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Look Up

by Em16


I was supposed to an antidote to the past. I was born to help my parents forget their unhappy childhoods. My happiness would drown out their sorrow. I was like a bottle of white-out, meant only to erase.

I wouldn’t be limited by anything. Not by gender, as my grandmother had been. Not by divorce, as my mother had been. Not by wealth and status, as my father had been. I was supposed to have all the advantages and opportunities they so desperately wanted for their past selves. I would achieve everything they never had, without the hurt and struggle dominating their lives.

I was supposed to be a blank page. But how could I be a blank page, when I had already been drenched with their tears? I was not the angel they hoped for, but a reincarnation of their own demons.

The past, and the pain that comes from the past, is a sickness. It’s an insidious, deadly sickness. It’s stronger than a virus, or a bacteria; it can’t be cured by a vaccine or a dose of antibiotics. It’s a cancer. It grows from you, and stays with you. It has a way of mutating, so just when you think you’ve beaten your past, it comes back, stronger than ever. It follows you, generation to generation, no matter how hard you try to convince yourself it’s gone.

There is no cure. How could there be? The pain is burned into your brain, threaded through all your memories, even swimming through your blood and sinews. It’s there, and it’ll always be there. You’ve built your life around the omnipresent fear, the “never again” that pulses through you like an electrical current. At some point, your trauma ceased to be a part of you and become the entirety of who you are. Even if you don’t recognize it, it’s central to every decision. Behind every motivation.

But a garden doesn’t have to be flawless to be perfect. The grasping stems of weeds don’t diminish the perfect beauty of a rose. It’s only when those weeds begin to drown out the roses, when the sunlight meant for the flowers goes to the intruders- that’s when you start to die.

The past isn’t important. It shouldn’t be. If you spend your whole life crying over your gnarled roots, you’ll never see the strength of all your branches. You’ll never see the way you stretch up to the sky.

So, please, look up. 


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Mon May 25, 2020 10:14 am
sulagna says...



hi Em16,
I found your writing just amazing.
I loved the heading given and yes of course also the starting and ending.

the part you stated was amazing...."I wouldn’t be limited by anything. Not by gender, as my grandmother had been. Not by divorce, as my mother had been. Not by wealth and status, as my father had been. I was supposed to have all the advantages and opportunities they so desperately wanted for their past selves. I would achieve everything they never had, without the hurt and struggle dominating their lives."

So today I dont have much too complain about.
So keep writing!
from Sulagna




Em16 says...


Thank you!



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Mon May 25, 2020 9:28 am
Xerphrox wrote a review...



Hello Em16. How you doing up there? I hope you’re looking up too.

This is really interesting stuff. I muse about history of certain people at times. If I may be open, I think of my father after reading this. My father wanted me to grow up with all the privileges he never had. But a parent isn’t merely a provider, a parent is also a model, a thing that my father had a hard time being. He grew up with a difficult family and it shows until now. Suffice to say, I don’t want to be my father. We always say how we don’t want to be our parents, but the irony is we end up being like them in one way or another. We’re a product borne out of or against our parent’s actions.

This is what I got from your work- the inevitable curse of inheritance. When we’re born in this world, we don’t simply inherit our parent’s genes, we also inherit their problems. We are a vessel in which the pain of our tribe continues to flow on.

I was supposed to be a blank page. But how could I be a blank page, when I had already been drenched with their tears? I was not the angel they hoped for, but a reincarnation of their own demons.


This is the part that supports my deduction of your work. But I was looking for a thing or two about why this is exactly your case. You continued the rest of your work saying how the past is cancer (something I’ll talk about more) and how this cancer isn’t actually bad. But I never really understood why you believe you’re parent’s problems is part of your identity. Why you, as you wrote it, are a blank page drenched in their tears and are a reincarnation of their demons.

Paragraph 4 and 5 throws me off a little as I am no longer sure if you were talking about yourself, the child, or if you were talking about your parents. The way you switched point of view from “I” to “you” makes it feel like you were talking to your parent. Correct me I this isn’t your intention.

Paragraph 4 deals with you making metaphors about past being cancer. I find this a very problematic way of thinking. I respect that this is your art, and if you suppose that what you written is true, then so be it. But I would like to converse with you on this matter. I believe art allows conversation.

I regard the past as integral to our identity. Some would say one’s past doesn’t define a person, but I would like to say otherwise. Every action in our past is the reason why we are who we are. It’s important to acknowledge the past so we could understand ourselves better. I find it problematic for you to regard the past as cancerous. But I would love to know more why you feel this way. That’s just my two cents on this matter.

The ending was a reversal of the downbeat tone that pervaded your work. This style of writing reminded me of how I used to write. I would rant about a thing, then finally being aware of how depressing I was writing, I would redeem the piece with a hopeful final message- like the sun peeking out to a sunrise after a cyclone. I just hope that you believe yourself when you say that. That’s important.

This is a really interesting topic, one I am curious to know how you’d feel about years later when you’re older. Keep writing, okay?




Em16 says...


Thank you so much for the feedback! I do make a bit of a abrupt transition between the specifics in the speaker's life and then general stuff. When I say the past is a cancer my intention isn't to try and say it's always bad- through the comparison with a cancer I'm trying to explain that the past is very hard to get rid of. Maybe that wasn't very clear. I'll try and work on that.



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Mon May 25, 2020 5:59 am
mememimer wrote a review...



Wow, even though there's so much negative that can be made out from this article, you effortlessly gave an optimistic approach to it. Finely written!

I liked the second paragraph. It tells so much about wanting to see our loved ones happy. Even if there's so much restriction in one's life, still the person is willing to give a life, to the loved ones, full of happiness. I also loved the analogy between the past and cancer, how similar they are in terms of the chronic pain they leave behind to the body and mind. A good sense of using a metaphor, especially in the sentence, "when the sunlight meant for the flowers goes to the intruders". I could relate to some of the things too.

You have a good writing style and a clarity of thought. Looking forward to read more of your works. Keep writing!

Best wishes,
I




Em16 says...


Thank you so much for the feedback!




Everyone left so I'm turning this into a writing club. Behave.
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