What do the characters Laura Ingalls Wilder, Wonapalei (or covertly known as Karana), and Leslie Burke all have in common?
I desperately, oh so desperately wanted to be each of them at certain junctures throughout my life as a kiddo. And, please come closer, a little more…when I express “desperately wanted” it is with such emphatic gusto that psychological examining might have been needed.
I would woefully cry over the fact that I would never be Laur or Kar or Les. There were too many distraught evenings of despair as I fought myself to the ground demanding a different body, personality, and era. I wanted to live with such unbridled life as Laura, be painstakingly alone amidst indescribable beauty like Karana, and take a boy into an imaginative, freewheeling experience that Leslie created. I ached for a time period which was other than my own. I wanted a log cabin, old cars, wretchedly plain dresses, and scantily clad bouts of running through forests, marshes, and up to the glib edges of cliffs.
Ordinary was severely unacceptable.
And this curse has followed me everywhere I’ve gone. I not only found fictitious characters, but real famous ones such as Princess Diana or popular, gifted, and funny schoolmates in my classes. This would heighten and enflame during my low and contemptuous moods–destruction was inevitably impending upon my mind.
The rubble my mind created…create is not the right term, ambushed. The rubble my mind ambushed covered me up as though I was the living dead.
I might add that I still wrestle with this, more “maturely” (i.e. Virginia Wolf or Sharon Olds or my gifted and beautiful friends) yes, but still I fight myself to the ground with an image I have deemed far better than myself. The icon does not lead me to the glory that is beyond the image, as an icon is intended, rather I utilize it to stray far from the truth of me, whether it is sweetly good or rottenly bad.
It is easier to disassociate onto something other than myself, therefore I don’t have to grapple with what is. Why is it too painful for me to sit with what is? Where in my childhood, our childhoods, in which our homes were not safe or invitational for the bad and difficult feelings to have space and air out. Instead, we learned to harmfully harbor the bad, till the bad, begin to need the bad until it is distanced from our true selfhood, from truthfulness. It may be distanced, yet it controls and morphs our realities, causing repetition and despair.
As O’Donnell Day once stated, “We repeat what we do not grieve.”
We cannot grieve what we do not understand or accept about ourselves.
We repeat what we do not grieve. Will we find places and people to let out who we really are inside or allow people to tell us who we might really be?
That is the task for humanity in the midst of a God who is with us, for us, loving us. The task of honesty and the mercy of God are inextricable.
Laur, Kar, and Les, I love you and think the world of you, but I want to love myself more wholly and mercifully and unfortunately you keep me from…me, all of me, the good, the bad, the glory…
May the images in which have harmed and kept you from honesty turn into powerless, broken facades where light is beaming through.