I love words.
Particularly when they are formed together to express a thought or observation in the most appropriate and efficient way, yet flow in balance with each other and the point they convey. I came across such a string of words written by F. Scott Fitzgerald that resonated with me even though I did not have a clear understanding of its meaning.
“The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function.”
The quote supported a theme of out-of-the-box thinking, but I later found the words were from Fitzgerald’s essay collection titled The Crack-Up. I also came to understand his meaning in full.
The left bookend to my story begins in a solitary moment while crying in the dark and rain. Steve Winwood had just provoked a memory from when I was eighteen and had relied on his lyrics from “While You See a Chance” to help me decide to enter into a relationship with the man who soon became my husband.
Why Steve Winwood? Because I’d never had those types of conversations with my mother or anyone else in my family. I had supported myself and lived on my own before graduating from high school. That required working full-time and growing up too fast. Fear and other self-preservation skills kept me mostly safe in the North Texas town of Wichita Falls. A city where there was little opportunity, and even fewer expectations, for young women in the early 1980’s who lacked structure and support.
Solely my truth unfolds within these pages, as I have come to accept that the thoughts I think others are having, are in fact one-hundred percent my own. Depicted dialogue is from memory or journal entries, and most names, locations, and identifying characteristics have been changed to respect privacy.