While the above photograph is none other than the infamous Scarlet O’Hara, I could tell you that I easily picture my mom in her place. Her look—determined and resolute. Her stance—strong and confident. The backdrop—luminous yet darkening. Her eyes—soft and vulnerable. My mom loved “Gone with the Wind.” In her view, it depicted a woman who only knew to defend what she had, which is exactly what my mom did. I do think she saw much of herself in Scarlet, and appreciated her candid honesty and respect for herself.
Going back to my roots, 2014 has seen me thumbing through many books. Laughing through some parts, crying through others, and narrating my own life in the voice of the author. It has been a deliberate and wonderful escape from the reality of what this year means to me. I have gone back to books that I once loved that had meaning to me under different circumstances. So many characters I admired for their strength, tenacity, or wit. I envied them. I would find myself disappointed after reading… a loss of a life. The end of something all-consuming that I wanted to go on forever. I would curl up on my mom’s bed and sigh, “I need another book to read. I’m sad.” She would ask me to tell her about my book and I would give her this long drawn out and impassioned description, which would ultimately end in dissonance. “I know it’s only fiction, so it isn’t real. This doesn’t happen in life.” My mom would smile knowingly, she understood how I felt. She would also find herself lost in books, only to awaken after their untimely end in a dazed sorrow.
It wasn’t until I began rereading them that I started to learn about myself in the characters. Feeling a sense of relief in the reflection, yet also a contempt for years of understanding that I missed. I thought about my own life and my mom’s. I read the characters through our eyes, each of ours, and felt reassured. We are the heroes in our own adventure. Regardless of the plot twist, we’re writing our own story word by word.