August 20, 2016

Page 161

I believed that I would never have lived in such a place when my life was my own; and although it is in the purpose of such places to ensure that it is not, to remove your life from your control and hence prevent it from becoming a public danger, I had to claim my share of responsibility in the matter of relinquishing London and the exitesnce to which over the years my unfettered desire had given shape. I could not tell you how great this share was: I never had time or opportunity to quantify it. ALl I know is that it began to grown me after I had a child: a second gestation, of dissatisfaction, sometimes of actual distress. A feeling of dispossession and rootlessness took hold of me, thrived in me, putative but vigorous, and it was only once I had ceased to house it and actually brought it to life that I saw it was merely a phantom, a construction. I had given, it seemed, concrete expression o my grief at the fact that I could no longer live the life that I had been living. I had moved away because I thought I no longer belonged where I was.

No sooner had I dont it than I found myself remarkably restored. Everything that motherhood had seemed to put at an unbreathable remove now was obstructed by mere geography. The loneliness of hours spent with a baby at home merged with that of moving to a new, friendless and uncongenial place. What was staid and humdrum and restarting and depriving about motherhood found its incarnation in our surroundings. My life shed its burden, passed it on. Imagine, I found myself saying to my partner one day, how much easier it would be looking after children if you weren't stuck in this boring hole, if you had all your friends around and places to go in the evening and things to do at the weekend. You mean in London, he said. 

- A Life's Work by Rachel Cusk

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