Haven for the living Princess and the Pea


Books & films

When Marnie Was There

“… Despite dealing with racism and child abuse and mental health, it finds moments of beauty and kindness. Moments where Marnie and Anna, two lost children, find hope and love in one another. Their connection crosses time and Death and makes both of them whole, gives them both strength to deal with who and what they are.” Edward J Rathke

I would like to write a brief reflection about one of my all-time favourite films ‘When Marnie Was There’, a fairly new animation put out by Studio Ghibli. I find this film so beautiful in both its simplicity and complexity. While seemingly a kid’s film, it is dark and deals with some very “adult” issues. I was struck by the maker’s insight into the psychology of its characters, and I feel in many ways Marnie represents Anna’s shadow self.

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Setting and maintaining boundaries is an issue that comes up a lot for me. It is something I have struggled with for a long time and still struggle with but I have come a long way and would like to share what I have learnt in this post.

I like this definition of a boundary which I found on the internet:

A boundary is defined as “the invisible line that separates the participants in a relationship and allows each to maintain a separate identity” (source: The Shack).

Boundaries are a very important, but under-valued, part of relationships. In healthy relationships we can be together and also apart. Boundaries are especially important for HSPs given it takes less for us to become overwhelmed. For me setting a boundary such as a time limit for when I see a friend has made the encounter seem more manageable and I have experienced less dread about it the night before. It has helped me enjoy the time we spend together more.

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Artist in Residence

The full title of the chapter I’ve just read is “Artist in Residence: The Small Intestine” … but I thought that might turn people off in the title line for this post. It’s a chapter from a wonderful book I’ve occasionally dipped into over the years, Body Eloquence by Nancy Mellon and Ashley Ramsden. Each chapter is devoted to a different organ in our body and its function, physically and soulfully. This evening I’ve been immersed in the small intestine – perhaps a phrase you don’t hear every day.

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Unpacking ‘White Oleander’

Now and then we find that story which really hits a chord in us. We may become totally engrossed in the lives of its characters, relating with them, befriending them in our minds, and taking a seat on their emotional rollercoaster. For me, ‘White Oleander’ is one of those stories.  Woven like poetry, I feel it may appeal to many HSPs, especially the complexity of its characters. The book is written by Janet Finch and has been turned into a film. I have long wanted to write a blog post about it.

A bit like the poisonous White Oleander flower, the story is both beautiful and tragic. Young Astrid enters the American foster care system after her controlling, narcissistic mother, Ingrid, is sent to prison for murdering her [Ingrid’s] boyfriend. We follow Astrid’s search for love and stability as she moves from carer to carer, confronted with more loss, trauma, and people with personality disorders.

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