I’m not sure why I like reading books about trauma, why we all like reading, watching, consuming trauma. Maybe trauma is really what connects us as humans, suffering.
I was drawn to another book about trauma, She’s Come Undone by Wally Lamb. For a man, he writes a good coming of age story by a woman. I wanted to read this book because people have been putting I Know This Much is True on my radar forever, but this was the first book I came across on my Overdrive app.
At first when I started, I thought this was another book about white women suffering. I told y’all before I am trying to have more compassion for people who experience privilege. Suffering and trauma are not about the life events, but how they touch and alter our lives. I think this book especially helped me to see that.
A young girl experiences trauma and she is forever changed for the worst. People see the worst of her and she chooses to recreate herself in a way she thinks she will be loved. And if they still don’t like her, she gives the people what they want.
I think a lot about healing with this book. It’s amazing what thought patterns our brain creates in reaction to trauma, without us even knowing. We treat trauma how we treat weeds. We think something on the surface will poison them, but they keep coming back because we don’t get to the root.
But dandelions can be beautiful too.
I’m currently on my own journey of finding peace in my life and making connections from my past to my present. Everything that has happened to me has lead me down a path to being the person I am today, and she’s pretty neat (and hilarious if you like dad jokes and puns with some dark humor sprinkled in).
This book has also made me think about how trauma alters life paths. Because of the trauma Dolores experienced, she had the potential to accomplish so many great things if her life hadn’t been derailed. Do you ever think about how much our society could progress if we had systems designed to benefit everyone equitably instead of giving privilege to certain groups? So many people with great potential are disadvantaged because they are not protected or even exploited.
But I also think about how trauma can set you on the path you are meant to be on. How many people go on to do great things because they want to prove the people who have harmed them wrong or prevent harm from being done to others. Without suffering, we have nothing to strive for, nothing to make us appreciate joy.
The world will never be a perfect place. We’re humans and we can’t have nice things. But what we can do is make the world a little better for each person who comes after us. We do an ok job at that (sometimes).
If I have learned anything from this book it’s that sometimes coming undone is necessary to put together something greater.