“Do you never laugh, Miss Eyre? Don’t trouble yourself to answer – I see you laugh rarely; but you can laugh very merrily: believe me, you are not naturally austere, any more than I am naturally vicious. The Lowood constraint still clings to you somewhat; controlling your features, muffling your voice, and restricting your limbs; and you fear in the presence of a man and a brother – or father, or master, or what you will – to smile too gaily, speak too freely, or move too quickly: but, in time, I think you will learn to be natural with me, as I find it impossible to be conventional with you; and then your looks and movements will have more vivacity and variety than they dare offer now. I see at intervals the glance of a curious sort of bird through the close-set bars of a cage: a vivid, restless, resolute captive is there; were it but free, it would soar cloud-high.” – Mr. Rochester in Chapter XIV of Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë, first published in 1847
Jane Eyre is my very favorite book. I have read it at least ten times in the past eight years, if not more, and I only enjoy it more each time I read it. The storyline is beautiful, the words are breath-taking, and Jane Eyre is respectable. She grew up in extremely undesirable conditions and never felt sorry for herself. When she was offered an easy life with a man who loved her dearly, she made the tough decision to walk away simply because she knew that was the right thing to do. For that, I highly respect her. But Jane was not perfect; it took her almost twenty years to learn to forgive her aunt, by whom she was raised very poorly and treated without love, and it took those twenty years – if not more – for her to learn to open up. Growing up, she held her cards close to her chest and only toward the end of the book did she begin to tell others what she was thinking and feeling.
The quote above is one of my favorites from Jane Eyre. Mr. Rochester, the love of her life, compares Jane to a bird caught in a cage. She may want to tell others her thoughts and let her emotions show, but she is afraid to do so. (No wonder she is afraid! She was tortured by her cousin, John; made fun of by his sisters, Eliza and Georgiana; treated with less respect than the servants by her aunt, Mrs. Reed; and was taught at school (Lowood) that to remain demure, self-effacing, poor, and plain was the way of a respectable woman.) While my life growing up was NOTHING like Jane’s younger years (thank goodness), like Jane, I have always found it difficult to open up to the people around me. For many years now, I have worked on forcing myself to let others know my thoughts, feelings, dreams, and desires, and I believe I have improved. But I still have a life-worth’s learning to go on the subject.
For a long time, I fought against starting this blog. I looked down on people who told everyone in their wake of their troubles and triumphs, and I especially looked down on those who uploaded their personal lives to cyber-space. To me, having a blog posed two possible problems (among others): narcissism and a breach of privacy. But here I am, starting a blog. This blog will not be a place for me to tell you every detail of my life, but it will be a place that I can learn more and more how to open up, a place for me to share thoughts about whatever may be barraging my mind at the time, and a place to channel my love for writing into some form other than my journal (which I keep completely private… If someone read that thing, I would be scared, and I’m sure they would be too!). I hope you all thoroughly enjoy this journey with me and are encouraged through it to open up as well – both with me and with your friends around you.
So, here’s to my blog, to you my readers, and to learning to soar cloud-high.