I remember when I was very young, I had a fantasy that I was actually a changeling. I imagined what my actual mother and father might look like, that they would look a lot more like the couples in my school textbooks (mother with a big thick updo, father with a moustache). It was probably a common childishness, and I suppose I was looking for an answer to why I felt so different from the people who gave birth to me.
Years later, I sat with my best friend after someone’s sweet sixteen, looking at the wedding decorations in front of the hall. I remember saying, I cant imagine ever getting married to anyone, or having kids. She gasped, how do you know that, you’re only seventeen!
It seemed like such an impossibility to experience one-ness with another individual. I imagine, again, it’s a common adolescent sickness.
You know, it’s the way someone talks about how broken their government is, and how good the welfare is in Scandinavia, or how much better people/the air/the bread/the life is in a place far far away.
For me, it was the way I spent the first 3 decades of my life migrating to countries that made me feel more safe and free as a person.
I have had the wonderful luck of meeting incredible people and incredible friends in my life. But whenever I have found myself in that beautiful difficult terrible constellation like a family, I find myself again in terror, in anger, in self-protection, fantasizing about running away in the dead of night.
There is a seat at the table for me, and an empty plate ready to be filled. They are all looking at me, waiting for me to sit down. But the chair is so big and I am so small. I need to grow to fill that space, and so I search on.
I thought it was my body that was in exile, when in fact it is my soul that is still wandering, in transit, looking out some airplane window. And so now I pray, for my naughty little spirit to stop running away.
Gothenburg, 24 March 2022.
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