Thursday, October 19, 2006

if i'm not okay, that's okay too

This week I read The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls. It is an astounding memoir. Jeannette and her siblings are severely neglected by their parents. When she is three years old, she is standing on a chair boiling hot dogs when her dress catches on fire. She ends up in the hospital with severe burns. She writes:

I could tell that I was causing a big fuss, and I stayed quiet. One of them [nurses] squeezed my hand and told me I was going to be okay.

"I know," I said, "but if I'm not, that's okay too."

My childhood was paradise compared to Ms. Wall's, but I understand this little girl completely. Throughout the book she takes care of everyone else before herself. This is a hard habit to break. I see myself doing this all of the time. In the immortal words of Dr. Phil, How is this working for me?


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Blogger Nate said...

Hi Bea,
I considered answering by e-mail, but what the heck - this is the land of no secrets.

Yesterday as you were posting a hard to believe story of a three year old, I did a post titled Context - a story about Carrie at age five being put in a similar situation. And reading the quote from the book, if I closed my eyes I could hear Carrie's voice.

The damage done to some kids just boggles the mind.

Take care,

Friday, October 20, 2006 2:28:00 PM  
Anonymous Kaliki said...

Hi Bea,

But how are you, my sister? I have been waiting to know how you are holding up. Thinking of you, Kaliki

Friday, October 20, 2006 9:29:00 PM  
Blogger Flip said...

As a queer husband I am all too guilty of focusing only on me and my oh so dramatic life, decisions, torments, and..well..drama.

Rarely do I take the time to stop and ask my wife how she is. I need to do that more. Actually, "I need to do that more," sounds insulting and patronizing. I need to be that. I need to be that person I could be. Should be.

Bea, thanks for your voice out here among us.

Monday, October 30, 2006 5:31:00 PM  

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