This month, we’re putting our nostalgia goggles on and taking a walk down memory lane with #PreenPastPresent. Join us as we go through our favorite childhood shows, talk to our teen selves, and go through old photos.
To my mom at 23,
I’m now a year older than you when you gave birth to me. If parenthood isn’t the most reliable measure of maturity, then how can someone like me who’s deathly afraid of having kids reflect on where I am currently at in life? How can I measure my own capacity for love and selfless perseverance when I feel too consumed by constantly being on the brink of emotional and financial bankruptcy? How can I measure up to you?
It’s not that I want to become a replica of you. We’re similar in a number of ways but we’re also vastly different. The things that you want for me are rarely the things that I strive for. But when you say that the thing you wish for the most is my happiness, I want to believe that for myself too. I wish I didn’t feel the need to complicate things at the risk of my own peace.
What was the pressure like to be someone’s role model so young? What was it like to worry about someone’s education when my grandmother didn’t plan for yours? Maybe I would have hated me if I were you. I know that it was a different time then, but I wish I had the sense of sureness that you had for our family’s future—whether or not it was mostly bravado.
I guess at the heart of what I’m saying is this: You were already acting so grown-up at an age where I was still chasing my childish fantasies. You’re looking into mortgage plans while I’m trying to search for plush doll and photo card prices. While I do help pay a lot of our bills, I don’t put my money on anything past the now. I wish that there was a near future I’d want enough to work towards.
Stability with a mix of contentment and drive. It was what you became at a younger age than me. I’m trying to figure out how to build that right now. Thank you for showing me what it means to be a fully formed person. I hope we both heal from our separate traumas brought by the lives we were born into.
A weathered version of your child Amrie
Art by Pammy Orlina
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