Sometimes it seems like I have had a handful of differents lives, something more similar to a somewhat sparse tassle than a single thread. Does everyone feel that way? I remember pieces of my life that seem like they happened to someone else entirely. I look at photos of younger me and think, “oh, there is that person.” Maybe one day this me will also seem far removed.
I am told that as a young child I once spat on some young ladies in a booth behind me in a restaurant. I was usually very well behaved. I don’t remember it. I was about three years old and my mother forced me to give a very insincere apology. What was I thinking? How had I become not only so incensed, but so bold? It seems like I don’t know that little girl at all anymore. I sort of like her terrible behavior.
But sure, you are thinking. That is childhood. That’s hard to remember and we are not yet fully formed. (Surprise! We never are!) How about a more recent self?
Well, here you go:
Today a friend mentioned to me that I have lost some weight. We had not seen each other in quite some time–we debated on the number of years. I struggled to envision the larger me that she remembered. She fumbled over her words, assuring me that I had not been vastly overweight. I thought, yes, if I had been vastly overweight I would remember that. I remember buying larger pants than I buy now, but I feel totally disconnected from that body which is vague in my mind. The me that wore larger pants. The me that she knows. Did I eat more? Differently? Exercise less? Did my body just take a detour into slenderness? Am I a stranger sitting before her? I was larger. We knew a lot about each other’s lives. Now we don’t. We are quite separate and spending a lunch catching up. I want to say, “Do I seem like someone you know? Am I pulling off the impersonation of myself?” I say, “Huh. How long has it been?”
Maybe it is a sign of growth, or perhaps it signals detachment. Better still, maybe it is resilence. I can adapt. I can persevere. I keep shedding skins to become a different animal. Or should we go back to the thread metaphor? The tassle? Either way, we are talking about fragmentation and change. Either way, something remains a continuous whole.
The world is impossible and strange. I look backward and wonder. I look forward and question.