Sunday, January 20, 2013

Opening Pandora's Box



photo by Amy Brandon


"I had diverged, digressed, wandered, and become wild."  Cheryl Strayed


There are parts of who I am and of who I have been that I block and avoid like the plague because they are dangerous to me.  Sometimes it is impossible to think about the person I have been.  Sometimes it will break me to reflect on who I once was, and the only way to keep from crashing is to become someone else.  When I chose to read Wild by Cheryl Strayed, I had no idea I was about to spend a month inside the dangerous, wild places of my mind I actively choose to avoid.


I marvel at how lost we allow ourselves to become without the outside world even knowing we are lost.  Only recently have I realized how starved for affection we can become when we go too long without it.  I would not posit that having a mother is the only way to avoid this.  I know that some mothers do not fill this roll for their children, and I know that it is possible to be loved by someone else in such a way that you feel sated and full, instead of starved and alone, but to be motherless damages you in an unnameable, pervasive way.  To those of you still with mothers who want to pass judgement here and say “get over it,” I would answer that this view is easy to take when you are still mothered.  Some of you never had real mothers and so I’m sure will think I was lucky to have had what I did.  I agree.  And almost all you who read this, because you only know me through this blog, will not know that this issue is not a crutch or a well-wallowed bog for me.  What I have realized fairly recently is that I am who I am because I lost my mother when I did.  I am fiercely independent and alone and just as fiercely lonely and at odds with the choices I’ve made that have made me this way.  Repeated detachment subtlely shapes you into an island of your own.  You end up choosing to destroy normal just to keep yourself from falling into it. 

I can be in the middle of a perfectly quotidian day, and one sentence can, as reading Wild often did, lead to this:  how hard it is not to have one person who loves you anyway, loves even the unlovable in you, is on your side justifiably or not.  And then someone will ask me, “What’s wrong?” and I will have to say “nothing” because “everything” is too much.  

You can’t out run, out drink, or out dance the truth, so you may as well calm down and deal with it, and become who you were meant to be. 

3 comments:

Barbara said...

A powerful post. A powerful book if it can both upend and validate your being.
(tried commenting earlier. Somehow I failed.

Amy said...

Thank you Barbara. If you haven't read it, I think you would probably enjoy it.

wes said...

disparate, detached, and alone