Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The sins of

When I was young -almost an adult, not a child, not anything more than a tangled mess of hormones and love and madness - I went to visit my family in Indiana. 

Indiana is a place of impossible breathlessness. Silent expanses of corn and soy are broken by the whir of cars and the distant but immutable cries of birds. In Indiana there is such a passion in waiting, in that sweet breaking moment of what if. I never liked it, I thought the place too bitter to taste, chicken and noodles and repressed, smashed down like risen dough, the things you shouldn't say. Until I was eighteen and thought myself old and suddenly, bone-shockingly loved, I felt that Indiana was a place of the end of things. 

That earlier trip, I sat with my family and wondered if the sins of the mother, and the mother, and the mother, would curse us forever with needing. Childhood means submitting perhaps to the ideas, concepts unsure and preformed, that are passed down like cobwebs, china, overeating and restraint. 

We are so much what we are made. How many of us have been told by our parents, this is what my parents did, and aren't you glad I'm different? They are sifted through that need for love and acceptance just as we, perhaps less rigorously and unjustly raised, feel the desperate search for identity and well, just being okay.

It is, I'm finding, very difficult to be an adult, mostly because no one ever tells you when it will start and you find yourself, unbelieving, living. If I talk about the sins of the parents it is only in terms of the sins that I will in turn commit because I just don't know, not yet, that I'm supposed to be perfect, a grown up, filling all the gaps and satisfying all the needs and never making a mistake.  

Parents make mistakes. So do kids. We all blame each other, because that makes it easier to bear.  We'd like to blame the people who came before us, because that is logical and can't be argued and is so often so painfully clear in our minds, those moments in which we were failed.  But it makes me sad, sometimes, to think of that night which I remember so clearly and so dimly - the fog and dismal helplessness, the glowing television, the sharp inherited angles of the people I love - that there was a moment when I understood, at last, that adults carry on the sins of their parents, and that parents aren't perfect, and that deep in me is the soft thrum of terrible anger, flashing fury, and the gentle but unyielding, we all have to grow up, sometime. 

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