August 28, 2002

Story

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

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

Many would disagree, 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. The story invariably explains a lot of otherwise inexplicable behavior.

What do you think your story is?

Note: It can usually be summarized in 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 smiled to read this, for it shows that she knows who pulls the strings of her suffering. Not that knowing that diminishes her suffering or changes the story that drives it.