Digging out the ivy

The past has left us, so we can leave it too.

Justyna Cyrankiewicz
Human Parts
Published in
8 min readDec 11, 2023

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I was told by my writing mentor to write about my earliest memory, and so here, I hope, it is. It’s not without hesitation that I approach this task. I’m not a fan of the past. I used to be, but then I learned what I had to learn, and it left me no choice.

Before, I’d dive backward deeply and frequently. I had replayed these extinct moments until I was sure I had memorised every tiny aspect of them. I used to take pride in how much I could remember. This commitment to the past, which demanded the sacrifice of the present, had me lost. I think that is why, perhaps, I’m done with it. The pride is gone now, and alongside it, the past, as it should, has left me, too.

My Grandma (we say Babcia in Polish) is a master of her past. She can pick any moment from those already lived and describe it to me in thorough detail, including the hours, dates, weather, and all the errands and commitments that were due, interwoven with worn-out thoughts and reflections.

She often invites me into her house of memory, which appears to me as a blue, wooden cottage, just like the ones you can still find in the Polish countryside. It homes a warm, densely furnished and generously decorated, incessantly welcoming space. One accesses it by climbing a few uneven steps made of stones and…

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Justyna Cyrankiewicz
Human Parts

I write about simple things for complicated minds. Receive Free Weekly Letters from me: https://stackingstones.substack.com/