There are adults who are still young inside; especially those who suffered a deep trauma. “Dream of Becoming Myself” by novelist Choi Jin-young illustrates such adults and kids alike.
The child’s parents constantly quarreled and fought, as though they would kill each other. The child cried and shouted, but nothing could stop them. It was a luminous ball the child picked at the stationary store that saved her from the stressful situation. “A small ball illuminating in the dark, beaming a bright sky blue, which comes from the fluorescent lights it kept while the lights were on.” The child turned off the light, crawled under the desk, put the luminous ball on her palm, and looked at it. She brought the ball close to her eyes and stared at it; then everything disappeared, and the luminous ball was the only thing existed. As long as the child’s gaze stayed on the ball, the squabble and falling-out her parents were having were noiseless. She did not even realize the fight was over. Later, when the child’s mother came into the room and dragged her out, the child took her eyes off the ball and said, “This ball is glowing!” The child’s mom wept.
When her parents divorced, the child grew up with his grandmother. The childhood trauma formed her gloomy and pessimistic worldview. Even though she has grown up as an adult, there was a little girl who tried to let slip troublesome family affairs inside. Thankfully, she started to notice the girl. “My mind breaks when I recall myself as a little girl who was mired in deep pessimism.” She finally learned to comfort herself. What is even more relieving is she has come to think that her childhood self would be disappointed to see her, being an adult but still holding on to a pessimistic view of the world and drawing back to the luminating ball. While comforting herself, she also reflected herself.
The luminous ball in the story is a sad metaphor about human mind that is inclined to back off in the face of painful experience. That’s how you hold out. And when the time comes, you soothe yourself. Even self-pity can sometimes lead to healing.