If you spent your childhood in Finland, your childhood consisted of Tove Jansson’s Moomin characters.
In one of the stories, called ‘the Invisible Child’, the Moomins receive a house guest, a young girl named Ninni, who has turned invisible due to constant mean remarks from her aunt. She was brought to them because Moomins were thought to be able to make her visible again with their kindness.
I have thought about that story often lately. My dog is named Ninni after this character, even though she’s not invisible in the slightest. She will bark her head off at everyone and lavish her love on a complete stranger in the equal amount to family members. Heartwarming but not especially flattering, when your dog will love a nice man in the shop car park just as much as you.
Little by little Ninni does become more visible. The first thing you can see are her ankles, then her torso up to her neck. The last thing to remain is her face, which doesn’t make an appearance until she becomes angry and defends a member of the family.
As a child I couldn’t understand why someone being mean to you could make you invisible. Now I know. When someone acts abusive, you do become invisible. Your own personality, likes and dislikes disappear into the air. You mould, you change, you hope. Like Ninni, I have become more visible with people’s kindness. Unlike Ninni however, I haven’t gotten angry yet.
I did for a moment though, in counselling. For the first time I got angry at everyone who could’ve done something but didn’t. It’s not like I wasn’t in contact with any medical professionals or others who could’ve stepped up and said something but didn’t.
My new counsellor said that blogging is a part of getting my voice back. It makes me think of Ninni’s voice (of the character, not my dog’s. Her voice is loud as it is). In the beginning, Ninni the girl’s voice is very faint, hardly audible. I’ve been told to speak up for along as I can remember. As Ninni starts yelling, her angry face becomes visible again.
I think about all of this while looking at tulips in a vase on my kitchen. Flowers don’t reveal what’s within unless they get care. I stroke one of the petals.
Maybe my time will come too.