♦Welcome to another edition of the Open Book Blog Hop!♦
Is there a literary character you identify with?
(not one of your own)
Welcome back to another Open Book Blog Hop! The authors included in this ongoing series wish to thank you for your reads. Even more so, we appreciate that you share our writings with friends. If you’re new to the series, welcome aboard. The authors engage and impress weekly. Prepare to become a regular reader.
There was a time when I identified intensely with the character of Edna in Kate Chopin’s The Awakening. Wading through the thickness of stuff filled each day. No end presented in years. I had spent many days just playing online games and existing in a repetitive numbness. Something had to change, or I feared that the thickness of stuff would drown me.
At that time, I knew that I must make a choice to do something better with my time. Spinning my wheels in the muck failed to effectively gain me any ground. So what could I possibly do to get over that hump? Lucky for me, I worked at a university and the teaching staff really wanted me to enroll for a higher degree than I already had. They urged me on many times until I realized I needed to seek my higher learning.
Realizing what was happening and where I was or was not headed unfolded years later, but in that time, I chose to go back to school instead of drowning in depression. The focus and busy-ness of the course work helped me refocus my brain, instead of wallowing in what bothered me. The hard work that ensued was a great joy to undertake. It wasn’t easy, but it was worthwhile and it had a definitive result that could not be denied. Here, I found, working hard would actually result in benefits to myself.
In truth, no matter how hard you work, the outcome sought from the work comes without guarantee. However, obtaining specific goals like a degree will guarantee you the outcome sought. I soared high during the years of graduate study. Feeling like I managed to break free of the muck that bogged me down months prior reinvigorated my whole being. In fact, that reinvigoration lead to the writing of my dark fantasy series. Getting to focus on my art and its furtherance is all I ever ask, and it definitely keeps my mood high.
If you are familiar with Chopin’s book, you understand that Edna is trapped by a life of expectation in lieu of her actual desires. Because of this, Edna is sinking further and further into the abyss of depression. I, too, felt a lot of expectations–marriage, a family, the usual life. None of this was necessarily what I wanted, in that order or otherwise. I knew that I wanted children. Until more recent times, rearing children necessitated a partner. While I still was not sure who that would be, it was narrowing me to a slimmer set of choices. It felt sad and narrow. Not to mention, I could never see me with a husband, and all the men I met made me deeply unhappy at my core.
Edna’s story resonated deeply with me in so many ways. However, the ending implies something I would not choose. At least, walking off into the ocean to never be heard from again was not my idea of a good time. Sure, I’d love to be able to sit on the bottom of the ocean and just meditate until all the sadness washed off, but I’m not a water breather–scuba tanks only last so long.
There are great people in my life that I was lucky enough to lean on, and seek assistance from. Unfortunately, none of them can help me get my books in front of the right people or improve my sales. Their love and caring despite this helped me survive despair, unlike Edna. I feel that Chopin’s character was quite alone in their plight. Regardless, there wasn’t much anyone in Edna’s life could do for her. She had gone far into the muck, and was not reachable any longer. Before she even set foot on vacation, her mind was made up.
While I can still understand what Edna felt in her story, I have successfully moved past the angst I experienced at the time of reading The Awakening. Depression never fully leaves, but sufferers can and do learn to manage symptoms. Keeping busy and moving forward are key to my battle. Achieving goals, even small ones, are the best medicine I can take.
When you feel like you go no where, it can feel like being inside of a prison. That prison affords no choices. The days become so similar that you struggle to mark their differences. The muck begins to build around you, and your wheels will stick or spin no matter how hard you mash the gas to get up out of there. Choices narrow and your focus becomes obsessed with the negative. You feel as though you’re drowning in a bog of boredom at best.
Let me tell you, however, that you get deeply tired of feeling this way. At least, I did. One day, I said, I do not wish to feel like this anymore, and I will not. That choice was still mine to make, and so I did. Edna was a person beyond this choice. Not everyone has that luxury when they suffer depression or similar illnesses. My fortitude, and a number of other personal qualities, served to keep my head above water. Redirecting my brain proved hard work, and it still requires active choices.
Chopin’s work awakened me to the fact that I had options outside the favored model. It would still be a few years before I bucked the system entirely and finally built exactly what I needed. Now, if I go in the ocean, it’s just going to be for a little swim. Although, sitting on the bottom for a bit with a good sized tank of air would be amazing!
Click on the links below to find out which literary character the other authors relate to! Don’t forget to drop your email in the box on the top right to have this hop delivered straight to your inbox each Friday. See you here again soon.