I used to try and count how many waves of human migration it took for my parents’ DNA to leave the Horn of Africa and casually run into each other at the freshmen’s ball at the Academy of Film and Drama in Budapest in 1974. I never found the exact number but let’s say a lot.
I turned my phylogenetic tree analysis to myself: was there a proto-“Anna Gát” purely determined by birth and circumstance, by parenting and neglect, by babysitters and East Bloc scheming, by traumatised grandmas and political mass destruction, by the concrete and the nihil and the cheap fame and the money that still ran out, who then gradually evolved into how I am now?
I searched all the bifurcations, and could never unweave myself, could never retrace myself, back to the source.
I feel detached, my umbilical cord chopped up. I decided who I wanted to be when I was five, and then just hid, and changed and changed. I relapsed sometimes, gave in to temptations, shook them off. The Shakespearean shipwreck, that I get.
I sat on my bed in late 2016, looked through the shades at the sunset over Vauxhall, and I felt that my shadow-self had died. That girl that was made in that post-Communist city, in that stalemate, in that duplicity, that’s as far as she could have gone: maybe 31, 33. And I got up from the bed and stepped over my laptop cords and sat down and started my company.