Clean Slate*

I’ve always thought that, if I could, I’d give up everything and start over. New city, new country, new life. Given all the knowledge I’ve acquired about myself, I would, in the future, make all the right choices, meet all the right people, and say all the right things to those new friends.

I’d never have a misguided haircut or make a purchase for my fantasy life, as I’d have all the knowledge I needed to avoid such youthful mistakes. Nor would I forget my reusable mug, have a wardrobe malfunction, or wear stupid shoes that make my feet bleed. Those actions belong to a girl who is still learning, and I am so past that stage.

The problem with this polarised view of the self (past me = bad, present me = good) is that it makes me rootless: far too quick to deny that I have any past at all. I am also less forgiving of my mistakes in the present, because I should have known better by now.

To say that I am a perfectionist would be an understatement. I’ve considered plucking people out of my life because I don’t like who I was when I was last around them. All reunions remain unattended for this reason. There were some people I didn’t like back when we met regularly, but the problem is more that I didn’t like myself.

And so I have a desire to disassociate myself from the person who grew into me. She wasn’t perfect, and so I feel disdain for her. I’m even considering changing my name so her actions can belong to someone else entirely. The more I think about it, the more I wonder at my decision to start a blog. All my past thoughts will be visible in the future, should anyone go back and read them.

But that is off-topic. Because I am about to start a new life. New city, new country, etc. My husband, our pets and most of our furniture will soon be packed up for transport across the Atlantic. Currently, we live in the UK and will soon be moving to the US midwest. All being well, we will celebrate Samhain in our new home. Suitcases have taken up residence in our second bedroom and transport has been booked. Very few people know us. It’s strange, and also preoccupying. ‘Who will I be?‘ is the recurring question. I expect that the answer is simpler than I want it to be.

I will be me, of course. Some things never change.

*For some reason, the word slate always makes me think of Anne Shirley smashing her slate over Gilbert Blythe’s head. It literally has no other connotation.

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