Then and Now

Book Discussion

Claire Bidwell Smith's memoir The Rules of Inheritance isn't just about grief. It's also about knowing yourself -- knowing who you were, who you are and who you might become. Sometimes the person we were simply can't fathom the person we have become.

"So even right now, there is a part of me that refuses to believe that I am the woman I have become. Except, every so often I catch a glimpse. I see in a passing glance in the mirror, hear it in an accidental laugh, stifled and throaty, find it in a footstep, an echo in the hallway. Suddenly there are these two parts of me, then and now, staring back at each other, wondering where the other came from." p. 251

Sometimes I walk by a mirror, or a store window, and catch my reflection without knowing who the person is staring back at me. The realization that I am looking at myself can be shocking. How I appear in the world is not always how I appear to myself. I sometimes forget that I'm in my 30s instead of my 20s. Sometimes I think I really like that person's hat before realizing it's mine. Sometimes I catch my reflection and think that I simply do not recognize myself with glasses.

reflection

Credit: Katie Tegtmeyer on Flickr

I often think that the me I was ten years ago would be surprised by the me I am now. Ten years ago I was finishing college and trying to figure out what to do next. At that time if you had told me all that I'd do in ten years I'd have laughed in your face. I'm sure that in ten more years I'll look back and wonder how the current me could have ever expected what would happen in those years. For me, at least, I think that's a good thing. I don't want to know my path.

Would the past you be surprised by the current you?

BlogHer Book Club Host Karen Ballum also blogs at Sassymonkey and Sassymonkey Reads.

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