It is 2016. | A Father's Daughter.
I am in the business of rediscovering myself. I'm fascinated by my inner child. I like that girl. I haven't like me for a very long time. So I'm trying to learn as much as I can about her.
This is me in December, 2016. I am visiting my Grandfather at my Father's old home in Moscow. He arrived here when he started playing for CSKA. This apartment was given to him from the government. That is how things worked in the Soviet Union. You are rewarded for being someone. That was ingrained in me from childhood.
I am holding a picture of myself. I am around 7 or 8 years old. I'm in San Jose, California and if my math serves me right, this would be house # 9. I'm attending Challenger School. This would be school #4. This is the very same school which held me back a year for messing up the "other" name for a rabbit. Not bunny. Hare.
This is the wall in the main room of my Grandfather's apartment. These are some of the medals and awards my Father has won. Please note that I used the word some. There are more. In fact, the most impressive ones are displayed in my Father's office- the first room one encounters when entering my Family Home. Whenever I visit here, I stand and stare. This time is no different. I wonder, how do I come from someone who has done so much? How did he win all of this? What kind of superhuman is this man? And how do I carry his DNA and the Soviet mentality of "being someone", yet I am no one. How could I have failed him?
This is what it looks like to be from a generation where things don't happen if they're not on instagram. He didn't say this, but I will assume that my Grandfather feels that this is a bizarre concept. I too feel this way and I try to refrain from this but since I consider myself a story-teller, I cannot help but document all that is around me.
My Grandmother, his wife, aforementioned in previous posts, is no longer alive but he keeps up with her table-setting traditions. The silverware, the dish ware, the napkins, and the tablecloth. The kinds of food we eat. He is 90 years old and he washed the curtains for my visit. The place is clean as can be.
These are the results of my incessant documentation. There are few things in this world that make me happier than Russian Bread, Russian Butter, and Russian Caviar. All together. All at once.
The phone rings and reveals that my Father is calling. He says it's a total coincidence. We all take turns speaking with him, and I realize that I am amongst the Larionov men.
My favorite part of my visits is the time when we can dive into old photographs and newspaper cuttings. My Grandfather is a collector, like me. As I have boxes of memorabilia, so does he. Pictures have notes written on the back of them. Dates. Locations. Descriptions. Details to keep the memories alive. I dive headfirst into time traveling through my relatives lives. I see a younger Grandfather. I see a younger Uncle. I see a younger Father. I watch through a series of photographs as he matures into the man he is today.
I peak over to the wall on my right. It is a constant reminder of who I am not. But in seeing my Father's life story, I am able to understand that our paths do not have to align. I start to release my self-made pressures of BEING somebody. I start to have empathy towards the struggles he must have faced in finding himself. I wonder if the Soviet System was the reason he is so hardened. I feel lucky that I do not have to abide to any particular societal laws. I can choose to be the woman I want to be. I am free. And through that thought process comes a moment of healing. I let go of the expectations which weigh heavily on me. I am a separate being. I don't have to be anybody except for me.