“You need a theme for your blog,” Karen advised me over our annual birthday brunch. We have been friends since eighth grade, when I was the new kid in town. We met at a middle-school lunch table and Karen instantly enfolded me into her group of friends. She has been looking after me ever since.
“Blogs have themes. I get blogs about recipes and parenting, things like that. You have to have some kind of theme.” She seemed quite confident. I needed to figure this out.
“I have no idea. I just want to write about life, and talk about my book, and write some more.”
“But it’s got to be about something.” She paused. “You could write about resilience.”
“And mental health. And parenting. And friendship, women’s friendship, and how we all help each other through the years. You could write about aging and appearance. But it all falls under that theme of resilience.”
So, if Karen is right, and she always is, I need to have a theme. Resilience is the overarching theme of my book, and my life, and many of my concerns. How do people make it through the vicissitudes of life, still smiling and finding joy? What separates those who crumble, ever bitter and complaining, from those who learn from their traumas and soar? How can we help the people who struggle? How can we learn from the brave ones who thrive despite terrible odds?
I am one of the most resilient people I know, and I have no idea why. OK that’s not true; I have some idea why. I was born with a cheerful disposition. I connect with others. I know how to engage people when I need help. Look at poor Karen; she’s been helping me for 42 years. I have had a lot of therapy. I was born with some privilege. But are these abilities what has made me resilient or are the abilities the result of inherent resilience? There is some genetic basis to resilience too. We know that.
I don’t want to explore resilience scientifically, although I can dust off my doctoral credentials and give it a go, if I must. I want to share stories about resilient people, about life’s struggles, and how we make it through this thing called life. I want to talk about how we can help each other, and how we can all just keep going.
So, there’s my theme.
Lise Deguire's multiple award-winning memoir, Flashback Girl: Lessons on Resilience from a Burn Survivor, is available for purchase on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Newtown Book Shop and The Commonplace Reader.