It's funny - the things which will forever tie a portion of yourself to the past can never be predicted. I spend a lot of my time thinking about the past. I think it's natural when you're a teacher to think back to what life was like when you were in their shoes: taking your exams, uncertain of the future, hating this teacher or that person with a passion that knew no equal. I am fairly certain that I spent my teenage years daydreaming. Dreaming about a life that was far away from my reality -- it was the only way I could keep sane.
I found myself in a bookshop today, looking at the aisles upon aisles of books. I spent a lot of my teenage years in bookshops too -- trying to figure out which books were they books I was supposed to read. I was always drawn to Sylvia Plath, like many a cliché before me I found solace in her anger -- in her Daddy, daddy, you bastard, I'm through. Looking at this book on the shelves transported me back to a time and place when I would read her poems and diaries and feel like she was the only one who knew. It sounds silly and it felt silly thinking about it in that bookshop -- how very deeply attached I was to her words.
I picked this up and began to read it, the familiar words washing over me. I already had a copy of her collected poems but there was something about this copy that I needed. On the train home I read them. It was different this time. I think in my youthful naïveté I glorified her suicide: it made her emotions sharper, somehow. It made the fuzziness and blurriness palatable because a life lived in sharp focus was too much to bear.
On that train back through London, I found comfort in knowing how far I had come from the last time I read her words. The same words had a different effect on me -- they weren't anchoring me to a dead poet, they were anchoring me to a very hurt and sad girl who felt incredibly lonely. I knew that I was going to be okay because I wasn't done growing, evolving, finding answers to things. I felt happy to be older: to be able to look back and forward at the same time. To know how far I had come and how far I still have to go.
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