In the last year, I’ve learnt:
That childhood is simply gone. All that remains are jasmine scented memories, soft and blurred around the edges like the yellowed pages of a well read book. I will never be as innocent, as naive, as foolish, as vulnerable, and as big hearted. Sometimes I’ll be walking home, and I’ll catch a whiff of something that’ll remind me of the century old trees I grew up with. I’ll remember the nights when the living room windows were frosted over and my old electric heater did its best to warm my toes. These memories will slam into you and often they will make your heart skip a beat, but that’s all they are. Recollections. Images. Sounds.
That there is not one great love in anyone’s life. There are many times you can fall in love, ride the crests and beat the storms, but it continues. The kind of love is different, every time. There may be a boy who inspires you to be better, and once that happens, you may leave. There may be a girl who you adore from the delicate nape of her neck to her pink painted toes. And those may be the only things you love about her. Love is love. Move with it, and never settle. If it’s meant to be, it will. Like all things in life.
That maroon lipstick can at once be prim and exciting. Firetruck red will attract and repulse simultaneously. A deep crimson can be promising, but more sensual than you prefer. Whatever your shade of lipstick, know that it does not define you. A woman may be called by so many names: sister, mother, wife, girlfriend, daughter, virgin, whore, tomboy, lesbian, drama queen, princess. A person can be many different things at once. But you must always be able to recognize yourself.
That people are people are people. I am at times an introvert, and other times cannot sit still without spouting three conversations all at once. You will want to attach yourself to someone. Don’t. It is safe to depend, I understand. We’re built that way. For the first 18 years of our lives, we depend and receive and rely. But it is time to stop. Be self reliant, but don’t harden. Give of yourself freely, but take only that which will make you stronger.
That we are complex and infinitely changing. I was wondering why people cheat. The story of the wife who one day feels a pain in her stomach as though she has been gutted. She knows. Then the evidence: lipstick on the collar, the inevitable guilt, paranoia and mistrust. Or the other way around. You might cheat one day, and so might I. But we are complex and this cannot define us. At any given time, someone feels a range of emotion that no therapist, tv show or medication can fully recognize or label. Give some leeway, to others and to yourself.
That my books have carried me through the most trying times even now, when I don’t manage to find the time for them. Growing up, you gather resources: money, effort, experience. But you lose time. And that I think, is the very tragedy of human life. If only I had more time. I would spend days locked up in my pillow fortress and read till my mind protested. I would spend time with you Harry, running up and down Hogwarts. And I would shake you Anne, for not choosing John over Robert, just because he was a man in uniform. And I would lie down in the kitchen in Wuthering Heights and have a conversation with Heathcliff when he was young and not as savage. Find the time for these people. They have seen you through all the ugliness that mortals would never have.
That I live in a false world, but there is truth in the mud and dirt and grass. Nature does not lie. It is the one thing that stays constant when human hearts fail. And I’ve learnt to take great comfort in knowing that if all else fails, there are mountains standing tall somewhere. And the sky has become my ceiling. A deep purple silken ceiling that expands and breathes and makes me feel safe. Nature is the truth. Jasmine scented nights are the same in every country.
The wind will carry you.