Marissa Lingen (mrissa) wrote,
Marissa Lingen

Making sense of past selves

ksumnersmith and porphyrin can tell you that when I was sick at World Fantasy Con, I was periodically giggling like a maniac about a Sesame Street I haven't seen in at least two decades. It's the bit where Ernie is eating cookies in his bed, and Bert tells him not to, so..."Ernie! What are you doing?" "I'm eating cookies in your bed, Bert!"

This was not due to my fever. It came up because I was eating crackers in the hotel's bed, Bert, but I find it funny even at 98.6 F or slightly lower. I found it funny when I was 3 or 4, and I find it funny now.

The other day, dichroic pointed out that some people might see it as a put-down to point out that something was their favorite poem when they were 7. (This entry here, with Edna St. Vincent Millay's "Recuerdo." Good poem, go read.) And that just seemed like such a horrible thing to me, to use your own affection for something as a weapon against someone else, or to act like your past self was a worthless self.

"Recuerdo" is not my favorite poem now because I know a lot more poems (and thus don't have one favorite), but I still love the things I loved about it then: the rhythm, the characterization, the worldbuilding. The dripping sun.

There are things I used to love and do not now love, but I respect what I felt for them then, and why. I still make sense to myself in retrospect -- I know what I was thinking, even if I have reasons not to think it now. I think this may be part of why I get along with a lot of the kids I meet: I assume that they're sensible people whose opinions matter, and that that isn't inconsistent with being people whose opinions may well change radically in the next two months, say nothing of two decades. The things they love now matter now, and will matter to the people they become. I expect to keep going from here. I do not always expect, for example, to be on a Dorothy Dunnett kick, or to like the looks of my current favorite shirt on my body. I might always, but I don't expect it, and that's okay. We appreciate what we can when we can. Adults don't have to prove their distance from childhood. If anything, our proximity to it is probably more worth attending to.

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