My mom says that before my first birthday I was talking in full sentences with most of them ending in question marks. In later years, on the drive to school, my dad would lovingly ask me to take a breath and sit with my questions so he might have time to think about his answer before I peppered him with the next one.
And in college, when I was dating my now-husband, Jay, he almost swore off watching movies with me because of the number of non-stop interrogatories concerning what was happening next and why and where and to whom.
I make no apologies for it. I’m a woman — asking questions is what women do; it’s how we make sense of the world around us. And, quite beautifully, at the heart of this very ordinary action lies a real vulnerability, an invitation to a communal experience of the world as we offer to each other, “I don’t know … but maybe you do?”
Yet, sometimes it seems our exploration becomes more stifled with each passing year, as if we should already know all the answers, as if questions are for children or for those who don’t know any better or for those of little faith. Ironically, it’s only after years of really living life that we come to know just how much we don’t know, but by that point, we may no longer feel safe to admit it out loud. In that stifling, tragically, we can start to lose our wonder.
The world stopped making sense to me when I almost died at 26 years old, and that’s when the real questions began.