Friday, November 18, 2011

Dutiful daughter

I remember years ago reading Memoirs of a  Dutiful Daughter by Simone de Beauvoir. I might have been 19 years old, and was going through some big changes in my life. I was enthralled with it especially with a passage that I have never forgotten. I have no longer the book but will try to recount it as best I can: ) 

She writes of herself maybe about 6 years old, same as little M. She is playing in the Jairdins de Luxebourg in Paris. Her Nanny is watching over her whilst she is playing by the fountain( I have visited this fountain particularly searching for this spot ).
Suddenly, and compleletly out of nowhere she feels a sense of her own existence in the Universe. In a moment she is at once completely entranced, excited, overwhelmed and then finally terrified. She runs to her nanny's lap in tears. The kindly nanny thinks she has fallen or fought perhaps with another child and tries to comfort her, asking her what it is that has upset her so.
This little Simone cannot for the life of her explain what she feels. She doesn't have the words at six years old to express a bit of it, and simply wails. Somehow though within her little tiny self, she vows to remember that moment of feeling, and that when she is grown she will always remember that children can feel this way and have a real sense of these huge aspects of being alive, with no means to express it all.
She does all that just by feeling.

Sometimes I feel like little Simone De Beauvoir, about six years old and overwhelmed at being alive. All the majesty of mystery around me, not knowing what is next and what can change. Life is exciting to me now, and still a little terrifying. But its the terrifying bits that interest me most, they hold the nuggets of real understanding. I too have a feeling that everything is about to change again, and a new chapter is opening in my life. Maybe its just speculation, but I think I am finding myself in here. I never had a real notion what that meant. Perhaps I will once I am found: )Maybe whilst in the finding its just a feeling.

Fear is an amazing teacher. And it can be a good friend when viewed in a certain light, the kind of light that comes with a compassionate view of oneself.

night night dear reader

xx E


  1. Lovely post Elisheva. I myself remember being extremely dramatic and WAILING all the time at the injustices of my short when my daughter does the same, I try to be compassionate (try). I am not a drama queen at all now...and i wonder what happened to that willful part of me?! Take carex

  2. Synchronicity!...I was only talking to someone the other day of the first time I experienced 'little me' and my place in the 'bigness' of this whole wide world.............It was when I was 9 and living in Africa with relatives. I'd cycled home from school, barefoot, through the bush on another relentlessly hot day. Once there, I tore off my uniform, got into shorts then ran outdoors to the lawn where I lay down on the dry, spikey, scratchy grass and waited for the water sprinkler to drench me with it's quenching misty spray. As I lay there staring at the sky, listening to the crickets, frogs and wood pigeons, I experienced a feeling of almost rising out of my body, to see myself splayed on the lawn as small and spindly as a stick insect. I realised then with feelings of wonder and terror in equal measure, that I did exist in this time, this place, this world, and even though I was only very small, I had my part to play. The 'feeling' of that day, that experience has stayed with me ever since. Thanks for sharing Liz. xxxxxx

  3. Teeny, I bet she is there just grown into a great Mom: ) Its hard to remember the compassionate for our own drama ladies all the time, and sometimes i do think they need a good wail. Thanks for your thoughts!!! x
    Lori, this is beautiful, Thanks for sharing your realization of being, here. You ought to write more about it! I hadn' t realized you lived in Africa when you were a kid.
    Maybe I should write a post inviting everyone to share their realizations in childhood.

    xxx E

  4. beautiful words beautiful soul beautiful you

  5. "I too have a feeling that everything is about to change again, and a new chapter is opening in my life."

    "Fear is an amazing teacher".

    your writing has talked to my heart. THank you : )