A friend I met on Twitter, a young woman named Brieanne Tanner, has had an interesting life. It’s been a crazy and enlightening journey in every sense.
In her first book, PurgeAtory: You Can Purge Your Karma, she tells the story of Liv, a fictional woman whose life experiences are based on Brieanne’s own. Liv’s memoir-like tale starts with a near-tragedy, the suicide attempt of her sullen and rather antisocial golden-child Kurt Cobain-lookalike brother, Reid. Liv, an INFJ–introverted, dark, artistic, and introspective–is the scapegoat in her narcissistic family, ignored by her father and constantly berated by her mother who can’t or won’t appreciate her daughter’s unique qualities.
A turning point arrives at a party at which Liv is given a date-rape drug and the unthinkable happens. Liv grows into adolescence hardened and cynical but still open to new experiences. She’s Gen-X personified–embracing her generation’s ’90s incarnation of who-cares grungy, gothic edginess. She worships the Cure, the Grateful Dead, and Nirvana, wears loose black clothing, and writes dark angsty poetry.
Later, she loses herself (and sometimes finds herself) in music and for awhile, psychedelic drugs–and meets a lot of odd, scary, and unforgettable people along the way. She suffers great losses and seems to have lived the life of an 80 year old even though she is only in her early 30s.
Through a new mentor, Liv finally discovers yoga and begins to write, and finds both of these activities to be cathartic and healing. She begins to contemplate her own karma and the meaning of everything that has previously happened.
I won’t say more about Liv’s story so as not to spoil anything–you just have to read it for yourself. It’s one woman’s spiritual and emotional journey from an abusive childhood to wellness and wholeness. It’s about fulfilling one’s destiny and moving on from the limitations of the past without forgetting their lessons. It’s a story about narcissistic abuse that is so much more than that.
PurgeAtory is not long–just 83 pages and even includes a glossary. It’s a mix of short essays, vignettes, poetry, drawings, and profound and sometimes funny ruminations about loving and living life to the fullest.
I recommend this book to all survivors of narcissistic abuse, and all survivors of just having lived life, which is itself a potentially traumatic experience. You don’t have to be into yoga or Eastern religion or a member of Generation X to appreciate and learn from Brieanne’s message of hope and healing.