The Whole Story
With everyone’s favourite (…) pseudo holiday a week away, it is important to remember that not only is love one of the most powerful forces in our society but it takes on many different meanings. There are so many people who spend Valentine’s Day wondering why the only warm touch they have felt all day is from their laptop searing their thighs from too many episodes of Friends on Netflix. You are beautiful, your laugh can fill a room and your eyebrows are fierce; you are enough. Unfortunately, this thought process is not always present in the books we read nor the various outlets of creativity available to us.
My imperfections were hard enough to embrace after 19 11/12 years and of all the people who have helped me get here, I must thank J.D Salinger and Holden Caulfield. Now before you sink into the trap of remembering how you were forced to read The Catcher in the Rye, give me a chance. I know many people who hated the book and think that Holden is a whiny little rich boy with nothing to offer up as a protagonist, but I disagree. Holden faces his mental illness head on by removing himself from an environment that can no longer stimulate him, he forces himself to face his insecurities and challenges his thinking. He knows he doesn’t like himself or much of anything really, but he still practices self love in drawing his energy in to heal his emotional wounds. Yes, he has some violent tendencies and he doesn’t always perceive his interactions maturely but Holden lives inside us. He is the voice that asks you how you are supposed to trust any one after your partner cheated on you, he reminds you that your professors probably don’t care how many cups of coffee you had in order to keep your eyes open, he openly points out the bullshit people spew when they are trying to be nice to you but he also reminds you that you are not stuck. You are who you let yourself become:
“The best thing, though, in that museum was that everything always stayed right where it was. Nobody’d move…Nobody’d be different. The only thing that would be different is you…I mean you’d be different in some way- I can’t explain what I mean. And even if I could, I’m not sure I’d feel like it. ” – J.D Salinger, Catcher in the Rye
Holden realizes that our perspective changes and we are never the same person as time progresses. This quote directly applies to the Western view of love which is focuses on being an equal part of a two-piece whole. Who decided you were not whole as you were? Why can’t you just love yourself and put your needs first without trying to please or gain the attention of someone else? Sure, the things in the museum never change, but you can always change the way in which you see them.
Salinger gave us a character who is blunt and who reflects the narcissism within us. Holden is not the hero we want, but we have to meet him a some point because he is everything we don’t like about ourselves. He makes you look at your life for all its flaws and once you realize the beauty of life’s duality, you know you are enough. Some of you might be thinking “Man, this girl is fifty shades of cray!” or “Well, that was sufficiently uncomfortable” but you see, loving yourself isn’t easy nor was it meant to be. So visit the museum and analyze its findings with me through this playlist. Remember that your perspective is just as powerful as the honesty of determining your worth.