You can love someone and still choose to say goodbye to them,” she says now. “You can miss a person every day, and still be glad that they are no longer in your life.
It’s strange how you give the people you love so much power over you.
My life was narrated for me by others. Their voices were forceful, emphatic, absolute. It had never occurred to me that my voice might be as strong as theirs.
Guilt is the fear of one’s own wretchedness. It has nothing to do with other people.
Everything I had worked for, all my years of study, had been to purchase for myself this one privilege: to see and experience more truths than those given to me by my father, and to use those truths to construct my own mind. I had come to believe that the ability to evaluate many ideas, many histories, many points of view, was at the heart of what it means to self-create. If I yielded now, I would lose more than an argument. I would lose custody of my own mind. This was the price I was being asked to pay, I understood that now. What my father wanted to cast from me wasn’t a demon: it was me.
I never used soap except when I showered, usually once or twice a week, and sometimes I didn’t use it even then. When I left the bathroom in the morning, I marched right past the hallway sink where Shannon and Mary always—always—washed their hands. I saw their raised eyebrows and thought of Grandma-over-in-town. Frivolous, I told myself. I don’t pee on my hands.
I had a thousand dollars in my bank account. It felt strange just to think that, let alone say it. A thousand dollars. Extra. That I did not immediately need. It took weeks for me to come to terms with this fact, but as I did, I began to experience the most powerful advantage of money: the ability to think of things besides money.
Curiosity is a luxury for the financially secure.
Sometimes I think we choose our illnesses, because they benefit us in some way.