February 23, 2009

A Thousand Splendid Suns

I forget, sometimes, what finishing a good book will do to you. I get so caught up in the endless drudgery of schoolwork that, like Atlas, I exert far too much energy to hold up the weight and power of my emotions.
A Thousand Splendid Suns has left me reeling. It is the story of modern Afghani women, repressed beyond belief as war after war tears their nation apart. It's awful, utterly horrific, yet in the very end, there is hope. From the ashes will rise a better nation.
Reading it made me very thankful for the opportunities I have. I can learn, run around naked, fall in love with anyone, and live whatever life I wish to. Yet having all these opportunities makes it that much more difficult to find a purpose. I have no frightening regime, overbearing husband, or mystical enemy to throw my entire being against. I need to find a cause or a goal, instead of waiting for one to find me, because I know that the standard family, husband, and 2.5 kids will not be enough for me.
I want to change the world. I want to take all the broken pieces and fit them together so that they form a whole that looks as if it never had any fissures. There's a reason I like Tetris so much, but it takes more than spatial reasoning to fix a planet. It takes lifetimes, many more years than the 60 that I hope to have stretched out before me. The planet is too great a thing for one girl with one lifetime to fix.
So what do I do? How do I find a cause? Do I fight for the vanadium pipeline I keep dreaming about? Do I write stories powerful enough that people will feel what I feel right now and go out and do something? Do I make music and art in a likely fruitless attempt to leave something behind? Do I spend a lifetime in the lab to maybe, possibly, if I'm lucky, add something useful to the compendium of scientific knowledge?
I don't know what to do. I feel like Ender, and so many of the other characters in my young adult novels, poised on the edge of adulthood, trying to decide between pulling away or throwing myself wholeheartedly off the cliff. I'm not ready to make these kind of decisions. I'm 15. I don't need to know where I'm going until I'm in college, or maybe later. I just need to bend the tedium of schoolwork to my will and use what I learn to create myself, expand my mind and understanding and abilities until I am capable of great accomplishments.
I have so much potential, and so much hope, and so much opportunity, but I can't yet seize it.
I will wait until later, until I'm prepared, but not too much later, because I know that whatever I choose to do will require all the time I can lend to it.
Fearfully yours,