You, silly. It’s you — but from a decade ago. A memory of you reiterated by someone else (who’s always claimed to have his own interpretation of you). The evidence from the past that you weren’t too proud of, to begin with.
Here it is, you! The ghost of you, desperately trying to keep your head above the water, with no parental guidance or a homeland to which you could go back. (Not that you’d want to, though: Those bridges have been burnt, their ashes — buried with your hind legs.)
You, talking yourself out of an encyclopedia of uncertainties and doubts, every morning; wishing to be someone else — anyone but you! — then blackmailing your gods for any type of a new delusion to lap up.
You, clutching onto love — any love, how ever selfish or unworthy — just so that you could feel an occasional liberation from the drudgery of life.
This is exactly why I’ve learned to not stay in close contact with my exes: I rarely enjoy a stroll down the memory lane. Shoot, I don’t even like a drive by through that lane’s neighborhood, while going at ninety miles an hour.
Because I’d rather think of it this way:
“It happened, thank you very much. But I don’t ever want for it to happen — again. I myself — don’t want to happen. I repeat: NEVER again.”
But ‘tis the season; and somehow, despite my good behavior this year, a single message from a former love has managed to slip in — and it appeared on my screen. He has been reading my fiction, he says, and has a few objections to it. And could he, he wonders, tell his story: He wants to contribute. He, as before, has his own interpretation he’d like to share.
And could I, he says, write about something else: Like good memories? Remember those? Because what he remembers of you — is sometimes good. So, he, he says, would like to see you in that light.
“‘You’? ‘You’ who? ‘You’ — me?”
Me don’t have much to brag about, in my past. Me is humbly grateful for her former opportunities, but the opportunities of mine now — are so much better!
And me has fucked-up plenty. (Don’t YOU remember? You — were there.) But then again, isn’t what one’s youth is for: To live and learn? Well. Me — has done plenty of that. And as for the suggested good memories, if it’s up to me (‘cause it is MY fucking fiction, after all!) — me would much rather remember the mistakes, just so that me don’t ever repeat them again.
Normally, in the vacuum of my blissful isolation from my exes, I do sometimes think of me — but now. The current me: The one that has survived. The one with enough intelligence and humility to summon her fuck-ups and to make something out of them (like knowing better than to repeat them).
And so, behold: A better me.
A kinder and more mellow me. The me who knows how to get a grip, when to summon her patience; and also the me who knows how to let go. Me who allows for her time to have its natural flow, who knows how to free fall into the tumbling, passing, speeding minutes of her life with gratitude and ease.
The ME who’s finally proud to be — her: The HER who knows how to live.
Like any woman that I’ve known, in my life, I wonder about aging. What will I look like, after the decline begins? Will I be kind enough to not compete with youth? Will I be loved enough to never fear the loss of tautness of my skin or breasts?
And when occasionally I panic at the discovery of a gray hair or a previously unwitnessed wrinkle, I bicker at my own reflection and I begin to research remedies. Nothing too invasive, but something with a bit more help.
But NEVER — I repeat: no, never! — do I, for a second, wish to be the younger me, again. It happened already — I happened — thank you very much. But I am good with never happening again.
I’d much rather want to be her: The current me. The one who’s loved, respected and adored and who knows how to accept it, for a change. The one who gives her kindness, but only until she starts losing the sight of herself. And then, she’s smart enough to stop.
She who refuses to give up her younger self’s beliefs in the general goodness of people, still; but who is too wise to not give up on those who do not know how to be good to themselves.
She is fantastic, and ME is very proud — to be HER.