Thursday, July 23, 2009
"We must be our own before we can be another's." --Ralph Waldo Emerson
I thought about my momma when I first came across these words. As strong as she is, her whole life she has always been defined as being somebody's: she was first my grandparents' favourite, light-skinned daughter, at 20 she became my 39-year-old father's devoted housewife, and at 26 my doting momma. She never really had time to be herself. Just herself.
She's never really eaten at a restaurant alone. Nor has she gone to a cinema alone. 'Til now, she's never really lived alone. Her whole life she's had somebody to eat with, cook with, live with, laugh with, travel with...It must have been lonely, though.
I worry about her, and I worry for her. More than anything, I want her to have herself. It breaks my heart to know that she has built her whole life around my da, grandma, and me. My da's gone, my grandma's getting on in her years, and what if something happens to me? I don't want her to lose her world, don't want to see it crumbling down. I want her world to remain standing even if pieces of it shatter. I want her to persevere and not merely endure.
More than anything, I want her to have herself.
We must never permit the voice of humanity within us to be silenced. It is Man's sympathy with all creatures that first makes him a Man.