Beginnings

I abandoned my writing for a time, but here I am again.

It’s difficult to find where to begin, though.

I promised myself that I would write today, and so here I am: sitting at the computer, ready to tear open a vein and bleed (someone said that—who was it?). But I have no idea where to start.

Of course, they say that the simplest place to begin is the beginning. But who are “they” anyway, to determine the beginning of something? For (as the wise Semisonic once told us) every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end. So what is the beginning? Is it the day I was born, small and squalling and dark haired? Or was it earlier, the day my parents met? Or still earlier, in the days when my parents were children—my mother a child with 4 younger sisters living in rural Alabama and my father a child living in small-town Mississippi with his 4 siblings? Or is it later, far later, when my own child is born? Does it even begin with birth? How could it begin with birth, how could it begin with a person who so obviously came from someone else?

And so it’s utterly bemusing, this business of finding the beginning. Perhaps some of that is due to the complicated web that is the small town in Mississippi where I grew up. The secrets and silences that build, that I already feel weighing on me, denying my ability to write some of the words the way that they could be written, the way they probably should be written. I’m currently watching Sharp Objects on Sundays with my husband; sometimes I white-knuckle my way through moments when Adora (absolutely brilliantly portrayed by Patricia Clarkson) and Camille interact, when Adora infantilizes and trivializes. It’s my family, my town, writ large. Nevermind that I obviously, too identify with Camille (also brilliantly acted by Amy Adams), the stifling presence of a life where everyone knows everything. Of course I don’t have quite the level of trauma present–I escaped many of the dangers of a small town by making myself small, allowing the suffocating rules of my parents to control me rather than rebelling (oh, the rebelling would come, but only later; for now there was fear, fear of teenage pregnancy of addiction of death of hell of rape of assault of every single thing that could be feared as a Christian girlchild with a fundamentalist family).

So I don’t know where it began or when it began or even how it began. I don’t know how I begin.

And yet I do.

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