A Child's Sensibility

hand-grown nature
and child’s sensibility
develop
Culture!
the mind of a child
struggles

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Inspired in part by a talk about medieval sky burial (and the blurry line between nature and culture) by Karl Steel at the Graduate Center on December 1; in part by my continued thinking about what makes a child and what a child makes; and in part by the text accompanying this image in Jenny Lawson’s coloring book:

I love Shel Silverstein, but I’ve never understood the appeal of The Giving Tree. It’s supposed to be a tale of self-sacrifice but it always struck me as a super abusive relationship. The tree gives this kid her apples and the boy eventually chops her limbs off and hollows her trunk out and then dumps her in the ocean. That’s real serial killer shit, y’all.

Sometimes I work too hard or give too much and I become that tree. And it makes sense. If you give too much of yourself, you can’t recover. You’re worthless except as a stump for some habitual user to rest his ass on. Sometimes self-care and restraint and giving yourself and giving yourself the ability to say “no” is the only way to keep yourself strong enough (and you enough) in order to keep giving, and to feel happy in giving rather than feeling exhausted and taken advantage of. Plus, if you say “no” every once in a while you won’t have to wonder if you inadvertently created a serial killer because you were too nice of a tree to say, “NO, ACTUALLY I DON’T WANT YOU TO DECAPITATE ME.” (That last sentence seems like a strange, random string of words, but I’m keeping it because maybe you need to hear it. Friends don’t let friends become decapitated trees.)

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