I’m currently reading The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers. Amazingly, she was only 23 when she wrote this. This depresses me because I’m 25 and I can’t say, ‘Hey, maybe I could write a book when I’m 23″. Maybe 26…? Anyway, there are a couple of parts that have really struck me thus far:
“She thought a long time and kept hitting her thighs with her fists. Her face felt like it was scattered in pieces and she could not keep it straight. The feeling was a whole lot worse than being hungry for any dinner, yet it was like that. I want–I want–was all that she could think about–but just what this real want was she did not know” (p. 52)
I can completely relate to the idea of want, but not knowing exactly what it is that I want. I think this character is confused, frustrated, and yearning to satisfy a ‘want’. Not knowing what she wants implies that something is missing within her–something deep and undefinable. It’s undefinable because she’s never had it before. Maybe it’s a father figure, maybe it’s love, maybe it’s a sense of self. I can relate to this feeling of wanting something undefinable. And because the object of my desire was unknown to me, I would fill it with anything I could–alcohol, drugs, sex, self-inflicted physical pain–you name it. Trying desperately to fill a void with external supplements only ends in tragedy. However, with tragedy, for me, came clarity, enlightenment, a second chance and an answer to what would satisfy these ‘wants’. What I really ‘wanted’ was to know who I was, to be safe, to be sane, to be comfortable in my own skin, and to have healthy human relationships. This is everything I didn’t have and looked for it in the wrong places. Today, I want everything I already have and even though I may not have everything I want, I have what I need and my higher power provides for me. I don’t have to pound my thighs with my fists any longer.
The other part that made me stop and think is:
“But what I’m getting at is this. When a person knows and can’t make the others understand, what does he do” (p. 69).
Thoughts on this to come later…