This is our truth, tell us yours
There is a problem of Greek philosophy where they ask; if every part of a trireme is replaced over seven years, is it the same ship at the end as at the beginning? I cannot remember who it was, possibly Zeno when he wasnt wondering about rivers and arrows that never moved. It is however a massive question that rather than having one right or wrong answer has a myriad of answers according to your ethical and moral out look on life.
A wise friend reflected today that some of the things I am capable of now I would not have been able to do when they met me. It caused me to pause, and it caused a sharp pain, somewhere between sadness, regret and wistfulness. You would imagine knowing I am so much happier and self-aware is something that only brings happiness, the problem is that it means I also look back, and wonder what if…
Regrets not about what I have done, I firmly believe that when we pass onto whatever the next great adventure is we will regret the things we didn’t do, not the things we did. No, this is a regret that the knowledge and understanding I have now could have avoided so much pain, for myself and others.
Which of course brings me to that ship, and its perpetually replaced parts. Who I am now is not who I was then, the pain is a part of the process that was necessary to bring me to where I am now. I am reminded of the former sex workers who work with the organisations who promote the Swedish Model and want to criminalize sex work. It is as if they hope that by shouting sex work is wrong loud enough their former selves will hear, and make different choices. Dealing with the pain of choices of the past cause in the present means accepting those were the choices our former self made. We can only move on if we understand we did not and could know then what we know now. Its my belief that the puppets of the swerfs have so much anger in them because they are prevented from making that step, that vital acceptance.
As for me, I am caught between knowing things could not be different, and wondering about those other lives, those other me’s, those other paths that may have led very different places. It doesn’t mean I am not happy with my life now, I believe I am incredibly lucky, and very blessed with the people I have around me and place I am at. But that pain remains, the desire to hold my former self and take away the pain.