I keep thinking I’ll grow past birthday woes…
…but I never seem to be old enough, or maybe I’ve always been too old, even when this body was new and so much lighter, almost easy to bear. From ages about 13 to 18, I was convinced I was going to die on one of my birthdays, and each one so far disappointed me. By 21, the last “important” one, I pretty much gave up on the hope. I realized that preparing to die was simply how I’d managed to live. It’s no way to live. Unfortunately, also, no way to die.
Transcribing today (my job), I’m recording in type the musings of an old-hippie sort of dude, an author who was recalling an exercise his therapist had him do, visualizing knocking on the door of his much-younger self and having a conversation, seeing what would happen. It was very wholesome, with the younger being very encouraged by the full, normal life ahead of him, and the old man rejuvenated by the company of his newer self.
Couldn’t really have come at a worse time for me, close to a birthday, when I’m already having a bad day, because I’ve done this sort of exercise. I’ve tried imagining my younger self, that crazy, grinning little girl who had no idea of the sadness waiting for her, the pre-teen who would replace her and begin what would be decades of wishing for death. I imagine stalking this fey little creature to my old secret place in the big yard of my childhood, where I would whisper to the daffodils each spring.
I don’t think I’d say a thing. I wouldn’t wait for her to turn around. I would grab her around the throat and choke the life out of her, smiling to feel her fade as I myself disappear. If I speak, it would be to promise that it’s the best thing, that I’m saving her, us, from years and years of misery and dysfunctional family and physical pain and being so unlike everyone around us that that physically hurts too.
I’ve spoken here before of Maat’s scale of judgment after death, the weighing of the heart against a feather. I would ask instead to weigh my heart against that dead little girl’s, and offer the difference between them as my explanation and my plea. I like to think my gods would understand.