I am thinking of my ten-year-old self. I’m afraid to remember her.
I have a photograph of her in a pink frock that has white flowers embroidered on it, a Peter Pan collar and puffed sleeves. She is standing beside a bicycle. The photo is taken in front of a house with blue shutters, a rose garden, an orchard and a back gate that opens into a paddock at the bottom of which is a shallow, fast-running creek.
For the last three days I’ve been listening, when I can, to the testimony of the Cardinal. I have been looking intently into the faces of the survivors present in Rome. I have tied ribbons to a tree at the front of our place in their honour. I have written three posts, commenting on the situation as if I am only an observer.
When I look at the survivors in Rome I see they have done what I did. They have created for themselves a persona which has allowed them to stay alive, and find a way of existing in the world. Those who didn’t find a persona, are dead.
I wonder, as I watch the survivors in Rome, what is the price we’ve had to pay for these personas?
I can’t speak for anyone else. For me, the price has been that I am too afraid to remember my ten-year-old self. She stands at the edge of my vision. She doesn’t clamour, or demand my attention. She simply does not move away.
I hold her at bay. Sometimes she fights my denial and inserts herself into my present in the form of vivid rememberings.
I know she is begging me to let her come back. I know she belongs with me, and I am incomplete without her. I know I am diminished by my banishment of her.
My goal is to one day let her back into my heart where she belongs. To do that, I will first have to become strong enough to bear the anguish she holds.
Don’t ever underestimate broken people…we picked each other up because that is how humanity will go forward. *
*David Ridsdale. Survivor.