Mary Branscombe (marypcb) wrote,
Mary Branscombe

Looking back into my head

Rummaging through some old folders, I found things I don't remember writing and only half remember thinking. The file is dated January 1 1998; when I had a regular job, when I was 30, when my mother was alive, when I was having bouts of morbid dread at night, when I hadn't had the chance to find out just what good friends I have. I might have written it before then. I might have posted it in a discussion group on CIX or I might have just filed it away. It doesn't look very much different inside my head these days, although I might wonder more about paying it forward through people who are chosen rather than blood family.

Here's a thought.
When do we have to stop being children, playing at being grown up? When do we have to grow up and take on the weight of adulthood? When do we have to stop, and grow a family? Take up the responsibilities, play our part, take our place. I’ve always wanted to watch the future arrive: that’s why I write, so I can be always learning, learning the things that make the future, seeing it as it arrives. But I want to be there! I want to be in that future as it arrives, always me, ever me, not ageing and changing and diminishing and dying. I want to be there, arriving into the future as it births tomorrow. How do I get there, how do I stay here?

A child takes a piece of you in the future, they say, you live on in your child. Do you? My grandmother lives on in me, maybe: I never knew her, she never knew me but I have her ways, my mother tells me, or is it that she wants me to have them? Some of her skills and gifts and interests I share: I feel it’s a tribute to her, but she doesn’t know about it, dead and gone, does she? Her memory lives on. Speak Memory! Speak Empathy! Speak Imagination! Speak Experience! Damn, no one there, I’ll have to say it myself. I want to leave something of myself to the world, some value, some benefit, some contribution. Some repayment to those who reared me? And to do that, do I have to stop being a child, take that step of connection, take a place in the chain, in the chaingang, in the cycle, in the circle? Do I have to even have a child?

Or can you be light to life’s end, light without being lightweight, unburdened and yet strong, with mirth and joy and strength and freedom, choosing what matters to you without taking the path that the fear of death darkens, going on without fear of stopping, or without letting that fear stop you? Is that what it means to be eternally childlike, blessed, of millstone weight, heavier than a sparrow in regard? Is it fear and fancy or is it responsible and right; burden or growth, future or furious present? Growing up, growing away? Growing up or giving up? Is it having to give up the last of childhood (freedom/irresponsibility/choice/immaturity/selfishness/opportunity/possibility – perm any combination) or growing into what’s been waiting for me to claim it? What will it be the right thing to have done? What will it be the best thing to have wished for?
Tags: personal

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