16 September 2008

I am not my mother

Following personal tragedy, our dear friend Shannon is moving back to the States tomorrow. She will be sorely missed by everyone, no less by me, as she was the first of Bruce’s friends to welcome me over when I arrived in London and has been an integral part of my socialisation here, such as it is. It’s understandable though, and we’ll be keeping in touch (and possibly even holidaying together next year) so I’ll try not to be too sad.

I’ve been in London nearly two years now, and can honestly say that I’m happy with my somewhat reclusive pattern of work and home life; to a degree I would have thought impossible back home. What I once considered a social life I now see as a kind of forced construct, invented to make things seem as though they were moving forward, even though I was in an unhappy relationship, hadn’t been in school for a few years and had no future plans to do anything other than subsist on beer, cigarettes and the internet.

Even without a steady diet of bars and restaurants, movies and festivals, classes and exams, my life today is far more fulfilling than any other time I can point to. I suppose you could call that success, as fulfilment is all anyone can ever aspire to. The rest is just trimmings.

As for those trimmings, I guess that’s TBD. I have no idea what’s in store for me once I finish out the year, aside from the obvious. At Shannon’s leaving do, Mel squealed and shook her head at some of the things I was describing about my body in its relentless march towards motherhood, claiming “I don’t have a maternal bone in my body!” My impulse was to squeal back, “Me neither!” but then I realised that probably wouldn’t go down too well with the group and so didn’t.

This morning, Bruce pointed out a mum and her two kids, arms slung chummily about one another’s shoulders, comfortably waiting for a bus, and I said, “I really hope I have that sort of confidence with my kids,” to which Bruce said, “Uh, me too!” Though what I meant, I guess, is that part of me worries that some latent paradigm of motherhood will somehow interfere with all the hard work I have put into unlearning the defensive behaviour resulting from my own upbringing, to the detriment of whoever I'm bringing into this world. I want to be a real person for my kid – not someone who has to feign love and concern because I’m far too busy tending the wicked, noxious garden of a wild ego.

I am not my mother, but I am certainly elements of her, and I think I will probably always struggle to remain firmly entrenched in the pale, restrictive embrace of reality: where I am at once more and less special than I believe, the events of my life are both more and less determined, and the apparent discontinuity between this stuttering zoetrope of object- and subjectivity can blur steadily as one complete picture inside some unwavering persistence of vision. I just want to find a natural flow, and stay with it somehow.


pk said...

You will be busy tending the wicked, noxious garden of a wild ego.
But it won't be yours! Let me do some text mining on your post for you:

I’m happy and my life is fulfilling, my impulse was to squeal, but I'm not someone who has to feign love and concern because I am not my mother

I will probably always struggle to believe my life is complete

stay with me

Anonymous said...

Text mining! I don't know what that is, but you seem to be very good at it. I have always been much too scared to play around with text once it's been pinned down, which is probably why I would make a terrible editor.

pk said...

just google: 'a humument' for the fount of all text mining.
I am the son of two proof readers and espoused to a senior sub-editor,and now I'm an editor of sorts too, so I suppose it's inherent, or immanent, or I'm just nosy and tactless.....