I had a look at my degree structure online which turned out to be a really good idea as it has spared whichever poor sod would have had to register me tomorrow a lot of grief. My program has one major in computer science, but of course I’ll have to find something else to do as well in order to qualify for graduation. It took two hours to find something that was A) not another mathy course because as wonderful as it is there’s more to life than that dammit, B) didn’t clash with the already prescribed courses and C) I hadn’t done before. If I’d known I’d be coming back, I wouldn’t have wandered off into quite so much history, philosophy, psych, Xhosa in the company of marvelous people like L and K and A. Ok come to think of it maybe I would >:>
I wonder if I’ll find people like that this time around. The kind of people like L who would sit in biochem lectures with a book of Blake’s poems open on her lap pointing out passages to me and giggling at the glared disapproval of the purists. People like A who would run around the Squishy Science buildings with me trying to recruit our fellows into the ethics courses because, “ohmigodyouHAVEtotakeethicsit’llbroadenyourmind .. -andanywayhowcouldyoupossiblynotworshipthatmanhe’samazingamazingamazing!” hahaha! People like K who was humanities through and through, but loved stats and was horrified that psych students had to do a sort of “stats lite” because no-one trusted them to have enough ability/interest to cope with an actual science course. Her ears used to go pink with fury, it was wonderful!
So I was lying in bed last night, slowly falling into sleep, drifting aimlessly through all those gorgeous memories and semi-wondering about the supposed boundaries between science and humanities when I was struck across the back of the head with a sudden realisation, sat bolt upright in bed and declared loudly into the night “Oh my GOD, I’m half my father and half my mother!” The air my poor boyfriend had sucked into his lungs in fright was suddenly expelled in a guffaw. And it was because he understood.
To understand this seemingly banal comment you’d have to know firstly that my father was a programmer and my mother was a classics scholar, and secondly here I am about to launch into a degree in computer science and mythology :D I’d eventually stumbled across them at the point where I was frustratedly browsing through all things English and discovering that every course clashed. And it’s perfect. What else could possibly make sense? Computer game design (which is the stream I’m doing) draws heavily on myth, fantasy, fairytale. It’s a match made in heaven for somebody with my end goal in mind.
There’s a third thing in there too that you’d have to understand. After my mother died, but before my father did, her memory was buried. It was taboo to mention her. So everything I was, or was perceived to be, was related to my father. You’re an intellectual, like your father. You’re a bookworm, like your father. You will go into the sciences. Like. Your. Father. Oddly it was never specifically suggested to me that I follow a career in computers despite my mathematical and logical abilities and my introverted nature. It probably would have been had I been born a boy.
After he died, people began to talk about her again. You’re the spitting image of your mother (which is true). You’re an intellectual, like your mother. You’re a bookworm. Like. Your. Mother. The same stuff, but somehow a different colour. Suddenly, I was my mother’s child, not my father’s. And my father’s child became one of my brothers, which was very weird considering they’d absolutely hated each other while he was alive. I’ve since realised it’s because I look like her and he looks like him and people are trying to fill in the gaps left by two very tragic deaths.
But there is so much they ignore. He has her colouring too, and I have his sense of humour. He wants a family like she did, and I share the same hobbies as him. He is more extraverted like she was, and I’m an introvert who is drained by too much company like him. We are each a mixture of both our parents and neither heritage can be denied.
And even there there are problems. My mother studied the ancients, but all the years that I knew him my father read books on Roman history, Greek philosophers and Persian prowess in his spare time. My father was the logician who learnt to program, but he admitted that my mother was far smarter and more logical than he.
You cannot divide people up into tidy little opposites.
For the first time in my life, I feel I can see both my parents in me at the same time, and neither overshadows the other, nor can anyone say I’m more one than the other, because they were never that different to begin with. No matter what anyone has tried to project onto me, I have always been who I am. It was just this specific combination that made me see that. I feel, for a fleeting moment, for it is always fleeting, complete.