I am a voracious reader; I have spoken of it before. There is an escape in that, an ability to walk away from real life and get lost in the fictional HEA that while often unimaginable also gives me a moment. I recognize that my books are unreal, and there is a comfort in that. I read books that always have a happy ending, with the characters always overcoming some difficult (okay, sometimes ridiculous) adversary.
But the books I like the most is when the adversary, the primary adversary is within the main subject. When the bad guys are in their own insecurities, and their own fears. The journey to overcome what life throws at us, and be successful. Successful enough to find love despite the lessons that life has taught. I am not much of a fan in books where the main subject seems to find love and forgiveness without conflict, without trial and error. Life isn’t easy, and it is full of lessons that are not only difficult to understand but difficult to reconcile.
I am currently reading a book about a woman who was abused and controlled in a previous relationship. While she got out before she was killed was absolutely miraculous, based on how the author portrays the story, the real triumph is her ability to find love and even strength in herself despite the lessons of the past.
Life is a journey, and it is probably a well-known cliché. We use words like mountains, blind curves, dips and hollows to describe the journey each of us must go on. The journey not taken in our car, but in our life. We use the words interminably, one to give directions to a lost traveler and one to a lost wanderer. They mean the same, the even represent the same. But they are used to show us that whatever journey we are on, whether personal, professional, or when we simply are going for a joy ride, life has moments of pure defeat that must be overcome.
I suppose I don’t need my life to be easy. Mostly, because like most people, my life has never been easy. It doesn’t work that way. But I take solace in the idea that one can overcome pain, sorrow, fear, even disillusionment. Granted, I am the first to admit that often in books, especially romance books, the journey is rather short. The protagonists often succumb to the joyous emotions despite the strong portrayal of the heavier emotions. Do I think that once you are raped and attack you can fall in love with the next man who comes along…absolutely not.
Do I think you can eventually find peace? Part of me has to. No matter how long it takes you, no matter what you have to do to get yourself back to a place that you can relax and believe, you must do it. I can’t live my life knowing that the constant lessons that I am forced to learn won’t lead me to a better place. I can’t live my life knowing that the pain, the reality, the disappointment of this life is all there is.
I once explored the idea that this earth is hell, and God asks to navigate through it in order to find heaven. I am older now, and don’t know that I truly believe that. If you are looking from the neighbor’s yard, the grass is always greener. The person you are standing next to doesn’t have as much trouble, they are not dealing with as much issues. Sometimes, when I am down or depressed I still believe this to be true. But what I have also come to recognize is that for people the world over many of the problems – in the scheme of things – aren’t that different, how we react to them is.
My husband, for instance, responds to life in a much different way than I do. While we both tend to bury our problems, and not talk about the real issues in favor of playing with our children, the truth I have learned is that his life isn’t easier than mine. Just because I can blame my on a disease, doesn’t negate the fact that he also has troubles. And the degree of those troubles are completely and totally determined by how his mind and body handles them. He is no better at dealing with them in a healthy manner, I don’t truly believe anyone is, but I sincerely doubt that our neighbors, his family, and even to an extent our children, know the things that are bothering him today. His fears, his insecurities, the life lessons that are taking his breath away; and I know this because I am selfish enough to not know either.
I guess that I like to read about overcoming adversary for a very predictable reason: I want to believe that I will overcome it as well. I need to believe that the pain in my life wasn’t given to me for kicks and giggles, but it was given to me so that I might appreciate the greatness. I need to believe that in all the destruction we can build the Atlantis of our dreams. I have to believe that out of limes we don’t make lemonade, but some seriously beautiful margaritas.
This is what I need; one of the many things I need. I need to believe in strength, because I need strength. This world is difficult and I need the knowledge that others have overcome either the same things I have or maybe the worst things in the world. I need it, or why would I have taken the first step in the journey to begin with?