This week, my favorite thing is the memoir and film adaptation of Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail. This memoir and film made me want to cry. Not because it was particularly sappy or because it was extremely heart-wrenching, but because it was beautifully and unapologetically raw. This story allows you to see that life is a continuous struggle in learning self-acceptance and not about daily redemption from the mistakes you’ve made.
The story of a woman hiking more than 1,000 miles is intriguing enough to make you want to experience her journey, but with the added themes of self-acceptance, loss, grief and suffering, the journey’s intrigue is not the physical triumph she endured so much as it is mental triumph.
The story starts in the middle of the journey, with Cheryl Strayed on top of a mountain ridge almost as fed up with hiking as you can feel she is with her life. It wouldn’t take much to piece together why Cheryl was needing to walk the +1,000 miles once the viewer/reader finds out that she was patching together her unhappy life with heroin and sex. But once you learn that her mother, her best friend, confidante and hero, died from cancer, you begin to see a person wracked with grief and loss looking for just about anything to fill and repair the empty void in her life.
Somehow, deep down, Cheryl believes that she can’t make things easy for herself in life, as what might be seen as a parallel to her mother’s own troubled life struggle with being a victim of domestic abuse, a single mother and, at the end, a cancer victim. Strayed knows that therapy sessions aren’t going to help her, so she turns to stronger, more dangerous methods and when she hits a block there, she knows she has to do some serious re-evaluating of just about everything in her life.
Being alone in the wild brought more than enough challenges for Cheryl, in which she shares in her honest, frank narration of the forces of Mother Nature she endured, the people she met along the way and the inner monologue of her constant struggle with how she can move past her mistakes and accept herself for what she’s done and what she has left to do.
Overall, this story is really a masterpiece of juxtapositioning the present with the past and how memories, painful or blissful, remain with you forever. The trick is how you learn to live with them.
This book and movie is meant for anyone to see. It’s a testament to the fact that the things bringing your life to an equilibrium are the things that make you feel good to be you by helping you learn to accept who you are, what you can do and how you live your life.
Until next time,