There is a book whose title I will not tell, written by an author that will remain unnamed, that everyone in the whole wide world made such a gigantic fuss about. Hollywood even made it into a movie! And all I heard from everyone I knew was to read this book. It is great! Empowered womanhood! You will love it! They all assured me. So I broke down and bought the darn thing in paperback at Target. Immediately I was turned off, for this woman had been portrayed as a hero, a goddess of unprecedented proportions for overcoming unspeakable pain and triumphing over all her wrongdoers with a transcendent peacefulness.
But all I could see was a woman with an endless bank account and oodles of time on her hands void of any responsibility cavorting around and indulging herself. And I got mad. Actually, I was really really jealous. Because I wanted her life. And I wanted her problems. And most of all I wanted her solution, irresponsible and generously funded self-indulgence! I put the book down after my 6th or so attempt to get into it, fuming and angry as I had been the 5 times I had previously ventured into her world. Did anybody even edit this book? It reads like she turned a tape recorder on and recorded her stream of consciousness, whatever came to mind and published it hot off the transcriber’s desk. Finally, I decided this is not the right time in my life to be reading this book and it went back on the shelf for another place, another journey, a whole other attitude adjustment.
Then irony smacked me upside the head a few times to catch my attention. My complete lack of compassion became glaringly obvious. I judged this woman because her trauma was not worthy of my respect. It was not big enough, grand enough, destructive enough. But it was still her trauma. She had every right to feel what she felt, for if that was as bad as her life had gotten she was a very lucky girl and must not have much to compare it to. She had every right to make millions of dollars off this venture if she is writing what her customers want. Just because this woman had not befallen to a multitude of health problems or natural disasters or an abusive past or anything equally traumatic I judged her. Yet I would not ever in a million years with what I have been through on even my worst enemy. This found me in a particular set of reasoning that made no rational sense. My heart softened and I found empathy and even a little joy in being reminded not everyone suffers so horribly in this thing called life. So go for it girl! Live your life and keep loving and laughing and doing what makes you happy, I begrudge you nothing. I hope she never has to find out about the devastation that comes when life really betrays you and leaves you stripped naked and beaten lying on the floor wanting to die. I can only pray.
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