I seriously owe a lot to this book right now. Thus far, senior year has done nothing short of kick my ass. It's drained me emotionally and mentally, it's put me in the weirdest possible position I've ever found myself in life, it's made me more confused than ever. And then, sometimes, when you really need something, some sort of inspiration or perspective, something truly amazing comes along. I kid you not, my something amazing is Cheryl Strayed's wild.
It has made me laugh, it has made me literally bawl my eyes out and cry myself to sleep. It's that good. As a matter of fact, I've kind of been reading it forever (forever being at least two months)-- just a little bit every day. It's one of those books you just don't want to end. But I found myself on page 273 of 311 today and I broke out my pen. I circled the last paragraph of Chapter 16 and wrote a huge "THIS!!!" underneath it.
"This was once Mazama, I kept reminding myself. This was once a mountain that stood nearly 12,000 feet tall and then had its heart removed. This was once a wasteland of lava and pumice and ash. This was once an empty bowl that took hundreds of years to fill. But hard as I tried, I couldn't see them in my mind's eye. Not the mountain or the wasteland or the empty bowl. They simply were not there anymore. There was only the stillness and silence of that water: what a mountain and a wasteland and an empty bowl turned into after the healing began."
I feel like senior year for me has been this constant reflection. In the past six months I've thought more about who I used to be than who I am today. There have been times that I wished I was thirteen again and times that I yearned to just be thirty and have my life in order. I think back to my sophomore year of college and the girl I was before I lost my grandmother. She was different. I think back to this time last year, to the girl who was inspired by literally everything. And as corny as it sounds, she was Mazama. She was strong and brave, and at a time in my life where I feel nothing but confused and scared of what's to come, there are times I would give nearly anything to be her again.
In the past four years I've been a mountain, a wasteland, and an empty bowl. I've learned and I've grown and I've screwed up completely; I've stood strong when I needed to, I've let loose when I wanted to, I've let myself grow numb and barren of emotion, but then I've cried enough tears to fill the whole of an empty bowl. Reading that paragraph above, it dawned on me that we're always going to be in this cycle of healing. And every time we come out of it, we're better for it.
My story is nothing compared to Cheryl Strayed's. Actually, compared to her story it's basically irrelevant. It's typical, dumb but yet so real 20-something stuff. But the thing that this book has taught me the most is that life. is. wild. She nailed it right on the head. Granted, she may have been in the wild when she found herself again (I'm never hiking the PCT though, let's face it...), but I suspect she really named the book wild because she figured it out too.
No matter how wild life may be or become, you will always heal. There will come a time when you'll be the mountain again, and the wasteland, and the empty bowl. And then there will again come the time where you heal. But the wildest thing we can do throughout all of it? Just let it be.
I may or may not have read the last sentence of the book... but I do that for all books I read. Just the last sentence ;)