Ritual

All men who repeat one line of Shakespeare are William Shakespeare

–Jorge Luis Borges

Everyone has rituals, and for good reason–rituals keep us sane, and they also tell in what ways we are broken. Rituals are beautiful, because they are so mundane and because they hearken back to when we were very young and our grown-ups had to teach us how: We learn how to make peanut butter sandwiches from watching father, and how could we inherit that annoying tick from anyone else but grandma? We learn our rituals from the people who picked us up and held us and meant everything in the world to us. Rituals are memories that we keep alive through constant reenactment. We use them to remind us why we are here today, and why we are the way we are, and who made us that way. I laugh like my grandpa so that I can become him and keep him alive with me, and I fold my arms like my mother so I may remember the way she is even after she’s gone, and I swear to you the reason she folds her arms that like she does is because her mother pantomimes the same physicality, and perhaps her grandmother before her. Time is made endless through the repetition of rituals. We become our ancestors who we never knew. I am my grandfather, and my grandfather’s ghost, and a list of people whose names have never even be spoken in my presence, and they do me the kindness of becoming me.

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