“Even as a child she had lived her own small life all within herself. At a very early period she had apprehended instinctively the dual life—that outward existence which conforms, the inner life which questions. ”
Last Monday, I was searching quotes as I do every morning, and I ran across some from a book called "The Awakening" by Kate Chopin. Tears welled up in my eyes as I read each one. I related to these beautiful words on such a deep level. I immediately Googled this book and discovered that it's a literary classic. It was written in the 1890's and tells the story of a 28 year old woman named Edna who is married with 2 children. During a summer vacation, she befriends a man named Robert and after spending time with him realizes that she is very unhappy in her life. She goes through an "awakening" where she discovers herself and what she wants out of life. After reading the plot, I couldn't wait to get my hands on this book. I mean, Hello? This is exactly what happened to me. I logged into my local library's catalogue to see if it was available, and it was. I went to the library during my lunch break, checked it out, and began reading it that afternoon. I had finished it by Friday. Record time for me. It usually takes me months to get through a book.
“There were days when she was unhappy, she did not know why,--when it did not seem worthwhile to be glad or sorry, to be alive or dead; when life appeared to her like a grotesque pandemonium and humanity like worms struggling blindly toward inevitable annihilation.”
Words can't describe how much I relate to the main character of this book. Her thoughts were my own. This time last year I, too, was very unhappy and didn't know why. I could go through my days with my eyes closed. I had no passion in my life. Then, I started taking pictures with Jerry and our conversations awoke something inside of me. It was as if I had been frozen for years and had slowly began to thaw.
“A certain light was beginning to dawn dimly within her—the light which, showing the way, forbids it.”
Just like Edna, I began to have thoughts and feelings that were foreign to me. It was a very stressful time as I realized I had lost my way in life and needed to go in a different direction, a direction that would effect others. Naturally, my biggest concern was for my children, but I soon came to understand that my happiness was the one thing I should not sacrifice for them.
“I would give up the unessential; I would give my money, I would give my life for my children; but I wouldn't give myself. I can't make it more clear; it's only something I can begin to comprehend, which is revealing itself to me."
Once I decided what I wanted to do, I began to think about the fallout. People would be hurt and disappointed in me. I would be labeled a "home-wrecker" and a great many other derogatory terms. I wasn't sure if I would be able to handle it. I had never disappointed people before. I would be going against my nature.
“There are periods of despondency and suffering which take possession of me. But I don't want anything but my own way. That is wanting a good deal, of course, when you have to trample upon the lives, the hearts, the prejudices of others.”
Just as Edna balked against Victorian society, I took the plunge into the unknown. I gave up my life of stability and conformity for a life of chaos and rebellion. I assure you, it was not as exciting as it sounds. It was hard. There were times when I almost gave up, but my heart kept telling me to push through...
“The bird that would soar above the level plain of tradition and prejudice must have strong wings. It is a sad spectacle to see the weaklings bruised, exhausted, fluttering back to earth.”
And I'm so glad that I did. Life has never been better. I'm living it on my own terms, without anyone else's input, and even though I make mistakes, they are my mistakes to make. I don't want to give away the ending of the book, so I will summarize by saying this: Edna and I may have gone through similar journey's, but, in the end, we took much different paths. I can't wait to see where mine leads.
“There would be no one there to live for her during those coming years; she would live for herself. There would be no powerful will bending hers in that blind persistence with which men and women believe they have a right to impose a private will upon a fellow-creature.”
If you made it through these ramblings and quotes, thank you for allowing me to share my thoughts on this book with you. It was something that really touched me, and I needed to express my feelings on it and how it related to my life. I hope you got something out of it. If not, I will be back later today with light and fluffy talk of fashion. Oh, and a new look for the blog that I'm really excited about!