The dangers of writing a book like ‘Trapped’ are not always immediately obvious, though the title gives a clue or two.
The subject matter is bitter sweet, the memories sometimes painful, and the years, well, I’m glad they have passed, and yet, I sit here thinking I have really achieved very little for my fifty-plus years. The title, ‘Trapped’ reminds me how easy it would be to do not much. Existence is great, but to really live, we need to move forward.
Cerebral Palsy is not everyone’s idea of a fun subject to write about, yet, if I hadn’t gone through several years of agony to procure the relatively short testament that is my memoir, I would probably not be here to tell the tale. Everyone looks on the subject matter and its complexities differently, and people’s views about self-examination vary, from a faint exasperation for one’s lack of dignity to a genuine empathy for the torture that one has to go through, in order to come out of it in one piece at the end. The trick is to make it look easy, of course.
But….there are pitfalls. Like a big, affectionate Labrador that threatens to squash the life out of you by lying on top of you, ‘pity lit’ can swallow you whole if you let it. Obsession with one’s past is damaging and counter-productive. In countless ways, I am not the girl I was, and have had to force myself to learn from the lessons from ‘Trapped’ so that I might engineer a loving, productive and enjoyable life. Most of the time, I know this, and am grateful. Yet, there is no doubt that in other ways, I am still the girl I was.
Accepting the past in all its mixed-up glory, while moving forward, is the main purpose of writing sad stories: not to wallow, cast one’s mind back and regret, but to learn, persevere and change. In finding a way between I AM and I WISH I WAS, the trick, as it has always been, is to keep one’s balance. And with CP that isn’t the easiest challenge on the books.