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a girl lived inside a giant head ...

In a previous entry, I mentioned the writing exercise from this week's writing group, in which I wrote about "buttoning my lips," and I decided to write it up here so I can print it out and take it to discuss with my therapist. As always, this is an extremely rushed writing assignment in which there is little time for thought or planning: words just stream out of you and then you consider them afterward.

Once upon a time, a girl lived inside a giant head. She knew the old woman who lived in a shoe—they were distant neighbors, after all—but this particular girl lived in a head.

On days when the weather was warm, she would open the eyes and mouth and let the sunshine and cool breezes come wafting into her head, clearing away the cobwebs, but on days when the skies were gloomy with threatening clouds or even with hail, she would close the upstairs shutters with their long fringed lashes and she would lock her teeth tightly together and button her lips against the cold.

The head house was quite ingenious, actually, in that no one outside could ever find the door unless they'd already been shown. To get inside, you had to walk around under the left ear and duck into the hollow under the chin. A tiny door there would let you in, but by that time the girl would probably know you were coming. The house would have heard you, after all.

The girl never locked the door, since bad guys generally couldn't find it and good guys generally don't come in without knocking. In fact, like the doors of the old-time Denny's, this one actually had no lock. The girl didn't like locks, because instead of shutting other people out they always felt like they were shutting her in. She liked to be able to flee her head house at a moment's notice, without having to fiddle with locks and keys. Sometimes she thought about removing the door altogether, since she doubted that the hidden spot under the chin was prone to drafts, and then there might be gentle gusts of fresh air wafting into the house regardless of the weather outside.

As I mentioned last time, it ended up making me think about what "buttoning one's lips" means when used in its less literal, more common way, and about how here it was used literally to protect the girl inside her head, away from outside violence. It made me think of Ernie, and whether I was quiet before we moved in with him, or whether I became more quiet during that time to avoid getting hit. I don't know. It makes sense, though, that I would have learned to keep my mouth shut, and to identify silence (and invisibility) with protection.

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