Dear Miss Emily,

I'm a 21-year-old woman who is intelligent, beautiful and miserable. Basically, my pride is shot. Home from college, I went out with the girls a couple of Friday nights ago. My parents were out for the evening, so I came home to a supposedly empty house but I walked in on a couple of burglars and, when they left, I was thoroughly bound and gagged, hogtied on the kitchen floor. No way could I get loose and I had to lie there for several hours until my parents came home. Unfortunately, they came home with three neighbor couples and all saw me tied up in an utterly helpless heap. I should be thankful I wasn't hurt but having family and friends see me trussed up like a salami was humiliating beyond belief. I've always been a very competent person.  Had I been able to free myself I'd probably be bragging but, instead, I feel like a chump. I'm depressed, embarrassed, discouraged. How do I regain my sense of self worth? My dignity?  I don't want to feel forever...
Bound and Gagged

-----------------Miss Emily’s advice---------------

Dear Bound:

Believe me, it would not have been better had they snuffed you out.  And I might add, many thieves do this in order to leave no witnesses.  False pride is just that,  false.  It can ruin a person's life, and he/she is the last person to figure it out. This is the central plot-line of all Greek tragedies.  When I get miffed that things happen to me that I cannot control, I do the old “It could be worse.  I could be rummaging through the soil for bits of grain in civil war-torn Africa, to sustain my life. I know, the “be grateful for what I have” mantra, which is supposed to appease our savage souls in the worst of times, doesn’t help much when brains,  and beauty are compromised.  But you really need to put it in perspective. This is your reality, and I’m not trying to make fun of it, but these people could have killed you and you got off easy – not to mention how happy your parents must be that their daughter is still alive so that she can live another day with  her genetic gifts.  My humble opinion?  Grace in the face of tragedy has greater value than all you have said in your letter.  I am sure that your parents and their friends saw nothing less than a brave woman, and only you see that your vanity was marred by this unfortunate occasion.  Personally, not even knowing you, I’m glad you are still with us.