing and sensing that the only way for me to survive will be going no contact is shocking, it’s painful to see his NPD script to the very end, i tried it all, but I realize I am done. Thank you fro being there for me. xxx

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                1. Yes! That split between knowing something intellectually and understanding it emotionally is sometimes a challenge to bridge the gap, but bit by bit it happens, sometimes it comes suddenly but the suddenly took many small shifts to happen.

                  Getting to that point where you’ve had enough, are done trying… that is a powerful realisation. It is shocking and can cause a physical reaction, often quite violent as in feeling sick to the very core, but that’s when intellect and emotion connect and share their experience in a holistic manner. You’re done denying your reality for them.

                  With my mother I actually heard the last straw snap. I was on the phone, she had called me and was doing her usual routine, she had been wheedling and doing the damsel in perpetual righteous distress, and I said – No – to what she was demanding so she switched from wheedling to tantrum, called me ‘evil’ and at that word the straw snapped, everything went deathly silent – she was still having her tantrum, spewing venom, but I couldn’t hear her, I heard myself instead, crystal clear, not in words, not in feeling, just in total understanding, and I hung up. That was it. I was done. I changed my phone number and went NC. Never spoke to her again. I felt fantastic for a few days then it all hit me, everything which I had denied myself to support her insanity and I got chicken pox and was very ill for a few weeks.

                  With my father it was less dramatic because he was a different type of N, and our relationship was always ‘never there’. When I tried to establish a relationship with him, my mother would always butt in and make a mess. My father enjoyed the mess she made and used me to get at her, etc. So, there really wasn’t any point to it for me.

                  Give yourself time to get to each stage, and work your way through it at your own pace, in your own time, trust yourself. Trust your reality, and your process 🙂

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