All the things we’re leaving and living

I have been think about this for a while now, but I still don’t know how to start.

One thing I found fascinating in high school was history class. I remember looking at the dates on the timelines and trying to find what events occurred when my grandmother was a little girl, when my parents were teenagers. I remember realizing that they were 23 and 25 when the Berlin wall fell. That they were both alive during the AIDS crisis. That my grandmother hid from the Germans when she was a kid. That my grandfather went to war.

It all felt so far away. So unreal. What was I living through? The closest thing I could think of was 9/11, and I can’t remember it obviously.

Is it possible to be nostalgic of times you didn’t live through?

I found life incredibly boring, and maybe that was very selfish of me since now that I think about it, I wish for the world to be peaceful. But I grew up fed by fairy-tails, pirate stories, historical novels (Odile Weulersse may or may not have contributed to that) and the modern world definitely lacked the spark I was looking for. I will never be able to thank my parents enough for bringing us on trips to the other side of the planet since I was 10, but it had the disastrous effect of leaving me wanting for more adventure.

But as years go by, more events happen, and I start to realize that history is happening. It is unfolding, right in front of our eyes, and our vision is too narrow to see it. But it’s just there: the rise of the Internet, Barack Obama’s election, scientists cloning human stem cells, the Ebola epidemic, the Charlie Hebdo shootings, D. Trump’s election (wish that didn’t happen), the Orlando shooting, the wars in the Middle East, the Harvey Weinstein accusations, the gilets jaunes, the movements for climate, Greta Thunberg, the Hong Kong protests…

2020 also started au quart de tour, with a close call for WW3, the wildfires in Australia, and obviously the Covid-19 pandemic. It was when my parents told me that never, in their entire life, had they seen such a pandemic, with the government shutting down schools and pretty much everything else, that I fully realized I was living history. « So this is what it feels like ». If there is one thing I was not prepared for, it is to be helpless in such a crisis. I always thought that when History would knock on our door, I’d be revolting. Would I have been drafted for the war, I’d probably have been a renegade soldier or in the Resistance (or at least that’s what I like to think, I don’t know). But there is nothing to rebel against now. I mean yes, capitalism and inequalities and shit of course but that’s not the point. You cannot kick a virus in the face. You cannot be angry at it, and the most helpful thing I can do is stay home, which I’m already doing, and studying so I can be a « very knowledgeable scientist who will save the world one day », which I’m more or less doing too.

So here we are, locked up in our homes, trying not to let another plague settle and I am left with my thoughts once more. I didn’t really plan a coherent or meaningful conclusion for this, please forgive me if this ending is to abrupt for your taste. Maybe one day it’ll be different.

 

The Captain self, the Key self

This is what some people call the true self, and it is, they say, compact of all the selves we have it in us to be; commanded and locked up by the Captain self, the Key self, which amalgamates and controls them all.  »

Orlando, Virginia Woolf

Edit: something I wrote in my drafts and that didn’t fit anywhere until I wrote this:

It is weird how different versions of yourself coexist in a single body and how sometimes one will come out of nowhere when you thought they were definitely forgotten.

04.02.2019

My soul aches. In some ways that aren’t as painful as a heartbreak, or grief or sorrow. I think it stings a little and I don’t know why.

 

I wish I was free. Not free like a bird, because birds need to feed, to rest, they die. But free like water, like the wind, like a rainbow, I come and go.

19 19 19 19

Tomorrow, I enter my last « teen » year. Wow. I still have the decorations my parents put up on my bedroom door to celebrate my 18th birthday. As usual, I thought about it, and it was in the shower, so here are my shower-thoughts on turning 19.

I actually feel ready to turn 19. I don’t know whether that is strange or not. As a kid, I’ve always wanted to be older. « I can’t wait to be an adult », I’d say. « I can’t wait to be considered as worthy of being listened to » I think that meant, in a way. But as I aged towards my late teens, a new feeling arose. The fear that I was getting older than all of my childhood heroes. The fear that no magical adventure was going to happen to me anymore, now that I was older. Nothing ever happens to old people, I thought.

But that is not true. I discovered books starring « older » people, adults. I am arriving to an age I’ve always wanted to have. Not under 18 because you’re not an adult according to the law and still depend from your parents, not over 20 because that seemed scary to me at the time.

Finally coming to terms with this is like the last piece of puzzle finally coming into place. I was scared of « normal ». I am still scared of « normal », and that’s not the only thing I am scared of but I am aware of it and this makes it more bearable because I know how to act on it. So tonight, my action on it will be to embrace turning 19, embrace the new adventures that await for me, and make sure to follow my instinct. Because wherever I go, it will be an incredible journey. It is just the beginning.