I’m re-reading The Souls of Her Feet because it’s coming out soon with a new publisher—and I came across this passage:
I cried that night, realizing I would probably never get what I really wanted, ever again. I strengthened myself, thinking of all the people in the world who would never get what they wanted. I wondered how they coped—people who were poor, people who were at war, people who were in natural disasters or other sucky situations—and then I realized I actually did have some control. If I didn’t want anything, then whatever I got would be a nice surprise.
The Stoic philosophers made a huge impression on me when I read them in college, specifically Epictetus, who lived his life as a slave. Slavery (and philosophy) taught him how powerful he was—yes, really! Because he discovered that the only things he could control are the things that we think we can’t control: his opinions, his impulses, his desires, and his aversions.
People say, “that’s just who I am.” But bumper stickers say, “Don’t believe everything you think.” Hmmm.
I thought someone who was living a Cinderella-like life would have plenty of time on her hands to think her own thoughts while doing grunge work for her stepfamily. Especially an educated girl who would rather be reading. Naturally, Stoic philosophy found its way into Ashley’s thoughts. But with that beautiful dress taunting her, it was awfully hard not to want to wear it….