Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Life as a maternal-figure

I've been a member of the English-speaking Pinky:St forum for almost two years now. It's through the forum that I finally learned the technique of creating sculptural molds and casts — something I'd wanted to teach myself, as an artist, for years. The forum is a remarkably friendly place, newbie-questions are treated with respect and tolerance, and people are willing to share their experiences and enthusiasm for the hobby. I think the camaraderie stems from knowing that you — and the few other active members — are into such a niche, "geeky" hobby, that you can't help but glom on to others who share your interest in these 5" high chunks of giggle-inducing PVC.

The age range of forum members tends to vary pretty widely. Many members, as expected, are teenage girls, but perhaps more of the community is made up of mid-20s to mid-30s women. There's a shocking number of boys on the forum as well, which may seem odd over on this side of the pond, but it's no big deal in Japan, where Pinkys are manufactured and targeted towards teen to mid-30s males. I guess it makes sense: the toys are of cute girls in various styles and colours of clothing. Matt has pointed out that the interchangeability of hairstyles and outfits is actually very similar in concept to that of Lego.

To the heart of things

There's a teenage boy on the forum whose posts I first began noticing about a half-year ago. He's got a morbid, but incredibly witty sense of humour, and he has no problems wearing his heart on his sleeve. One of his first threads concerned the feelings he experienced as an adopted boy in a town where the two dominant races are polarized.

The forum, strangely, has become an atmosphere in which many of the older women take on a role as "village elder" to the younger members who seek advice of all matters, whether they relate to the hobby or not.

I realize that the "young man" in question could be anything from a 50 year-old man who gets his kicks out of deceiving women into believing that he's a troubled teenage boy, to an 8 year-old girl who's testing out an adult's reaction to a persona she develops. Maybe, however, it's just a teenage boy who's got all the usual angst, and then some, who's looking for advice.

Don't worry, adult role-models in my life, I don't share identifying personal information and I don't delude myself that I ought to form some kind of intense emotional bond with this individual.

Well, he messaged me a few months ago for the opportunity to share some of the circumstances that are making him question his place in the world. To greatly oversimplify things, he's an adopted boy in a town in which the two majority races are at odds with one another. The adults in particular seem to be behaving remarkably stupidly about things, requesting segregation in the schools and enforcing social segregation upon the children. So, immediately, he's struggling with his burgeoning identity as an adult, while having to address the possibility that his racial identity may include that the of the culture he's being told to reject. His interests include little dolls, so his father openly questions his son's sexuality, and he has no mother-figure to provide a glimmer of hope that he'd be shown unconditional love. Needless to say, he's got some pretty hefty issues to deal with, and he's been turning to me for help.

So, without getting into specifics, recent events in his life seem to have taken a turn for the good, and the role I seem to have in his life is one of "mother figure", someone to be able to speak openly with about his emotions without being looked down on for having emotions, period. He's a smart kid who knows that he should be more accepting of himself, but seems to need the reassurance once in a while.

It's strange, to fill this role, at this time, in his life. I imagine I must be experiencing some of the concerns that afflict responsible parents; Will I be a positive influence? How do I not fail him or lead him astray?

I guess, like everyone else, all you can do is try to be a good person, and guide others as you would have benefitted from others' guidance. I suppose the old adage, "To thine own self be true," is about more than living life as you feel is best for yourself, but also about imparting the best of yourself to others.



At Wed Jan 17, 05:42:00 pm GMT-5, Anonymous fa_homewood said...

WOW! Such words of wisdom from someone so young. You sure would make a good mother in the truest meaning of the word to your beautiful children.

Somewhere along the way, your parents did an excellent job in raising you to be an upright individual with a profound sense of what life is about - that there is greatness in attaining the most simple undertaking.

You had spoken and written some very meaningful and provocative food for thoughts.

I think you will do quite well in the next phase of your young life.

All the best...


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