When I was in college, my friends loved my parents, thought them so supportive. I, on the other hand, felt like they were always in me, offering their uninvited opinions, that I was constantly navigating my desire to be my own person, to discover who I was, free of their comments, free of needing their acceptance. They represented the social norms. I was harboring an inner queer boy needing a place to revel in.
On the drive home from helping empty out my mother's apartment, in the bleak woods of western Pennsylvania along I-80, I had a glimpse that my parents, now both deceased, were newly a font of truly unconditional love. What a relief. What a blessing!
It is also true that each of them, in their final days, said things that were outside the push-pull of parents and children. My father told me that my work in the world was important. My mother told me how wonderful my latest zine was. Each from their perspective, an elder seeing me whole.
The parental voices in my head, that have haunted me since childhood, are transformed. They are now angelic, harps at a distance, not harpies attacking me, eating my liver. Like the woods along the road, they are the passing scenery, the non-specific mummer of a river, the stream of life. Mixed metaphors are about right.
The future awaits.
|Larry Wolf, Love (1992, linoleum block print on Valentine card)|