Have you ever wondered if you can be born into the wrong life? It is a question I have occasionally asked myself, somewhat seriously, at various junctures in my own life. I suspect it is a question many people wonder about, even if the calling forth of the actual words seem too risky. It is certainly a question the protagonist in my novel No Story to Tell tries very hard not to ask herself.
So, what does it actually mean to be born into the wrong life? I’m sure virtually every teenager would attest most strenuously that they are positive they have been way-laid by a directionally-challenged stork. Most teenagers look at their parents’ oh-so-uncool behavior and sum up rather quickly that they have obviously been adopted and their real parents (who are currently busy fronting some frothing music group) will eventually be back around to pick them up. This is (sort-of) normal adolescence wishful thinking, though, and not really what I’m referring to with my question.
For me, feeling like I may have been born into the wrong life was a bit more subtle. That vague discomfort that settles over you as you look around and watch everyone else leading seemingly contented lives, while you feel a steady pick-pick-pick inside of you. You feel like you should be somewhere else. Doing something different. You walk through your days, but the world around you does not feed you. You are malnourished in some inexplicable way. There is a clear sense that something is missing. And, you cannot help but wonder, if it is possible that you simply do not fit inside the life you were born into.
How many uber-talented dancers, artists, musicians, mathematicians, etc., have languished inside of their brilliance for the simple reason that they were born into an unsupportive environment? How many flames have burnt out in the solitary rooms of unproductive lives? And, if they had been born into different circumstances, how brightly could they have shone? I’ve spent a great deal of time researching the patient archives of early insane asylums for my next novel, and I often find the residue there of creative lives snuffed out. Born into the wrong time. Born into the wrong life. Their stories haunt me.
I’m sure there are many different view-points on this, and I’d love to hear back from you regarding yours. For myself, I have come to look at it this way: Perhaps when we are born into a life that is wrong for us, we have merely been given the opportunity to grow into a life that is more fitting. But, truly, I have to admit, it’s a rather tidy hypothesis. And it would have been completely useless to all those whose lives were locked away behind the asylum walls.