When I was a very young and small child, I pointed at a picture of my grandpa and said: “I know him, he’s my grandpa. He gave me gum.” My mother was floored. She paraded a queue of old dudes into the room, asking if it was perhaps this other man, or that. It was none of them. My grandpa died before I was born. The memory I have of him is a real memory. I can still recall it to this day.
When I was teaching a second class on ancestral magick, one of my students asked me how I came to be on the path that I’m on. They were surprised that I started deliberately walking this path when I was nine years old, because they remember their own interests at that age and their own interests were quite different.
I’m always surprised by these interactions because I take my own experiences for granted. They’re mine, so there is nothing out of the ordinary about them to me until someone else is looking at them. And I think this can be true for many of us. We have difficulty seeing ourselves and our experiences fully until someone else is holding up a mirror. Or until we look back at ourselves and our own experiences with curious eyes.
I had no idea as a child that my expression of that memory would garner the reaction it did. And at the time I was also unconcerned with the reaction, as very young children usually are. When my mom recounts that story now she still tells it with the same wonder. And I still remember it with the same matter-of-fact carelessness, as if there was nothing unremarkable about what I’d said.
I typically don’t share these kinds of stories about myself with people. Not out of fear or any painful emotion, but because I’m naturally a private person and more of a listener. But I’m thinking, maybe I’ll start sharing more.
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