Wednesday, 25 May 2011

The Design of My Life

Do our lives have a design? Do we sow the seeds when we are twelve years old staring out the window at school? Or bickering brothers and sisters in front of the television? Why do some of us leave and some of us stay put? Why do some cause calamity and pain and seem to ride freely, while others suffer and suffer?

I always knew I would run away. Initially, the cost was great. Massive waves of guilt flooded through me each day, when I was a skinny vegetarian clothes-stealing au pair in Paris who told her poor parents she wasn't coming home.

I was so stubborn. Cropped my hair and wore huge earrings and went to clubs I couldn't afford at night. Caught the first metro home and sunk into bed. Wrote my first forgettable novel in a turret above a sweatshop with the boiler whirring next to me and learned to ignore mice.

Then for a while a man softened all this. And child-bearing and arduous travel made me refocus and begin to travel beyond myself. There was more restlessness, ever more. Again I yearned to slip out of my life.

Now, years on, it seems that there was a design all along. Seeking exile in order to be centred, reproducing in order to release the burden of self, being alone on a higher plane in order to attempt what I hoped I was designed to do.

Long red hair now and no mice. And today I finished a fresh new story.

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