Hola amigos! Feliz Cinco De Mayo!
I watched a documentary the other day called Given. It's narrated by a little boy who's following his father around looking for "the big fish". They have a different type of lifestyle, one handed down from this little boy's grandfather. Now three generations of this culture, this way of life. The whole documentary hit me somewhere very profound, and I found myself picking up my journal to start writing down all of my thoughts because I couldn't contain them. This very well may have been a turning point for the ending of my book. Not that I'm going to tell you anything about that, because - no spoilers!
The ending of my book is a massive struggle for me right now though, and part of that is because I keep questioning the whole reason behind WHY I did this to begin with.
So, I'm going to talk about culture, and my lack of it. I don't really have a culture. You know that I've tried very hard to hang on to several family traditions, and that's proven difficult for me, but why? Because my family wasn't actually very big on family. At least not in the way many families are, or many cultures are rather. What does hanging on to these traditions do? Because I'm not really passing anything meaningful along. No long line of family stories or ways of doing things, and if I was passing down the things I learned as I grew up, well, I would be a drug addict teaching my children to cover our pains in life with drugs. Nope. Thanks very much.
So, for a good twenty years or more I've felt that I'm kind of floating, not really connected to anything or anywhere. I have a home town, and because of how I grew up I also grew up hating my home town and the people in it. I don't love the traditions of my home town, and when I go back it's not with fond memories of what use to be.
What would have been passed down to our family was taken from me by a bank. My roots were, well, uprooted.
Everyone wants to belong to something. I believe this is why culture is such a big deal, especially here in America where we all are constantly trying to remember our roots and screw up other nations major holidays with our own appropriation of them.
I want to belong to a culture. I have one, several actually, because like you and you and you (and you) I'm an American mutt. I am from everywhere.
Between my husband and I, our children are German, Irish, Danish, some other european something or other, and, you wouldn't know it looking at my blonde, blue-eyed babies, but also Mexican.
Their mama, me, is 25% mexican. I believe that's the largest percent of any one thing that I am. (I would love to do one of those DNA tests to discover my roots).
I've always had a huge fascination with the mexican culture, because it's the piece of me that I grew up without. My father, that a$$hole, wasn't around to teach me any of it, and I was the only person in the family that I grew up in with that piece of history. I felt unique. It was something I could hold on to that was unlike anyone else around me. Maybe if I had known my father, then I would have also known my mexican grandmother, who, like the grandmother who did raise me, could have shared stories of our past ancestors and I could have grown up knowing anything about the family and culture I have in Mexico.
What good does it do to be angry that I don't know my own culture? Here, there, or anywhere?
It doesn't, and yet I am.
I'm angry about a lot of things, and that's honestly why I started writing in the first place. I have nohting in my past life to be proud of, or to hold on to. I'm confused a lot of the time because I don't know what pieces of myself to share with my children, and which one's to hide away in a dark closet. What was it that my daughter said to me...
"Everytime you talk about when you were my age, it's always sad." and it wasn't in that snarky teenage voice she's developing, it was very sad and sweet and brought tears to my eyes.
It is here that I try to decide how that makes me feel and what I ultimately want out of all of this. I want a different way of life for my family, and for myself. No matter which culture you come from, however many there may be, we have a culture here in America that is killing our dreams and our families, and that's the very culture that I grew up in. It's not something to celebrate but it is such a deep part of who I am that I will share it with everyone I know so that we can come together over a tragic commonality in our lives.
Alright, I'm gonna leave you there and go find a fiesta to take part in. *wink*