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Identity and Meaning

This singularity of meaning – I was my face, I was ugliness- though sometimes unbearable, also offered a possible point of escape. It became the launching pad from which to lift off, the one immediately recognizable place to point when asked what was wrong with my life. Everything led to it, everything receded from it – my face as personal vanishing point.

-Lucy Grealy, Autobiography of a Face, p. 7

Lucy Grealy was diagnosed with cancer of the jaw (Ewing’s Sarcoma) when she was 9. The book recounts how her face became her identity.

She leaves me wondering what my own source of meaning, and personal vanishing point, is. Her case is perhaps more tragic in a sense that yours or mine. Of course I don’t know your situation. But I can’t help but wonder for us, What is it that we point to as the source of all our problems? What is it that gives us reason to vanish from the world?

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