For about a week now I've been drafting a blog entry. Hopefully I can finish it, because starting to write it really made me think and it's proving itself difficult to get coherent from start to finish.
Anyhow, someone mentioned Dumbo in the forum threads and this really embarrassing realization came over me.
You know, I could read when I was 4. I started to know letters when I was 3. So I could read books, comics and subtitled TV shows to myself. And I sure did, because I was both a very scared and a very curious kid, and books offered a safe window to things I couldn't see for myself for a reason or another. I kept reading, reading and reading. I remember being just barely big enough to lift a large encyclopedia part and carry it over to the bed for reading about potato farming, eye diseases, dinosauruses and epilepsy.
My mom, as she was ill with her delusions and depression and also busy with my brother who had several problems, mostly just encouraged me to read more without checking on what exactly I was reading and whether I understood it, and my dad was away. And myself, I am likely on the autistic spectrum.
The result? I took everything literally while nobody checked on what I was reading. I read encyclopedia pages about sex and prostitution and they made no sense to me whatsoever (mind you I was younger than six, and this was after I somehow managed to ask mom "what is prostitu..errr...otion?"). That kind of thing at the worst.
And then there were the comics and fairy tale books.
There really was a caterpillar that broke the giraffe's neck. There were all these strange characters that I had no idea why they did what they did. I couldn't figure out their motivations. I still have trouble with that with well-written TV shows, let alone real life situations. I had insane crying fits over sad things in the books. I was sure Sandman could make me sleep in seconds so whenever he appeared on TV, at the end of childrens' evening shows, I ran.
And then there was Dumbo. I had a comic magazine version of it and I loved it, really loved it. It had the dance of the pink elephants skipped over (I saw it two decades later when I bought the movie on DVD), but there was a magic feather that made Dumbo fly.
I always thought it was the feather, in a very concrete way, like the training wheels on my bike. Something that you can stop using when you learn how to. I wondered how just one feather was enough because I had read that birds were full of feathers and needed most of them to be in place to fly. And I wanted to meet a bird who had magic feathers and could talk and would be my friend.
Nobody told me it was a trick on Dumbo, done in friendly intent at least. Then I grew up and somewhere there forgot about it.
Until now, when I read that thread. Something clicked in my head. Yes, I totally get the magic feather now... yes, right NOW. Three seconds earlier I'd still had it somewhere deep within my mind that the feather was Dumbo's training wheels for flying. I got the feeling that despite watching the movie in my early twenties, I didn't "get it" even then. Not until now.
I don't even know how to end this entry. I'm leaving myself speechless. Haha.