Saturday, August 5, 2017
This morning I happened upon an Instagram account that I felt an instant connection with. As I was looking at her pictures, I thought of my mother and my childhood. The colors and style of the people in the pictures, the stories that go along with it, and the subject matter remind me of my childhood- before I was even 10 probably. There is a picture of my mother, squatted down in front of a bush with me in her arms. She has long lovely hair and I am probably between 2-3. The picture is faded which tells the time period it was taken in- the 1970's. The Instagram pictures I saw makes me think of my parents- of how when I was little I was more or less free. My parents showed me the world through their eyes. I remember Dad chopping wood for the fireplace and Mom rescuing baby birds and bugs with me. They made yogurt and cheese and wine. I remember the flavors and smells. It was a simple time. We always had animals- dogs, rabbits, a cat, some chickens, all at different times but it has defined my life. It also makes me wonder, how much of me is actually me? Where did my sense of style come from? My sense of things that are repulsive or that I find beautiful....is it taught or caught from my parents? How much of what I do hearkens back to my ancestors? How much of it belonged to my grandparents, or even great-grandparents- whom I have met and knew some of? How ,any ideas are from aunts and uncles? The way I feel about things today- did I learn them from my parents? The things I like- are they mine? My obsessive learning about certain things while completely ignoring others- is that from my own way of thinking or is it because I have charismatic and dynamic parents? I come from a long line of people who are absolutely fantastic and are either loved or hated, but there is no in between. My family, on both sides, is pretty great and ingenious. I know I sound biased but truly, people who know my family members have strong opinions about them. Even within the family- cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents, parents, siblings- everyone has opinions about each other and I'm sure have played a part in the development of one another. Is it the close proximity of the people? Is it in our DNA? Can these things be taught? My husband and I are thinking of doing 23 and me to see where our people come from. Well, I come from my parents and so does he but beyond that. It's just when you meet a person, IRL or online, and you click with them- like you have grown up with them and they are your cousin from next door, or are the sister you never had, or remind you so strongly of something you didn't know you remembered until you saw it....what is that? Is it blood relation? Is it a regional consciousness? What part of our parents are the things we like and dislike today? What part of our ancestors is worth bringing into the present and passing on into the future? This is probably something I haven't thought of before I hit my 40's. I raised my kids with a strong sense of themselves- we homeschooled them and let them be themselves- we unschooled them so they could pursue their passions instead of jumping through hoops for someone else. I wonder if they know who they are- if they are themselves or a culmination of the people who they have come from? Can anyone answer that truly? Even considering such a thing might be part of some thought process I was gifted from my people. I guess I shall ponder this more and one day if I do the DNA test, I might find out more of who "my people" actually are. People are becoming clan-ish these days. This summer we went to the Highland Games on Grandfather mountain and discovered there are clans who are from the same area of Scotland and are considered family with us. My maiden name is Scottish and they usually have a clan tent but not this year. In fact, it was a small clan that joined forces with other small clans in the area for protection and became the Donald clan or MacDonald clan. That's interesting. The people there were so nice and called us cousins! It's funny but that is a place I have wanted to go for years and have learned lots about the area even before I thought my people might be from there. It's hard to tell things about your past when you're black in America. Some of my people were slaves so I have no idea where they come from. I wonder if some of my thoughts about race have to do with the long years of ancestry or if it's directly from my black and white parents. Do you wonder about your own thoughts? About where your likes and dislikes come from? I live in an area that is heavily pagan- and earth worship is pretty huge around here. The Christians are largely Baptists and are very opinionated about food and drink. Throwing in the college age people I grew up surrounded by, I'm sure some ideas came from the two extremes- hyper liberal and hyper conservative....if that's where my ideas came from. It's much to think on. So, self discovery is really about history then.