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Patrick's Secret Castle

on August 08, 2011

In my youth I developed a disorder called selective mutism. I wouldn't talk to anyone if they weren't in my immediate family. This caused a lot of confusion for the kids in my kindergarden through second grade classes, but especially my teachers. Some of the nuns at the catholic school I attended would take it upon themselves to try to fix me by locking me in rooms for hours at a time. They took my silence as being defiantly stubborn, which to a catholic nun was just as bad as if I had murdered someone with a crucifix. So, off to a locked room I went. A seven year old kid who is already shut off from society is being even further exiled. There's no good metaphor for how that actually affected me. I'm not sure I'll ever fully realize how much that stunted my development until I'm done developing (queue scary music.) 

During the time I was selectively mute I didn't have friends, only an NES. When I was five my mom told me she would buy me a new game if I would talk to my teacher. I of course didn't (couldn't), but she caved in and I selected Milon's Secret Castle. I had no idea what it was about, but the concept of a dude having a secret castle really spoke to me. I played it for days, weeks, months. Milon became my friend. His plight was my plight. He had to fight monsters and save a princess, I was fighting and saving alongside him. I was 5 years old, possibly 6 at this point, and I was unable to have a conversation with my grandma but I could save someone's (fictional) life. Somehow that meant more to me. My own life was finally fair; someone had dominion over an entire universe and I was riding their coattails.

The next year while sitting in that room, alone, because canon law states that you should lock up little kids who have anxiety disorders, I was fine. I knew I hadn't done anything wrong. I always waited it out, went home, and started playing with Milon. If I could slay all the dragons in that game I could save him, and also possibly free myself from the secret castle I had in my head.

  • #Evolution