Revisiting my friend, Jane Eyre (Part 1)

When I first met Jane:

Jane Eyre first clambered and thumped wildly against the doors of my heart when I was around 13 or 14 years old. From the moment the bedraggled orphan was cruelly banished to ‘The Red Room’ in Gateshead, the house of her callous Aunt Reed, I felt a deep affinity with this little fettered, mocked and misunderstood bird. The Red Room was Jane’s punishment for no longer being able to endure the bullying of her cousin, Mrs Reed’s son, John. The tethered bird struggled against the injustice of bullying only to find herself subject to an even further injustice with her punishment administered by Mrs Reed being solitary confinement within the foreboding Red Room, the very room in which her late Uncle Reed had died.

My choice of summer reading was an ambitious one for my age. However, it took me into Jane’s world which resonated so deeply with feelings of injustice from bullying from my own world, caged yet impassioned pitiful bird tormented by fear that I also was, and continued to resonate with me deep into adult life. I fell in love with the misfit Jane Eyre, with Charlotte Bronte, and with these kindred spirits I shared that passionate desire to break free from my own fetters and those cruelly placed upon me. I revisited Bronte’s novel a couple of times during my undergraduate University years as a student of English Literature. The passion for higher, immortal things that drove Jane’s soul further than the confines of her unimpressive frame was a fire to my own passionate desire to discover my place and meaning in life, in a hunger for something beyond the temporal and disappointing realm of a world that would seek to confine me too.

Years have passed, and I realise that I have not revisited my dear friend Jane in The Red Room, nor at the abode of Sinjin (St John) and his sisters Diana and Mary Rivers, nor at Thornfield, the home of Jane’s ‘Mr Rochester’.

Therefore, when the opportunity arose to see ‘my’ Jane again, I could not resist. However, this time, I would see Jane through fresh eyes, and through someone else’s interpretation of her life, and in the form of a theatre play. Yes, today was that day that I met with Jane, none other than Jane Eyre herself, again. I went to the theatre alone for this encounter and shared the experience with hundreds of strangers. I had suggested that my father, also an ardent reader of literature, accompany me, however, he declined the offer not wanting to ‘spoil’ his own treasured experience of Charlotte Bronte’s novel.

I can understand that feeling. For book lovers I’m sure there is always that tension when an adaptation, be it in the form of a film, theatre or radio play or production comes out. There is sometimes a sense of disloyalty to one’s ‘first true love’ of the book itself. A betrayal of the author? And yet, I find that when done well, adaptations can greatly enhance one’s experience of and love for a well treasured book.

I must say, seeing the National Theatre’s performance of Jane Eyre was not a disappointment for me. Far from it.

Revisiting Jane….to be continued….

 

 

 

Simple Self-Care Challenge #2

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Picture courtesy of Google Images.

Hi friends, and welcome back to the simple self-care series, or Welcome! for the first time if you are just joining us.

Here is the first post in the series, but if you have a browse through my blog you will find longer articles incorporating themes and aspects to do with self-care, mental health, and much more. My blog is called ‘Life as it happens to be’ which is just that, and really can and will cover just about anything as it happens in my life. But this theme is also a big part of it. https://wordpress.com/read/feeds/66574131/posts/1489611501

So for the second challenge in this self-care series, having written down some of the character traits you appreciate about yourself, in this exercise I encourage you to set aside some quiet time for yourself, grab a tea, coffee, hot chocolate or comforting beverage of choice 🙂 , find somewhere quiet and cosy where you can spend some time thinking about what you like about yourself physically this time.

You can approach this in whatever way you feel comfortable with. The reason behind this exercise is to encourage positive ‘self talk’ and viewing ourselves positively. This doesn’t need to be in a prideful way, but simply being grateful for who you are. I know from personal experience that this can be challenging. Gentle hearts often give out so much appreciation and compliments to other people, but are we as good friends to ourselves, or do we constantly condemn, criticise and belittle ourselves with negative self talk?

I could give examples here, but I don’t want to use any ‘trigger’ words that might make this place seem less safe or empowering. You’ll know what goes on in your own mind and how you ‘talk to yourself’, and believe me, you do and that’s normal. 🙂

It might be a struggle to get started on this depending on where you are in terms of self-image and self-esteem.  Here are some suggestions to get you started, and there is no limit to what you want to write down with this exercise. Write down one thing if that’s what you’re comfortable with, or write down one hundred things. It’s your time, your space for self-care, and it’s up to you. Keep it in your little notebook as discussed in the previous post, or blog it if you want to share with others and link to this page if you want to share the journey – totally up to you with what you feel comfortable with. But write it down somewhere for yourself.

Suggestions of what you might appreciate about yourself physically (whether ‘aesthetically’ or ‘functionally’, there are different ways of interpreting this and being kind to yourself):

  • Beautiful eyes.
  • Eyes – sight, a window to experience the world, see wonderful things, learn, read, be creative, etc.
  • Long hair.
  • Nice smile, friendly, positive, encouraging.
  • Hands that can reach out to others, feed, clothe yourself, play the piano, write, draw, paint.

I’m going to stop there, as this is a space for your creativity and self-kindness. You can write a sentence, a paragraph, a story, be creative and design some ‘word art’, write a poem, write a song, but take time to give yourself the compliments you deserve, to build yourself up and strengthen patterns of healthy self talk and a positive ‘self image’, just as you would do for your friends.

Go for it, and enjoy yourself.

Much Love. x