My mother used to joke when people asked how many daughters she had and she would laughingly reply “A pair and a spare,”. I didn’t realize how she really saw us until later on in life when the spare had to take care of her. She wanted, and invested in, the pair with full rights to demand care when she could no longer care for herself, or when she was just tired of taking care of herself (We’ll never know which). Both my sisters, twins, knew how to cook, knew how to clean, had practice with their own children on how to change diapers and how to take care of another human being. I can barely take care of myself even now and I’ve been practicing. I prefered to write or craft rather than clean house, sue me.
I just finish listening to Spare by Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex. I appreciated his experiences with depression and anxiety and felt a kinship with the rage that accompanied his depression which he called “the red mist”. Though he was allowed to wallop his brother and friends to get it out of his system, a perk of not having any proper parental supervision and being a boy, he described the pain of it very succinctly. Though each journey through depression is unique to each individual it’s nice to know you aren’t alone in the void.
We are reading/listening to the book for the Aunt/Niece book club. The chapters read like blog posts, chronologically from the death of his remarkable mother to the present. I know the book was about his coming to terms with the unnecessary and tragic death of his mother, the lethal abuse of the tabloid press, the absolute narcisism of his father, his service, his stumbles in the public eye, the rank racism towards his wife and children and ending with his separation from the institutionalized dysfunction of his family. That was the point of the autobiography; to take control of his own narrative and his own life. I guess, on a microscopic scale that’s what I’m doing here as well.
I pulled a different meaning from the whole of the book. I saw it as his fight and flight from the void, almost completely on his own. But more important, discovering the happiness to be had in the light. He reached a point in his recovery when he realized he had progressed beyond the constraints of the little bubble universe the family and the tabloids created for him. I’m still occadionally bumping my head on the constraints my up-bringing (such as it was) put on me. Writing here has helped me push my mental and emotional boundaries to realize I am the master of my own mind/life/soul. Like Harry, I understand the need to move far away from the funk in the my dysfunctional family because I’m afraid I will go back to where I was. That is not a crack at my family in any way. We are all on different paths now, nolonger slaved to the one our mother picked. I like the path I’m on but it’s new and it’s scary and it would be so easy to go backwards and be, instead of moving on my chosen path to becoming.
The book as a whole is an interesting, albeit asingle hyperfocused view of the monarchy. He is very respectful to the Queen yet didn’t exclude her from the spotlight of dysfunction either. He owned up to the things he had done wrong, the few things the news outlets got right and how he is working to move forward in his life. I appreciated his honesty. If you are an anglophile you should enjoy it.