While walking in the desert this morning, I had a vision. Well, not a vision so much as a revelation.
I’d been thinking about my grieving woman novel, which is shaping up to be the story of a woman in search of herself. She is directionless after her loss, has a lot of unfinished business to take care of, and is trying to figure out who she is now that she is no longer a wife. I wondered if people would accept that this woman is finding out all sorts of things about herself that she didn’t know — after all, a person in her early fifties should have some idea of who she is.
Then I realized that even if we have a strong identity and know almost everything there is to know about ourselves, it’s still possible and perhaps necessary to revise our self-concept, especially after going through a trauma such as a major loss.
I saw that our psyches are like nesting dolls or boxes within boxes or doors within doors (choose your cliché). You never see the doors, so you think you know who you are, but a great emotional upheaval can cause a door to open, letting you see more of yourself and what you are capable of, revealing a part of your identity that might have been hidden from you until that moment.
You get to know who you now are, adding to or changing your idea of yourself, rethinking the past in light of this new awareness. You get comfortable with this revised self-concept and then BAM! More trauma, and another door. You never have to go through the door, of course, but if you do, you might find riches of which you were unaware.
What can I say? It was the desert. Wandering in the desert is traditionally a place for both sun-induced absurdities and great insights.
November 7, 2010 at 5:39 pm
I think you’re spot on Pat. I’ve found in my own life that I keep finding out new things about myself after my divorce. If a person doesn’t stretch themselves on a constant basis they won’t find out anything new. For most of us it usually takes something large, like a death of a loved one, for us to look at ourselves with new eyes.
I like your desert musings. I think you’re coming into some new areas in your own thinking and that can only be good. My belief is that it’s a natural response to the uhheavals of life. There has to be a good side to the coin.
And I’m really enjoying reading your responses and your thoughts. Keep up the good work, girlfriend.
November 7, 2010 at 6:03 pm
It is odd, but I didn’t realize there was anything new to know about me. I’ve lived my life so that when I hit middle age I wouldn’t have to deal with a mid-life crisis. To be fair, it’s not a mid-life crisis. It’s a grief induced metamorphosis, but it still comes down to the same thing. I haven’t a clue of who I am or what I want to do. His death blew out a dozen doors, and I’m wandering around the desert inside my head, trying to get my bearings.
November 7, 2010 at 5:53 pm
Your illustration for doors within doors is perfect! Your post makes sense. You’re in the perfect position to have insight on the subject matter of your novel. Blessings to you as you continue to expand the parameters of your character’s experience. Thank you for sharing a great post
November 7, 2010 at 6:00 pm
I love this photo. I roamed around the neighborhood shooting doors — I’m surprised someone didn’t shoot me! Though no one seems to mind that I took the photos — and this photo was the best of the bunch. It almost begs to have a story written about it.
November 7, 2010 at 6:03 pm
Cool! It never occurred to me that you shot those photos yourself. I wondered how you found them! Now I know. Kudos!
November 7, 2010 at 6:05 pm
Thank you. Photography is a new love of mine. I’ve taken all the photos I’ve used to accompany these blog posts.
November 7, 2010 at 6:06 pm
I think this book will be better than just good literature. Sounds promising in the growth department too. I’m writing one like that myself right now. I’m learning a lot about who I am verses who I thought I was. It’s tough going, but I’m enjoying myself. Hope you do, too, Pat.