I look for clues in other people’s writings. Memoirs of women. Memoirs of lives met with turmoil and how that turmoil was named and driven through. I catch glimpses of recognition: I’ve felt that, I’ve had that happen. Some are universal experiences; some are much more personal circumstances. I look for hints of how to move through with something if not actual grace, then something akin to it.
I have not yet found it. I’ve read wisdom and witticisms. There are people heroic from the start, to the more human and floundering and trying suicide before emerging out the other side. These writers, so far, all have people in their lives, friends who draw them baths, friends who rent them homes or studios for their works, friends with whom to have dinner and deep conversations. Or they have children, spouses, family of some sort, maybe dysfunctional but ultimately supportive or inspirational. Or they have amazing bosses or co-workers. Along with the social support, many of these authors of memoirs have had successful careers, even if they are momentarily abandoned or failed.
I am quite alone, does that disqualify me for wading through the crap without being covered in it? I haven’t written award-winning novels or plays, or had a brilliant nuclear family, or had an awesome career that I gave up to work with disadvantaged humans or to raise dairy goats.
People like me don’t write memoirs because no one would read them.
I enjoy the books, and learn from them, and I will continue to read them, but I have not yet found the road map to navigate my own struggles through the traumas, physical pain and depression—let alone how to do it gracefully, or at least less pathetically.
Featured image: “Cooling Off” an original digital image created in Second Life, with no post-production. 2019