Jessica Latshaw

musician. writer. dancer.

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when you find yourself locked in a tower.

Posted By on January 3, 2013 in I Lift My Eyes Up, Loved Ones, Thoughts and Feelings | 6 comments

There is a tower I can see through my window. It’s off in the distance, but it’s there, reminding me of Rapunzel. No, not the Disney version. Though I sure did like the horse in that movie. He was hilarious and I do believe his name was Philip, which for some reason, just makes him even funnier to me. Animals with decidedly human names have always struck me as funny. Like a cat named George or a bird named Donald. And, of course, a horse named Philip.

*pause for laughter*

Now that you’ve gotten yourself under control, let’s continue.

My tower-through-the-window reminds me of Rapunzel, the story my mom told me every time she bathed me as a little girl. Luckily, story time somehow compensated for the horror of having my hair washed. I am not sure why my mom wasn’t better at preventing this, but I can remember unending hot rivulets of water pouring into my eyes. It felt the way that water boarding looks. Though, my mom wasn’t after pertinent information concerning any sort of threat to national security. Not from me, anyway. The most she would have gotten out of me was that it was actually myself and my brother Jonathan who were framing our brother Jason in the case of the missing starbursts. But she never pressed and I never volunteered the information, so the mystery went unsolved for longer than it had to.

You really missed out on a golden opportunity, mom. 

But yes, I love the story of Rapunzel. I never felt a bit like her though, until a long time after my mom had stopped giving me baths. A few years ago, I did live in a tower, but not one you could see from any window. Not one you could see at all, really. I suppose there were glimpses of it from time to time, maybe. After the fact, once I was firmly on my way to better, my pop mentioned that there had been whispers late at night. Conversations concerning me in which he and my mom wondered aloud if I’d ever be my old self again; if I’d ever not look like a ghost and not smile through sad eyes.

So perhaps they did see the girl in the tower, after all.

‘That’s so sad and so beautiful,” I remember telling my good friend while he was away and we were talking over skype.

I don’t even remember what I was talking about–not the context, not any of it–but I do remember what he said in a reply that was so quick and so quiet that I almost missed it altogether.

“Just like you,” he said with the kind of smile that told me he wished I wasn’t so sad, but he knew I needed to be, so there was no pressure to feel differently.

Yes, a smile can say a lot.

So I suppose my friend had seen the tower, too.

Interesting thing about towers, though. They give you plenty of time and space to devote to good things. Maybe even great things. You can see that in the Disney version of Rapunzel (Tangled). There is a scene where Rapunzel is learning just about every craft and trade and art there is. She is a renaissance woman absolutely devoted to mining her skills. I mean, what else is there to do in a tower other than draw and bake and sing and craft and write and dance?

Not much else; believe me, I know.

Grief, overwhelming sadness, and disappointment made a tower of my own. It was truly horrific to get there, believe me, but being there was an indisputably growing time for me. I was able to devote myself to making stuff in a way that was almost reverent. I was Shahrazad from One Thousand and One Nights, saving my life by creating more content night after night. It was a way to transcend the mess I was in; to strike a match against the dark enough times in a row until something burned bright enough for me to see past my pain again.

Whatever else it was, being in that tower was, to quote both myself and my friend, “so sad and so beautiful.

Which is why I look out the window tonight and can smile at that tower in the distance.


  1. E January 3, 2013

    Love this. Here I am, in this tower of my own, and who knew how much good would come of it, and I’m not even out yet. But because of it my marriage and my faith and many of my relationships are better, deeper. There’s pain in a tower but hey, somebody’s got to climb up your hair eventually and free you, right? Guess I’d better keep growing it out. 🙂

    • Jessica January 5, 2013

      That’s so funny/ironic, but I, too, started growing my hair out at the beginning of my tower stage. I never thought of that in reference to rapunzel–but what an interesting parallel. Dear E–I know that the tower can continue to be a good thing for your marriage and friendships and even your own dear heart. I pray that you see those good things sooner than later and that joy finds you–even in that tower. Here’s to our hair getting longer and longer with every passing day:)

  2. peaj January 4, 2013

    Thank you for this. So glad that there is hope in life for you now.

    • Jessica January 5, 2013

      And thank YOU for all your kindness and encouragement. And, you know, there was hope in life even when I was in the tower–but there is more happiness now, that’s for sure:)

  3. Christine January 4, 2013

    That just made me cry. I remember that beautiful, sad girl. And you truly are like Rapunzel, making the most out of your time in the tower. Even before your time in the tower though you were like that. Always thinking, dreaming, and creating. I think the tower just brought it out even more. Now you’re beautiful and happy again. And that makes me really happy for you. Missing you friend : )

  4. Jessica January 5, 2013

    Oh, Christine, I MISS YOU LIKE CRAZY. I wish it were easier to see you face to face. Even that tiny bit of time I got to see you in December was wonderful–though not nearly enough. And it was really fun to eat some lunch with Silas! Hahaha he is so funny and adorable, I don’t know how you stand him sometimes. I would probably squeeze him way too much. I’d have to keep my fingers in gloves to keep the pinches from hurting him, probably. BUt thanks for making sure to keep me company in the tower–you did. All the time. And I can never thank you enough for that. Love you.

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