Buon lunedì, prodi seguaci!🐿️
Questo fine settimana di danni da maltempo (o forse dovremmo iniziare a scrivere, da emergenza climatica?) ho cominciato Heart Berries di Terese Marie Mailhot per la 2020 RHC. È intenso e pieno di spunti di riflessione proprio come sembrava.
There’s a girl with tight braids who posts up against the wall at group therapy. When Terri asks her to sit down, she says she doesn’t want to. She says that she has to be here for seven full days, no matter if she behaves or not.
Terri explained self-esteem and its function, and I blame my mother for not saying these things. My mother wasn’t big on esteem for herself, let alone trying to foster that in me. I think self-esteem is a white invention to further separate one person from another. It asks people to assess their values and implies people have worth. It seems like identity capitalism.
Mom did teach me story, though, along with Grampa Crow. She knew that was my power, and she knew women need their power honed early, before it’s beaten out of them by the world. I know what you’re thinking, Casey, again with my mother? Yes, unfortunately that’s the biggest part of my work in this place. The therapists seem to think she’s a link to my betterment. I think she did the best she could with the tools she had. The therapist said that’s making excuses. Sometimes she had to lock herself away from the world, that’s all. I have fond and bitter memories of her. I can’t imagine what she’d think of me being here. My mother would have laughed at me. She’d have rolled in laughter and thrown her head back at my misery.
She believed in subversion and turning things upside down. She mocked everything. My desire to be normal or sincere made her laugh.
Heart Berries is a powerful, poetic memoir of a woman’s coming of age on the Seabird Island Indian Reservation in the Pacific Northwest. Having survived a profoundly dysfunctional upbringing only to find herself hospitalized and facing a dual diagnosis of post traumatic stress disorder and bipolar II disorder; Terese Marie Mailhot is given a notebook and begins to write her way out of trauma. The triumphant result is Heart Berries, a memorial for Mailhot’s mother, a social worker and activist who had a thing for prisoners; a story of reconciliation with her father-an abusive drunk and a brilliant artist-who was murdered under mysterious circumstances; and an elegy on how difficult it is to love someone while dragging the long shadows of shame.
Mailhot trusts the reader to understand that memory isn’t exact, but melded to imagination, pain, and what we can bring ourselves to accept. Her unique and at times unsettling voice graphically illustrates her mental state. As she writes, she discovers her own true voice, seizes control of her story, and, in so doing, reestablishes her connection to her family, to her people, and to her place in the world.