Flashbacks to Dodgeville

Recently it all came flooding back, the pain, the unjust persecution, the isolation, the horror and despair. Anglache gave me comfort in her last post here....
The high school girls my friend talked about, one of them has created a story to explain away a parent who won't be there, preferring this person be dead to the fact of abandonment, betrayal, failure. It hurts to have a parent who fails you, and every one of us who has felt such a sting makes up a story to make sense of that unpalatable fact, make it more noble, less painful, displace its shame, deny its damage.

Isak Dineson said that any pain can be borne if you put it into a story or tell a story about it.

What matters is what kind of story you tell. Is it a story of reclaiming what never was? Is it a story that acknowledges pain, but makes it a thing that is done and dealt with? Is it a tale that talks about dysfunction with clear-eyed honesty and compassion for all involved? Does it [e]limn[ate] an unfulfillable wish, or instead create a foundation on which to build?

I suspect most of us recount a mix of such things.

I'm interested in the dreams of our daughters, the stories we tell ourselves about ourselves, and how they can frame a future that is not just drugs, gangs, babies, and relentless second-class status.

Maybe one of the reasons the lady in the pantsuit connects with so many daughters is the story she can tell us about herself, and about us as well.

Maybe what we need are better stories of the indignities and tragedies of ordinary life that don't have Daddy in another country, but permanently incarcerated, or a blow-hard abusive bastard, or wandering the streets as a bum looking for his next fix, and how you are not condemned to a similar fate.

A dream that looks forward, not back.



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