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“Fruit” by Oliver Sim: Healing Your Inner Child

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This journey begins with a talk show host asking Oliver Sim “If you could meet yourself as a kid right now, what would you say?” He gives us his answer in “Fruit,” a beautiful yet haunting glimpse into the experience of someone exploring their queerness and healing old wounds. “I’ve done a lot of inner child work. That’s what this song is really about,” the artist revealed in an interview with Dazed.

In the song, Sim goes back and forth between the consciousness of his current self and his younger self, mimicking the conversation and corresponding thoughts that might occur. He focuses on his experience exploring his queerness (or rather, avoiding it), giving his younger self valuable advice. However, the majority of the song comes from the point of view of his younger self. He belts out his indecisiveness about who he is and what he should engage in. 

Listening to this song is an emotional experience, and I’m sure it’s ten times as powerful for anyone who has gone through something similar. Sim gives a voice to so many children who fight themselves daily to fit the status quo, as well as the adults who have trauma from it.

You can dress it away, talk it away / Dull down the flame / But it’s all pretend

Sim is speaking directly to his younger self, knowing what he would have been thinking at the time. Based on these lines I assume Sim tried to extinguish his queerness growing up, but he now knows that the person he was meant to be would always be in there waiting. As a child you’re going to do whatever you need to to fit into the box society draws for you, especially if the people in your life are close-minded. You will talk, dress, and behave in a way that is “socially acceptable” to satisfy the expectations of others. It seems Sim struggled with lining his own identity up with that of other men in his life, like his father.

What would my, what would my father do? / Do I take a bite, take a bite of the fruit?

Here, the perspective shifts to that of his younger self. The fruit is a nod to the “forbidden fruit” — a symbol of something that is tempting but ultimately bad for us in the long run. Sim acknowledges that there might be consequences associated with diving into this part of himself, but he is weighing whether the pros would outweigh the cons. He could continue to mask his queerness and never know what it’s like to be fully himself, but avoid potential stress and conflict. Or, he could bite the forbidden fruit and gain a new level of understanding about himself. 

I’ve heard other people say / It can’t be right if it causes you shame / Have I made you proud?

Here we see him struggle with the ethics of the situation. If he was raised in an environment where heteronormativity was considered correct and anything deriving from that was sinful or wrong, then his queer tendencies would naturally make him feel ashamed. Because of this, he is seeking validation from someone else to cancel out his own feelings. If he can be who he is and still make the people he loves proud, then it would cancel out the internalized aversion to queerness he learned from society.

Wrong or right / You’re standing right in front of a green light

The last piece of advice Sim gives to his younger self is the most important — just do it. Who cares if it’s right or wrong, it’s what you want to do. It’s what would make you feel like you are being your true authentic self. So that should be enough of a green light for you to pursue it. Regardless of how society is making you feel, everything is pointing towards you living your life for you. And if you didn’t do that as a child, it’s not too late to do it now. 

The question posed by the show host is actually a great starting point for inner child healing. The artist asks us to also ask ourselves, what would we say to our younger selves? What are a few emotional wounds from our childhoods that were never healed? Self-exploration like this is the first step to growth and healing.

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