The book and movie Into the Wild tell the story of Chris McCandless, a young man who dropped out of society, wandered the land, and finally died while living alone in Alaska.
Chris had every apparent advantage. A wealthy upbringing. An intact family. An education at top-notch schools. And yet, one day, he walked away from it all.
What was behind such a turn of events? Why did he turn his back on his life?
Chris (who changed his name to Alex Supertramp) uncovered a dark secret about his family. This changed him forever, and it knocked his life off course.
After finishing high school, Alex went on a road trip where he learned that his dad had been a bigamist. This long-held family secret turned his whole world upside down, and he couldn’t quite recover from the devastating news.
His sense of trust was shattered. He was shaken to the core. He thought all love was suspect, and that closeness just brought pain.
Hence, he set out on a journey. Restless. Broken. Seeking solace. And trying to find peace in the rugged empty wilds.
How This Applies to Us
Discovering those close to us have led a secret life, and have cruelly deceived us, has profound, lasting effects. It tears up our life’s narrative. It fills our heart with pain. It leaves our mind fragmented; our identity in shreds.
A story that made sense, and an unquestioned history, seem like a house of cards. It’s nothing more than a mirage.
The ending of the novel and the movie break your heart. Chris can’t survive alone, and so eventually he starves.
There’s a lesson and a warning here if you’ve been traumatized, or had to deal with secrets that have blown your world apart. It is:
We all need other people when dark secrets are revealed, when trauma overwhelms us, and destabilizes us.
We feel so isolated, and so cut off from the world. We don’t know who to turn to. Who on earth would understand?
But there are those who’ll listen. Who will help us bear the pain. They’ll be there in the darkness, in the long and endless night.
Support makes all the difference. Please don’t carry this alone. Reach out, and share your story. There are people here who care.