Have The Courage To Be Known




Driving my kids to their dental appointment today, we passed a corpse.  I could see the top of his head, bits of the gurney, but mostly the shape of his blanketed body.

In the first chapter of Le Petit Prince (The Little Prince,) by Antoine de Saint-Exupery, Prince describes how he is a misunderstood artist with hidden undeveloped talent.  He had drawn a postprandial (after dinner) boa constrictor, large with the elephant inside his stomach.  Unfortunately people who looked at his picture saw a hat instead.  Better with words than picture, Prince narrated rather his great loneliness amongst all creation and a yearning to connect.

This morning, seeing the blanketed corpse, I remembered the boa constrictor that Prince related to.  The futility the Little Prince felt about getting connected.  The inevitable misunderstandings that left him as a hat instead of boa constrictor that just swallowed an elephant whole.

http://www.angelfire.com/hi/littleprince/However, Prince refused the constraints other people’s perceptions offered him.  He refused the constraints by believing even still that he could connect with others.  In his simple way of living, he tried, going from planet to planet to be known as the Prince he was and not that other thing.

Driving today, I was very upset by what I had seen.  The facelessness of the man shaped in his blanket.  Covering him up and no one crying over him.

Someone was there with a clipboard and I could see an investigation was underway.  Of course necessary, but yet it upset me.  I kept seeing the boa constrictor that swallowed an elephant whole all day and thought about the man’s life, connections, and hopes.  Was he understood? Did he refuse perceptions and demand to be known and to know, giving others the same courtesy of life’s desire?

I cried over him today.  The same desire being inside of me, somehow the corpse who had been the man and I shared that relation.  So I cried for my brother and hoped someone had seen him.  As I hope to be seen.

Live as courageously as The Little Prince and believe.  You can connect.

Self-Care Tip # 126 – Demand with your life, to be known.  Connect.  Be a friend to yourself.

Question:  What obstacles to connecting have you been covered with?  How have you refused them?  Please tell me your story.

13 thoughts on “Have The Courage To Be Known

  1. The same desire being inside of me, somehow the corpse who had been the man and I shared that relation. So I cried for my brother and hoped someone had seen him. As I hope to be seen.

    Oel ngati kameie, Sana. (Remember the Navi language in Avatar? “I see you.”)


  2. When I was taking French in high school, we read Le Petite Prince…in French, of course…and I never see a snake without seeing his drawing. Because we read it in French, I didn’t get much out of the story then…except for the drawing (because I’m an artist) and the fact that I can say “mushroom” in French. 🙂 However, this morning, my throat is tight, as I read your story, because I realize that I, unlike the little prince, never wanted to be seen, but was constantly forced into the limelight because my parents expected it. I don’t think I ever realized, until this morning, how desperately I didn’t want to be seen. My reaction surprises me.

  3. I feel that I owe it to myself to make true connections with my loved ones and let them in, to see what I see. Sometimes it takes me a bit out of my comfort zone, but I know that I am safe and my loved ones will catch me if I fall.

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  5. A very powerful post. I have no clue if this is anywhere even close to related to the point of this tragic story. Personally, when I read your description of the man covered up, with people just passing by… the first image that came to my mind was a funeral procession that I encountered a few years ago on the highway. I pulled off to the side of the road as the procession passed and it took a good 15 minutes for each vehicle to pass. There must have been 200 vehicles in that procession. I was in awe at the life that person must have lived to have had that many mourners at his/her funeral. Going though a major depression at the time, I cried for myself. I have pretty much withdrew from society after becoming disabled, unlike before that time when I had a large group of friends and co-workers, and I cried because I wondered how many cars would be in my funeral procession if that had been me on that particular day. Other than a small amount of family here in my state, there would have been no one. Part of me hates that outside of my online world, I am still virtually invisible to everyone around me. If that was me under the blanket, most people driving by would never recognize me because they had no idea who I was. Through therapy, I am trying to get my pre-injury life back and get back into the world. It is not easy. That world was ripped from me once, and if I stay secluded away at home, I know it can’t happen to me again. But, I do want to get out into the world again so I don’t end up some nameless man under a blanket.

    • You won’t Mark. You are working so hard right now to change your life, we BOTH are. 🙂 I can’t wait to see how both of our lives change in the next year.

  6. Very sad. Sometimes I, too, wonder about a stranger who died. What did they do, who did they know? That may be part of why I want to be an artist because I want to do something others will see. People will see something I did and maybe think about the person who did it. I don’t want to be completely forgotten.

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