A friend and I were shopping at Pacific Place in Seattle, which houses a theatre in its mega-consumerist confines.
A theatre line snaked all the way around the concourse and I asked one of the people what they were waiting for: "Proof," she replied.
A movie newly released and starring Gwyneth Paltrow and Anthony Hopkins (no, I don't want to talk about the stars or even much about the plot), the movie deals with madness, particularly madness transmitted from parent to child.
The genetic nature of mental illness is a topic I can't approach scientifically -- just emotionally.
I don't know whether it is typical to look at one's parents' behavior -- cooly dissected away from one's love for those parents -- and think, "That's crazy." And, "I wonder if I act like that."
I don't know whether other people have done that, but I have.
Both my parents have passed away and therefore are reading this from an elevated view ... I'm sure a painting will soon come crashing off the wall, symptom of displeasure from one or both after they read this ...
but in hindsight, I'm sure I am the product of a depressive and a mild bipolar. Should I be ashamed? Afraid?
I'm neither. At this point in my life, I see their lives as cautionary tales. But then, I'm fortunate. I've read extensively about maladies that may or may not have been passed to me genetically, I've worked with one of the best practitioners of "the talking cure," I live in a time when psychotropic drugs -- admittedly not the panacea one would hope for -- are available to mitigate the worst symptoms of what may or may not have been inherited.
In one blogpost I spoke of "being in the dark room," the quality of being oblivious to one's behavior and its effect on others.
If the foreknowledge and forewarning of genetically transmitted illness can at all be seen as a gift, it is that you have an opportunity to shed scales from your eyes in a way that our parents couldn't dream of.
If you choose, you can use this information to exit the dark room.
Intellectual knowledge of what may be components of your "self," your personality, isn't the gift. The gift is using what you think may have been given -- to gain insight about who you really are.
This is a labyrinthine topic ... with all sorts of implications. There are ways in which knowledge of genetic predisposition can be absolutely devastating. Genetic information can truly be seen as the Tree of Knowledge against which Adam and Eve were warned.
And please understand that I am commenting mildly and in a fairly superficial manner about this.
It's that "may or may not have been" that's the sticking point. Who knows, really, what is your very own -- what does "your very own" mean? -- and what is genetic? And what does it matter, except to ineffectually assign blame for what now seem to be inescapable outcomes?
This is all so ambiguous still, and we may come to see this ambiguity as a golden era. In most cases, knowledge certainly isn't yet at the stage of being "proof." And when the proof is painful, who wants to know for certain?
Today's fragrance: "Truffle accord," hm. Well, there is a rich fermented scent to the first sniff of Une Rose, Edouard Fléchier's creation for Frederic Malle. But that could also be the "wine dregs" stated in the fragrance notes, which also include Turkish rose absolute and geranium. It's a complicated mix deserving the "heady" label. There's a fecundity to this perfume, a fertility. No girliness here. A serious rose scent that demands respect. It's beautiful but requires thought. That's ok. I'd like to be perceived that way.