Expressions of disbelief. Probably thought she was making up fairy stories. But that was the truth. We all had to pass through those. Even before birth, even in our mothers' bodies, we had to live through it all, three point seven million years, the whole exhausting evolution of man in nine months. All the ballast stored in our bones. We were a patchwork, the sum of all previous parts, a stopgap that worked more or less, full of superfluous characteristics. We dragged the past around with us. It made us what we were, and we had to deal with it. Life wasn't a struggle, it was a burden. You had to bear it. As best you could. A task to perform from the first drawn breath. As a human being you were always at work. You never died of an illness, only ever of the past. A past that had not prepared us for this present.
Judith Schalansky, The Giraffe's Neck, 2014