For the past two months I have been chipping away at a sculpture in an attempt to show with it humanity. I was unsatisfied with how the media tends to only nurture the stories of the rich and famous, and thought that by profiling everyday people in my life, I could show the grit of the ‘ordinary’. Did I succeed? No I did not… the people I interviewed did.
Whether it be Maxine and the revelation she came to with her first child, Saskia and the songs she conjures from torture, or Emma and her experience at an eating disorder clinic… they were the ones that shared with the world their narratives, and in doing so, got people to consider the kind of narratives they consume.
Those I interviewed are inextricably tied to my existence and therefore, in some abstract way, I’ve been painting a picture of myself. Now it’s time to unveil it. Who is Thorne? Perhaps if I answer some of the questions from previous interviews, the answer will emerge.
“How do you want people to remember you after you die?”
As somebody who was once alive, in all senses of the word ‘alive’. I want to be remembered as passionate, turbulent and dauntless. I want the people I love to know that I loved them, and I want my legacy to be one of literature. All that being said, I wouldn’t mind dying with my name. As long as I am alive, I define my existence, but when I am dead? Anyone can.
“What is one experience that has changed you for evermore?”
My dad’s suicide. I don’t think that answer will ever change. When a parent stops breathing, not because it was nature’s will, but because it was a will of their own, all that you know, and all that you will ever know, is bound to them. I could travel the entire world, start a family, publish books and become a teacher, but within all of that, is him. What would Dad think? Where would he be right now if he was still alive? Is he proud of me? Will I ever see him again? I know in my heart of hearts that these questions cannot be answered, but until I die, I will never stop asking.
I could keep regurgitating questions from my interviews, but apart from the two I just answered, I don’t think they have much relevance to me. Why? To put it simply, they weren’t written for me. They were tailored to each person I interviewed, based on their way of being, not my own. So what now? I’m just going to continue writing and see what happens.
When someone asks who you are, I think it’s very easy to recite all that has happened to you, in an attempt to convey your personhood. Yes I had a rough childhood, yes I once had an eating disorder, yes my dad killed himself, and yes, to a certain extent, my experiences determine who I am. However, your humanity, the very thing that underpins your existence, transcends all that you know… and because it does, it can never truly be described. So perhaps I was a fool to think that I, a wannabe writer, could depict it. Then again, all writers are fools. We think we have the power to write realities, but the readers are the ones who take our words, and make with them what they wish. Nevertheless, like all writers, I will persist.
To see humanity, you need to see the person, and to see the person, you need to open your eyes. I am Ashlee, I am Emma, I am Maxine, I am everyone I interviewed, I am my favourite television show ‘Please Like Me‘, I am the advice I give to my friends, I am the photographs I take with my phone, I am my Dad’s sunglasses that I keep to this day, I am the hill I run up and down to calm myself, I am the giant dream catcher that hangs above my bed, and I am these words that sit on your tongue. Who are you?