Let me just recite the quote from the photo above, here in the body of the post:
My wound existed before me. I was born to embody it.”
I am not sure I have ever come across words before that I so wholly and completely identify with. There are a huge number of great words that have been written and uttered that speak to me, but this—
It was like an avalanche crashing from a mountain, with giant snow boulders and waves of powder pounding down, immense and powerful—that somehow came to a stop just in front of my feet. And then crystalline silence and sparkle.
Each of us does what we must with the pain in our lives. And as well there is much mystery, beauty and terror to be witnessed in how those we love choose to process their own private agonies.
For whatever reasons, this has been my particular destiny. I carefully watched, internalized, categorized and intellectualized my mother’s methods of coping with her life’s disappointments and her mental illness. Which has made me a forever observer. And now, of myself above all.
Which is why the quote above appeals to me so much. Yes, I have had some pain in my life (as have we all). Yes, I have had some extreme circumstances in my life (as have most of us). But what I choose to do with the pain and wisdom and yes, the anger and despair, is give it a new shape in my head, make it a story about the incredibly complex challenges we face as human beings.
So I don’t write just about my wound. I write about the wound: The wound that is the burden of consciousness, and always wondering aloud to ourselves, “Am I doing okay at this life thing?”
The answer to that question is: probably. But does that feel like the answer? Almost never.
A writer’s work is to keep showing us the way. Which way doesn’t so matter so much. Just that it be a path and lead to a small room where we can collect together and murmur, “Yes, yes, why yes, it does feel just like that sometimes, now doesn’t it?”
Yes. Yes, it does.