Saturday, March 28, 2009

The Way My Mother Was When She was Young...

I stumbled upon the below passage which I found at I was about to stop reading it after a few sentences but for some reason kept going. Maybe its just me but I think it's brilliant.

"I didn’t know what I wanted from life, but I often thought that I did. I wanted to read books all day. I wanted to knit a sweater. I wanted to live in the middle of nowhere, just me and the birds and my love. I wanted to fly. I wanted to be a porpoise, or a shark. I wanted to get lost (and be lost) in a city and I got that particular wish. I wanted to be brilliant. I wanted to be a published author—I still want this. I wanted to be an artist, and still do, but it’s unclear for the moment what I might make (what mightn’t I make?). I wanted to teach. I wanted to take photographs and give them too. I wanted to have babies. I wanted to die young. I wanted to be buried in the sweater that I wanted to knit.

I wanted to live in Japan, solve land use quandaries by day and walk home down quiet streets to my cubbyhole apartment by night. I wanted to ride my bike all over the city (which city? Any one will do.). I wanted this print and that one and that drawing I saw the other day to hang on my wall and remind me of what I could be doing but am not (are my reasons good? When will I know?). I wanted a cat. I wanted to make a quilt, and my own clothes, and a kitchen table. I wanted to be a girl with a clean apartment. I wanted to work in television. I wanted to be on Oprah, and Martha Stewart, and The Daily Show, before such a thing ever existed. I wanted to be famous, and look warily into the camera. I wanted to be a pretty, pretty princess. I wanted a magic carpet and a monkey and a dark and dangerous past.

I wanted to be black. I wanted to be petite. I wanted to be a boy. I wanted to be thinner than I am, and fast, and able to leap tall buildings at a single bound. I wanted to be the best 400 runner Maryland has ever seen. I wanted to hurdle. I wanted to do a lot of drugs. I wanted to live in San Francisco in the 60s, before that wave ever broke and rolled back. I wanted one night stands and terrible dates and to sleep with girls. I wanted to believe I was gay, and then I wanted to believe I wasn’t. I wanted a mimosa. I wanted to know about coffee, and beer, and chocolate. I wanted to like red wine, and not just sangria. I wanted to bake and tattoo B A K E R on the knuckles of my right hand. I wanted the left hand to read C R A F T. I wanted to be someone’s muse. I wanted a muse of my own. I wanted the boys I thought I loved to love me back, or at least to think they did. I wanted the girls I thought I loved to love me back too. I wanted to be a good storyteller.

I wanted to take art class seriously. I wanted to love school, or to think so little of it that I couldn’t muster hatred. I wanted to get married. I wanted a scooter and the lifestyle that goes with it. I wanted to have parties, lots and lots of parties. I wanted to be pretty, then I wanted to be plain, then I wanted to be beautiful. I wanted to wake up on a beach in Hawaii with my love curled sleeping by my side, a warm breeze off the water and the sun about to come up (is this meteorologically and geographically possible?). I wanted to be efficient and skilled and responsible and organized. I wanted to be a personality with a letter and a type.

I wanted to sing in a band but I would have settled for tambourine. I wanted to climb mountain after mountain. I wanted to be photogenic, to have nice teeth and a warm, natural smile. I wanted to part my hair so it fell alluringly across my cheek. I wanted a better nose. I wanted to be another mystery, to keep men at a distance, to keep them guessing. I wanted to be a child, bored on a Sunday in October. I wanted to farm. I wanted to punch Scarlett O’Hara and tell her, “Your curtain dress is ugly.” I wanted to turn Japanese. I wanted to be so good at ultimate people would describe me as “dangerous.” I wanted to be a landscape architect, then I didn’t. I wanted to do 500 pushups in a night like John Baldwin. I wanted to get along with everyone’s parents. I wanted to hate the people I loved, and that at least kind of worked out. I wanted to be a vegetarian, then a vegan, then an out-and-out carnivore. I wanted to be in therapy, in case it helped me become someone I was not. I wanted to disappear. I wanted to put my finger down my throat and throw up lunch. I wanted red hair.

I wanted a mentor and got several (though their motives were primarily ulterior). I wanted to make people laugh. I wanted to say whatever I thought and have it be ok, and it was, until it wasn’t. I wanted Bill Watterson to go back in time and give the speech at my graduation. I wanted not to cry at graduation, even though Corrie was leaving for Alaska that very minute and I knew I wasn’t going to see her again for a very long time. I wanted to be a good daughter. I wanted to be a good friend. I wanted another cup of coffee and to feel less jittery. I wanted to clear the cobwebs from my head. I wanted dreadlocks. I wanted to feel breezes and leaves on my shaved head. I wanted to stop shaving my legs. I wanted to hide my legs in boots for a winter. I wanted to be better than everyone but settled for just acting like it because the people I knew were too good at whatever it was they did or were. I wanted ex sex and to be remembered fondly. I wanted to lose my virginity to less of a loser. I wanted to feel like less of a loser. I wanted my face to hide my thoughts, not broadcast them.

I wanted to continue to be The Sultry One. I wanted to make mean food, as in, “I make a mean chile con carne.” I wanted to make breakfast for people. I wanted to be allowed in the kitchen. I wanted to be awake and outside before everyone else but the guys coming off of the night shift, to speed through the crisp grey light exulting at my freedom and the newness of the day. I wanted someone to watch over me while I slept, his eyes and heart full of love. I wanted to read comic books. I wanted to go to shows and scream and throw underwear on the stage, or maybe water balloons and sheep, none of which would go over well in any venue I can think of. I wanted to go to Burning Man confident that it would not depress me. I wanted to grow my hair so long I could sit on it. I wanted to be popular, the way my mother was when she was young. I wanted to be like my mother, in so many ways and for so many reasons, but was always disappointed to discover that I was more like my father. I wanted my brother to leave me alone, and I wanted him to like me. I wanted to be the center of attention. I wanted sympathy and admiration. I wanted not to hate myself for wanting things so badly. I wanted to cut in line at the post office.

I wanted mail every day. I wanted a bookshelf the size of Manhattan. I wanted to be loved, like the Muppets. I wanted people to describe me as “laid back,” never mind that it sounded like a euphemism for “high all the time” or “lazy.” I wanted to play in the ball pit without worrying that I was too old or that some other kid had pooped in it. I wanted so badly not to resent my brother for using a battery-operated toothbrush, but couldn’t help myself because that was the year I hated everything he did without hating him. I wanted to Bat Mitzvah-ed. I wanted my feet not to turn black from wearing flip-flops. I wanted to stop wearing shoes for a year in high school and was overjoyed to discover that this was de rigeur in college. I wanted to like college. I wanted to sleep with a grad student and to pick his brains of architectural lore. I wanted to be in the first quintile but was relieved to be in the third. I wanted not to think people are stupid when their English isn’t so good. I wanted paper dolls. I wanted a longer attention span. I wanted jury duty and I wanted to be the eighth juror.

I wanted to experience tragedy until I realized how tragic it actually was. I wanted Greek plays to thrill me (only The Bacchae complied with this wish). I wanted to be an unsung hero. I wanted to be a wolf and have a long and terrible face and howl at the moon. I wanted a helicopter ride. I wanted to have a problem with authority. I wanted to swim across a near-frozen river on the back of a bull reindeer. I wanted to think I invented sarcasm. I wanted to be a gospel choir. I wanted a beautiful yellow dress and a bunch of yellow roses. I wanted to love flowers more than I did. I wanted to maximize my potential. I wanted praise. I wanted people to stop looking at me. I wanted to work hard and breathe easy. I wanted more late nights and early mornings. I wanted to ride rollercoasters and scream for more. I wanted to stalk a whirling dervish. I wanted a Winnebago so I could say the name over and over under my breath like an invocation. I wanted to climb the Big Rock Candy Mountain. I wanted to be a Sioux warrior. I wanted to live abroad. I wanted to learn my limits.

I wanted to embrace strangeness. I wanted stories to tell of my colorful past. I wanted to shoot the sheriff (that bastard). I wanted to wait until I wanted to stop waiting. I wanted to make my own decisions and stand by them. I wanted to do a headstand. I wanted to see the Invisible Cities all around me. I wanted to know the truth. I wanted to focus on the small things but after a while it seemed so… small. I wanted to love my family the way they should be loved. I wanted to take David Byrne to the river and drop him in the water. I wanted to study about that good old way. I wanted to wear the starry crown. I wanted to sing for joy. I wanted to bide my time until my time finally came."

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