Thursday, September 3, 2009

Surreal Discernment

By all accounts Jaycee Dugard is as much a miracle as Elisabeth Fritzl and the young women who have escaped from the FLDS. Survivors all, they managed to manage their experiences in such a way that they could compartmentalize them. One might begin to think that they are women who are exceedingly present in the moment, and perhaps it is because the moment is all that they could ever count on.

Somehow, with a fifth grade education Jaycee managed to teach her daughters to read and write. She's used the internet and she had enough sense to put her childhood photo on the back of business cards even if no one was bright enough to figure out who she was in reality.

This is a woman who has been leading a double life. She was always Jaycee at some level, but at another she became Alyssa. Stockholm Syndrome suggests that she bonded with the Garridos and was able to see the good in them at some level. It is even possible that she factors into Phillip Garrido's "miracle healing." The reports from family indicate that she's adjusted to her reality, but can we even begin to guess what "reality" means to Jaycee/Alyssa? It's completely unfathomable.

One guess I have, based upon my own experience, is that she will find her own discernment more and more surreal as her freedom increases. Because she was able to hook into happy moments within captivity, the happy moments she experiences in freedom will be jarring, almost too much. It causes a lot of grief because only when one experiences the peace and contentment of freedom does one realize that one has been living without it for a very long time. The lack of fear, anger, and sadness feels unfamiliar and actually bizarre, like an emptiness one wants to fill up with doing and business creating a sort of echo of fear that repeats and repeats until one can finally be still.

There are likely to even be moments when she'll wish to go back to the familiar sheds and tents that were her home. Think about the fact that her daughters will now have access to a larger family, and world and they are her primary relationships. I hear she's beautiful and that will bring attention that she's perhaps longed for and also that will be strange and out of context.

Nothing will be so clean and clear for her new found family as it was when she was gone. Now they will constantly feel that they should have done more, that there were stones left unturned even if they turned over every stone they saw. They will have to let go and realize that Jaycee's progress and evolution somehow were served, and that is a very difficult task. It will take their lifetime I would think.

I think Jaycee's wiley-ness is amazing. I know she used every bit of herself to survive, and somehow kept her core tucked away. She must never feel guilty for her docility. She's simply done what women have had to do for millennium after millennium in circumstances not so different. The child brides of the Middle East, the slaves of the American south, the concubines of China, and so on, have all had to be beautiful and accommodating to the heinous desires of men and the power structure of her-rums.

I keep seeing these headlines that indicate that Jaycee and her girls are "normal." Maybe we're redefining normal more and more every day. That might not be a bad thing.

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