I’m sick in bed today. Just a really bad cold I think; pounding headache, runny nose, sore throat and throbbing sinus.
I’ve just woken from a nap to find I feel no better, but I awoke to Freddie bringing me our passports to peruse, and I love perusing our passports!
Between us we have six. One by one they’ve been expiring. Choking out their last breaths, while tucked out of sight with the deeds to the house and insurance papers. Just one survives, still clinging to the memories of blue skies and white sands, ancient crumbling temples, icy bia hoi drunk, perched on miniature plastic chairs as one million mopeds jostle by in a cacophony of organised chaos. Imprinted forever with memories of airports, hotels, backpackers and ferries…
Passports hold this incredible romance for me. They contain promise, opportunity and above all freedom. Freedom to move between borders that are otherwise impassable. They’re receptacles of history, providing a passage for memory to travel back through. Gateways in to our past. Statements of our experience.
My passports are sacred to me. Above all they identify me. The prove my existence to the world. And my passports, expired as they are, no longer valid reprentations of myself, got me thinking…
What will happen when Izzy needs a passport? She already covets one. Who will that person in the photo be? Will Izzy’s passport contain the same freedom and promises as Harry, Freddie’s and mine do? Or will she open her’s to find a name she no longer recognises as her own, a gender listed that she doesn’t identify with? Will it become an object of fear and a potential for shame as she presents it at the same borders we pass, with barely a thought to who we are. Will each time she looks at it remind her of the slight of hand that dealt her these cards. The hand that’s made her different.
In that moment my love of passports evaporated. I no longer saw freedom but persecution. Their value sank, for how can I value anything that has the potential for hurting my child.
But then guess what?! A quick internet search brought the love straight back! In New Zealand we are enlightened! We’ve left the dark ages behind. NZ passports have the potential to hold the identity of my daughter as she presents it. She’s accepted by the authorities, she’s seen with equal rights.
It’s a happy day!