As a young child my one delight on a Saturday morning was to get my hands on the new copy of the Jinty and Lindy comic for that week. I remember standing on my tiptoes holding out the 7p to the indoor market stall holder and when I was allowed to leave with it burying my nose in the print and inhaling. To this day I still love the smell of a comic/magazine/book. One story that really sticks in my mind from it is “Girl in a Bubble”. This story was about a young girl Helen Ryan who had been put in a bubble because her immune system was too weakened and she would not survive outside it because there were too many germs. There was a woman who watched over her, writing things in a secret diary and Helen was allowed to paint but no one ever got to see the paintings. The woman outside welcomed other girls in to see Helen, but all they did was taunt and tease her, with the intent of making Helen not want to leave the bubble. One of these girls felt bad at playing a part in this teasing and lets Helen out for a short time, and to Helen’s surprise there are no germs and her immune system was in fact fine long ago. There was some kind of back story about Helen’s Mum having some sort of breakdown when Helen was put into the bubble and getting a replacement daughter and when Helen makes contact with her father he slams the door in her face.
Thinking back now this story was dark, disturbing and eerie. It seems so out of place in an 8 year olds comic amongst its other stories such as Miss no-name and Make-believe Mandy. It should have perhaps frightened me to death, but I remember being totally and utterly fascinated by it, the pictures, the characters and the stories. Strange that some of the story line followed in my own life – bullied at school, mother with a break down, father who didn’t want to know and now I have an immune disorder diabetes and require daily injections to stay alive. I also developed a fear of being in an iron lung as a kid, as that was all over the news and press at the time I was growing up. I would still love to get back copies of the comic for old times sake to have in my collection, perhaps they are available at some ridiculous price no doubt on ebay.
It got me thinking today about a protective bubble. We are all trying to create one with the current situation, some of us still have to physically step outside and try and stay safe with hand washing and sanitiser and a dose of anxiety. Others are fortunate and can stay in their own comfort-zone at home where they have their own familiar surroundings and hobbies. We are all adjusting to a new way of life with no apparent end in sight at the moment. Although the sun is streaming into the office here, its silent outside mainly, perhaps people are starting to realise the severity of it all. I hope that we will see positive benefits to being in our own bubbles whatever that may be.
Perhaps a bubble is around our relationship with another, we create such a thick wall around it so that no one can break it down and spoil it. We exist within that bubble free to speak, laugh, love and explore our deepest thoughts and feelings. If you are lucky that love grows, deepens and becomes even stronger. Sometimes a bubble wall can weaken, and we worry that something from outside may burst that bubble, sometimes we need to build it up again and it becomes stronger still. The main thing in this type of bubble is that we maintain it, we nurture it and allow it to be a positive place where two people can be themselves, completely themselves without fear or rejection. Separately we find our own way to become what we thought we never could, together we are a bond so strong that is difficult to break.
Whatever our bubbles, I hope that we emerge stronger still, free from germs, safe, alongside reciprocal love for another, you can’t wish for more than that.