Jung believed that a human being is inwardly whole, but that most of us have lost touch with important parts of ourselves. Each human being has a specific nature and calling which is uniquely his or her own, and unless these are fulfilled through a union of conscious and unconscious, the person can become sick. Jung concluded that every person has a story, and when derangement occurs, it is because the personal story has been denied or rejected. Healing and integration comes when the person discovers his or her own personal story. As a therapist, I endorse this heartily.
Apropos the above plagiarism, I have been thinking and re-thinking the benefit of writing memoirs. The dark side takes up too many pages, a flood. And the light is barely a sprinkle. I continually ask myself, “What are you doing?”
Socrates said, “An unexamined life is not worth living…” But whenever Jung’s buddy and mentor, Freud, contemplated his navel, it reminded him of a penis. Maybe a little bit of examination is good, but is it good to commit it to pubic/public introspection?
My first twenty years were lived in various levels of derangement. My sister says she has always felt we were “quite the normal family.” My first cousin feels it’s fine, biologically speaking, to date first cousins. I think he’s interested in me. EWW! I remind him of the insanity, incest, and drug addictions swimming through our familial gene pool.
He brushes that off by saying, “Oh, I’m sure you’d find some of that in all families.”
I respond with, “But why concentrate it knowingly?”
He says, “Well, there’s always birth control.”
I think I’d like to write my memoir book this way. The front jacket would be black on black with swirls of gray. Hidden in the dark would be a frowning mask. All of the terrible happenings would be written there. If you turned the book upside down and over, the jacket would be beautiful spring colors camouflaging a happy mask. This rendition of my life would reflect all the amazingly wonderful things that have happened. Depending upon whether you were a pessimist or an optimist would determine whether you read the book forwards or backwards.
I want to write my personal story, but I am afraid of ridicule, anger, and shame from my family. The family rules are that secrets must be taken to the grave. I’ve been a fairly good girl now for the past sixty years, festering with the weight of these secrets and the pretense of normalcy. Telling one’s story in a private therapy session is noteworthy. Creating a publishable memoir feels like an act of lunacy. Yet, I keep writing. The words tumble out onto this white screen, a jumble of beautiful memories and awful tragedy. Way down deep inside of me is a little girl clawing out of a dark depression, swimming to the surface. “Free at last!”