27 Feb 2012

A Corpse in the Playground

A Corpse in the Playground
I know it sounds eerie, but that’s exactly how I felt the other day when I took my child to the playground. I drag the buggy and along with it myself, I place my toddler on the swing and look around. All the women (mothers) around me look like me, moving corpses.... I hear  someone talking about her sleeplessness to a neighbour  mother who in turn is looking to the void moving a rattle rhythmically soothing herself to sleep rather than her newborn lying in the buggy in front of her.  Putting my own tiredness aside I find the scene quite amusing, almost Almodovar-like. This somehow wakes me up and I actually start interacting with my son. I laugh with him, grab his toes as he is swinging, relax and enjoy myself, bathing in his laughter. I am having fun in the here-and-now. I stop being the moving corpse-who-does everything-and-is-pissed off, and I don’t feel like I am 1000 puzzle pieces roughly put together in a “value pack” along with some brain cells in hibernating mode.  Come to think of it I am kinder to my laptop sometimes than to my own brain...
I start talking to a grandmother nearby (she looks much better than the majority of the mothers in the playground) and I share my gothic viewpoint about mums and corpses. She smiles and tells me, “well, you hadn’t realised that women carry  most of the burden? In my time, things were more clear cut, most of you women work now, you should give yourselves a break. You can’t do everything.” I instantly feel relieved. She is right. But couldn’t I have thought that on my own, it is so simple. Yeah right, lost in our complicated thinking, us women forget to just be simple sometimes.
Having said that though,  I will now turn my thinking to more “psychological” pathways. I put my son in his buggy and continue our stroll. I start my free association (flowing thinking- Freud). Playground, playground love – the song by Air from the film Virgin Suicides, it goes like this:
 “... and you’re my favourite flavour
Love is all, all my soul
You’re my playground love”
Then I think about watermelon bubble gum ( I forgot to tell you, flowing thinking can get weird as you leave your mind free to wander) and then I get it. I just do.  The reason we all feel like corpses in the playground is not because there is shortage of time but because there is PLAY shortage in our everyday reality (GROUND). I then start to think how a playground is a space that has a safety fence. It is a space with boundaries. D.W Winnicott (psychoanalyst and paediatrician) talked about the transitional object and about the transitional space. A child’s transitional object is his/her favourite blanket or stuffed toy, the one they can’t do without. They carry it everywhere and don’t want to part with it as basically it is a tangible object (that is related to the mother and her caring function) that will help them to their transition from tangible world to the symbolic (symbolic representation of mother). The transitional space (and I want to focus your attention here) is an internal space within us that allows for well... transitions to take place. In simple words, a place inside us where we try out new ideas, behaviours, feelings etc. It is the space that the impossible becomes possible, our psyche gets to experiment and try, imagine and most importantly, play. I wonder, wouldn’t it be a grand idea to use this “transitional space” as a playground for our Self? To play with an idea no matter how wild or stupid, to let our mischief rule for a while forgetting about troubles, responsibility, finances, the dishes, the crying baby and the jeans that don’t fit? We should play more. Definitely . Without guilt, Without deadlines. Without fear.   Play with a lot of passion.