August 28, 2002

Story

I’ve been corresponding with a young woman, a college student, who plans to go to law school, provided she doesn’t kill herself first. She hasn’t said this exactly, but that is the gist.

I am loathe to lobby for one choice over the other. Suicide makes as much or as little sense as anything else (particularly law school), and besides, it’s her call.

Many would disagree with my approach, but that, as my correspondent has noted, is a lot of crud. The ties that bind must be self-applied – and always are, ultimately.

Recently I asked her a question:

I’ve long believed that we each have a story about ourselves which we try all our lives to prove true, unaware that we are doing so. This story invariably explains a lot of otherwise inexplicable behavior.

What do you think your story is?

Note: It can usually be expressed in just five words.

Note: This can be a difficult and scary question.

Her response took the form of a meta-proof.

After some serious thought, I’ve decided that my story would be this: I’m a lost little girl.

And yes, that scares me… but there’s nothing I can do about it. I wish I knew what the right choices in life were, but I can barely keep myself afloat as it is.

I nodded as I read this, for it showed that she knows who pulls the strings of her suffering. Not that knowing this diminishes her suffering, nor changes the story that drives it, but at least it’s a start.