Thursday, December 22, 2011

Building a Fort.

My friend built a fort for my daughter out of the living room chair and a blanket. Because he has carpentry skills, he used a broken-down cardboard box to support the roof. She loved the little fortress so much, she didn't want to come out.

"HOUSE!!!" she wailed as I tried to extricate her.

When I got home, I built her an identical fort out of a cardboard box, a living room chair and a big blanket thrown over it. It managed to stay intact for the most part, except for when she would grab the blanket and pull down on it until the cardboard roof caved in.

"HOUSE!!!" she wailed each time it fell.

"House!" she chirped each time I put it back up.

I remember trying to build a fort out of a blanket as a kid. I laid on my back and stuck my legs and arms straight up in the air to support the roof. I tried using a cardboard pole leftover from wrapping paper to act as a prop. I tried using throw pillows and stuffed animals as walls.

The trouble was, the blankets kept falling back down. Propped up for a moment, they'd soon return to brush my face and cover my body again. No matter how much effort and how many contraptions I'd build or finagle, the blanket fell down and covered me.

Today I was thinking about that blanket and how I could never keep it off of me. Sort of reminded me of depression. I've spent a lifetime propping it up and trying to keep it off. But every so often the cardboard scaffolding I've built gives way and I feel it brush my face and cover my body once more.

Sometimes I just want to lay down in the dark and give in to it.

But most times I brush it off and try to prop it up. I rummage around for the cardboard poles and stuffed bears in my head and build walls out of plush. Sometimes it all seems so pointless.

Building an imaginary fortress against pain.

Why bother?

But that inner kid in me doesn't care about logistics and logic. I hear my daughter's voice yell, "House!" and I put the structure back in again. She needs me to keep a roof over this house of mine. She needs the shelter of my joy.


  1. Good golly, I'll have to read between the lines next time my kids build a fort. I thought they were just having random fun.

  2. No fort is strong enough to last forever. The trick, as always, is pushing yourself to rebuild it again. And again. And again.

    I'm guessing you come to the same conclusion I do: if we don't do it, no one else will.

    Keep fightin' the good fight.

  3. I want to build a fort now.

  4. A very poetic interpretation of pillow forts, there. Nice.

  5. Hmmm, much to think about. The grandkids go through phases when they want blanket forts every day. Sometimes they want me to play inside it, and sometimes not.

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  7. Talk about depressing. It never occurred to me to use a sheet instead of a blanket for a fort roof until now. Been f-ing dark as hell and stifling in there! (Much like my life-long depression.)

    This was so lovely.

  8. I think she and he may be the ones who will help keep the blanket from falling on your face.

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  10. Another great motivation video Mandy. I was blown away by how this man turned his life into greatness for his sick child and of course for himself.

    8 )

  11. Sorry the url was incorrect in my last reply . Here is the correct video link. 8 )

  12. I find that I have this really amazing life and so many things to be 'happy' for.

    There are times that I get really down and feel 'crappy' instead. During those down times I find strength, just like you do. But after I have my own little woe is me, I feel like there is nothing I cant do. Pity parties allow me to shout fuck off and encourage me to build my fort.


  13. She needs the shelter of your joy, just as she lights your shelter with her joy.

    What a wonderful post!

  14. Beautifully written. Those cardboard tubes from the gift wrap never lasted because we used them for sword fights, Luke Skywalker style.

  15. Never give up on building your fort.

  16. What a wonderful post. Funny thing, since I have learned to build that fort, to fight against despair, I no longer blog.

    I am quietly joyful.

  17. Nice metaphor, Mandi.

    Don't give up!


  18. Hi Mandy,
    We all build forts, sometimes not
    realizing when or why. The fact
    that you can and do is, to me,
    a testament to your integrity and
    all the good that is you.
    The bad: none, just the dark
    trying to get in & failing.
    You are a beautiful spirit, Mandy.
    The lives of your family & friends
    (even via the www), are much richer.
    Thank You.
    Richard O.

  19. Thanks, Raao. Nice seeing you around these parts again!