When I was a kid, I had a crush on Linus, the character in the “Peanuts” cartoon. Linus had an oppressive older sister, Lucy, whose dictatorial ways he had to manage, sometimes avoiding her, often obeying her, occasionally defying her. He took refuge in his blanket, his constant companion. His reliance on this blanket prompted scorn and mockery from other kids but he would deflect calmly, often obliquely by saying or doing something clever, particularly some sleight of hand with this much-scorned blanket. He would zap a fly out of the air (“Fastest blanket in the West”) or fashion it into a turban as a disguise. He was clear about his limits.
I loved Linus. One of the nicest things my mother ever said to me was that she hoped that one day I would find my “Linus.”
I think now that Linus was an early role model of Post Traumatic Growth. Skirmishes with his oppressive sister had made him wise and skilled, insightful, and realistic. When he comforts his friend Charlie Brown, he doesn’t lie to him or offer false platitudes but simply points out the facts of the matter. I felt safe with Linus. I felt I could be myself in his presence, as two-dimensional as it was. To me, he was not confined to lines on a page: he was a possibility in real life, a model of resistance that was effective and kind, true to himself. I found comfort in that.