Peter, Peter, Pumpkin Eater
Had a wife and couldn't keep her
Put her in a pumpkin shell
And there he kept her very well.
This rhyme has always confused me, how does putting someone in a pumpkin shell help you overcome a problem. It sounds like avoidance more than anything, and of course a lifetime of sage advice and modern therapy has taught me that avoidance is the enemy. The Pumpkin Eater is just putting off his problems for another day.
On top of my confusion with this rhyme, as a child whenever I read anything with a character with my first name I was instantly that character; fearfully I was the rabbit escaping from Mr. McGregor; depressed I was a fourth grade nothing; ashamedly I denied Christ before the cock crowed thrice; I was a piper who picked pickled peppers; and for some reason I was a strange pumpkin eater who kept a wife in a pumpkin shell. I was a little crazy as a kid.
Since my childhood I've learned not to transfer myself onto others so much, but as a consequence I still find it easy to relate to different people and characters. Time has taught me a lot of things since I was a kid, one of the most important things is perspective. Sometimes there are things that we see as important which are in reality not quite as important as we think they are. During these crisis we scream and shout but if we only had a little distance, a little time and perspective, we might be able to deal with them better.
The pumpkin shell in the rhyme is an interesting concept when you think about it, a Deus Ex Machina. It's the thing that magically solves your problems or alleviates your worries. Simply put, Peter has a problem and he finds a way to deal with that problem, it works out (very well). We all have troubles and we all have our ways of dealing with those troubles. Some of those ways don't work very well and just make us more miserable. Other things we do are more constructive and help us deal with those problems. Some things just give us the right amount of distance and perspective to help us accept the things we cannot change and the courage to change the things we can. I like to think of those last things as "pumpkin shells".
I've learned that it's important to recognize the things in life that actually help me deal with my problems. I'm still learning to tell the difference between those two things in my life. I've found that writing is a great way for me to deal with some of life's more complicated issues; it gives me a perspective; it gives me hope; it's a creative outlet; it's my pumpkin shell. This is one of the reasons I'm starting this blog.