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Picking Out Bones

I did a podcast! And for a creative recluse like me it was as exposing as it comes.

Like most families, there were things hidden under the floorboards of ours. Stuff we didn’t talk about over toast and cereal. Stuff we didn’t learn about till it was too late. Nobody claimed those things in the dark. They mostly lay down there waiting for excavation. And when we found the tools, my sister and I picked through them and held them up to the light.

It’s a confronting job sifting through the things of your parents. It’s a job they’ll ideally do so that you don’t have to. It’s like piercing through skin and picking out bones.

If you can, picture my sister and I dressed in khaki with head-torches on, sifting through bones in the dark: “This is a rotten one.”

“I recognise this one.”

“This one must be yours.”

Sometimes I picture the dark as our actual bodies. These things are already inside us. When we’re little (if we’re lucky) we can’t always feel them. We can’t hear them clanking about when we jump or dance. But as we grow into adults they start to poke from the skin. We see them. Other people notice them. The brave among us start to extract them – to march them back to our parents, to doctors and therapists. Many of us push them back inside, where there were never meant to be, no room for the rest of our bodies to thrive. We push them deep until they puncture our organs one by one.

Now think of the last aggressive person you met. How many bones, if any, have they excavated? How many bones did their parents excavate before them? I’m guessing not many.

I’m coming to the belief that most negative things in life come down to inherited trauma. It took me listening back to the podcast to fully appreciate that.

We say that children are born pure but I don’t believe that. They’re carrying our stuff in their bodies already. The trick is to excavate yourself before they notice. Pick out the little bones of trauma like a magician pulling cards from behind their ear.

Link to my episode of 'On the Irregular' below.

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