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What Is The Strength In Moving On

1320 words - 5 pages

When tough times are presented, how one reacts to such tragedy can end up defining them as a person. In Cheryl Strayed’s memoir, Wild, a tragedy strikes as her mother passes away without time to say goodbye, and her family, including her own marriage, falls apart. After four years of heartbreak and turmoil, she decides to take the reigns on her own life and voyage into the wild to hike the Pacific Crest Trail that ventures from the Mojave Desert, on to California and furthermore, to Oregon and Washington State. In the realization that this journey is desperately needed to save her life, she begins it alone, and finishes it alone, but as a different person. Throughout the journey, she reflects on the past, encompassing her abusive father, her loving mother and a marriage that she subsequently ruined. With outright honesty about her past, present and some future perspectives, Strayed pieces together a sad story, one with adversity, downslides and epiphanies. When talking of these events though, she shows no symptoms of being ashamed of her past, though she does speak of being sorry about the incidents she brought forth onto her own life and her ex-husbands. Thought it is hard to absorb that the lack of shame can be characterized as a strength, when looking at how Strayed handled the situation and moved on from it, it can better be understood as to why not holding disgrace in one’s own past can help to better create one’s future.
The definition of ashamed is being either embarrassed or feeling guilty because of what one has done or a characteristic they posses. When scrutinizing over Strayed’s characteristics, she could be labeled as someone who runs away from problems, who takes alternate routes such as heroine to escape real life; she could even be labeled a slut. While all those characteristics are things that society would acclaim shame to, Strayed points them out and describes them to the population in a manner that shows no embarrassment or guilt. After going through such things though, initially, Strayed probably felt ashamed, but when revisiting the situations and explaining them to the readers, not only would Strayed have biasedly explained her past if she still felt that shame, but she would have never became the person that she is today if she held onto the pain that comes with mistakes and a lack of morals. When a person feels guilt or embarrassment, it tends to control their life, eat them from the inside out and disable them from further making decisions without the constant thought of that mistake that is hanging over them like a dark rain cloud. She explains in her book about the ability to forgive oneself and what it means to that individual:
“What if I forgave myself? I thought. What if I forgave myself even though I'd done something I shouldn't have? What if I was a liar and a cheat and there was no excuse for what I'd done other than because it was what I wanted and needed to do? What if I was sorry, but if I could go...

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