I’m unpacking my stuff in the new house and of course this means a lot of getting distracted by rummaging curiously through boxes that have been schlepped from house to house, bedroom to office to cupboard to shed to storage to bedroom, and rarely if ever looked into or delved through. I have a truly unbelievable number of boxes like that. If they were (as some are turning out to be) august and stately collections of old bills and receipts from 2003, they are going OUT. Hooray!
But some of them turn out to be masses, leaves and leave, stacks and stapled bunches of archives. Childhood drawings. Notebooks. Sketchbooks. Lists. Dreams. Stories. Poems I wrote in secret at 14. Rubbish I wrote to show people at 15. Copied-out bits of other people’s writing. Letters. Postcards. Oh my god. Just every kind of bit of detritus and precious papery memory a person could possibly find. It’s absolutely wonderful, in a terrifying kind of way.
I might keep finding bits, and out of sheer bemusement, posting them up here. Why not? But for now, this is a Credo I found this morning, written in my best handwriting (and framed with careful pink-highlighter lines), dated April 1986 (so I had just turned 14). It says:
THAT all people are equal and different and important: and the importance is that they are equal and different.
No one is inferior in any way: we are all perfect in our own ways; we are all perfect at being ourselves. Some people just:
i. haven’t or dont know how or are scared to reach themselves
ii. sometimes hurt other people and things because of this
iii. sometimes can’t cope with their problems or don’t know how to so they get their frustrations out in different, often violent ways.
iv. sometimes don’t realise the harm they are doing to themselves and/or others.
THAT all people should be happy and peaceful and should all strive to achieve this state and then maintain it for themselves and other people and things. And that people should never inflict harm or a threat to another’s achievement of this state or the stage of development relating to this state.
People should have as much privacy as they require or want but they should be willing to talk about and seek help for their problems, and they should be happy to accept their faults and weaknesses and try to improve them without shame.
People should never be ashamed of themselves unless they have in some way hurt some one but if they have so wish they should be free to change and improve themselves physically and emotionally.
People should accept everyone else as they are and never make fun of them in any way or try to change them unless it is for the better as that person sees fit.
And a main aim of life should be to understand yourself and everyone else, their views and the reasons for their behaviour.
THAT everyone should accept death, risks and misfortune as an inevitable part of life but they should attempt to convert the triumph over these problems into not a keeping-back of disaster but as a step forward to total happiness. Violence and discontent should be expelled from a person’s body or mind in an effective way that does not in any way jeopardise another person’s happiness.”
It’s a wonder that with such a grasp of language at 14 I didn’t go into the public service writing meaningly formal crap; but you have to admit, my idealism was pretty adorable.