I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t constantly revising my idea of the past, future and everything in between. The lists I made with various adults concerning career options changed all the time, or only remained similar because I had listed every option I knew. I also liked to “revise” the history of certain events -pertaining to, for example, spilt milk on the carpet, unwanted food wrapped in a napkin and hid in the bathroom’s bin, crayon masterpieces on newly painted walls… As I’ve grown I’ve come to realize how instances of intentional revisions to personal or national histories often go beyond stolen cookies. And I’ve become fascinated by these eternal revisions, which are oftentimes more complicated than straight up ‘lies.’ This is how I became fascinated with postcolonial literature, where authors such as Chinua Achebe write revisions of one-sided, frequently racist, history. This is also one of the reasons I was drawn to the adoptee community. Having heard their stories about being confronted with hidden facts about their lives that then forced them to revise their own narrative, I have now completely revised my ideas about international adoption.
Beyond seeing forms of “revision” all around me, I am continually confronted with it in myself. I struggle to find the seemingly impossible balance between being ‘indecisive, ‘wishy-washy,’ ‘lukewarm,’ ‘wavering,’ ‘unstable,’ etc. and remaining open to what life has to offer. Revision is a part of life. Scientifically, it’s what keeps us alive. Yet, is everything up for revision? Our thoughts about society? About ourselves? Our relationships? The Universe? These days I find myself unconsciously looking for something that won’t be revised or changed in my life. Once upon a time I had something: God. Then my vision of the world and my place in Christianity underwent a drastic change and my identity and several relationships had to follow suit.
Ah, whom can we ever turn to in our need?
Not angels, not humans, and already the knowing animals are aware that we are not really at home in our interpreted world.
Perhaps there remains for us some tree on a hillside, which every day we can take into our vision;
there remains for us yesterday’s street and the loyalty of a habit so much at ease when it stayed with us that it moved in and never left.
Oh and night: there is night, when a wind full of infinite space gnaws at our faces. -Rilke