Aya Pogrebinsky
October 18, 2023

I carry her on my shoulder

I carry her on my shoulder

I carry it in me. My grandmother was not the cuddly kind. When she moved to America from Russia she would come home saying that crazy people were smiling at her in the elevator. “Why do Americans smile so much, what is so great?”

My mom was not the cuddly kind – she went to Princeton at 16 trying LSD and trying to forget that she wasn’t in the country she understood smiling at absolutely everyone, met my dad while she was marrying a guy so he could get his green card. I carry her on my shoulder.

My mom was a neurologist, she wore silver doc Martins in the hospital. she started a rumor that her lead resident was a nudist on April fools day, she made a jello brain for Halloween and that I later learned had vodka in it. I carry her inside me.

My grandma never cared about what other people were thinking, she hung the phone up, didn’t say goodbye, but meant every single word that she said.

My mom wasn’t afraid to say “this is shit”.

I spent my life living up to the greatness of these two brilliant crazy disrespectful doctors and lived in a cloud of insecurity.

I used to pretend to read “Crime and Punishment”  in front of my grandma, staring at words while thinking “Am I good enough, because nothing is good enough.”

I represent the C students, the lazy students, the ones that teachers didn’t see. I represent the mediocre and the I’m not good enough.

But I carry my grandma in me, a fire, and I will break that loop of negativity – I will make a space where the mediocre can be themselves and tell the truth. I carry them both in me.

May they rest on my shoulder in Peace.