When I was very young there was me and not much else. I was aware of the noisy mystery of other children, but at a distance. Adults were further still, these abstract forces that limited my world but could not perceive or interact. I was happy and cared for, but existed so deeply within my imagination that it was more a fugue state than a developmental stage. I was ten before I saw other humans as real things worth investing in, and while I adapted quickly, the narcissism of a singular being never quite left me.
As an adolescent I began to understand that the ease and freedom that I possesed was the product of the work, worry, and obligation of the adults who cared for me. I loved them for the sacrifice, but I still couldn’t imagine who they were apart from that. The weight seemed to be the whole of them. I assumed the parts I couldn’t see had been amputated by circumstance. I mourned the life I would have lived in their stead, and it never occurred to ask if they were happy. This feeling stayed with me. Continue reading →