Archive for the 'drama' Category

Passing through without getting stuck

September 25, 2011

The story of Jane Fonda and the bond between her biographer and her are compelling, but I think we should be wary of getting stuck in the drama.  Drama is about ego, about pain and suffering and exhilaration and desire.  When viewed in some ways, it is compelling, but when viewed in others, it ceases to be what we want or even to be interesting, especially if we’ve experienced it firsthand ourselves and know that it doesn’t lead to anything more than more of the same and exhaustion.

When I read something like,

Later I sent her the book I’d written about my family, “Anything Your Little Heart Desires.” She read it and e-mailed me, “You understand.” I took that to mean that she knew I identified with her workaholism and relentless caretaking of loved ones and strays. These are traits that many suicide survivors admit to,

I think, “Oh, that’s illness.  Plenty of people have this profile, with or without being suicide survivors.”

There are ways out of this kind of illness.  We can begin by recognizing that it is an emotional posture, one we might have assumed in an effort to protect ourselves when we have been unprepared in our psyches for an experience.  We can learn to change our posture and heal, but I think we need to recognize it first as something we want to change and not something we need to hold onto.  I worry that the kind of appreciation of the pattern reflected in the op-ed piece makes it more difficult to do this, by in effect rewarding people for possessing it through this kind of portrayal of what is in fact a kind of illness.