Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Who Am I?

I was born in 1965, the eldest of two girls, in a small town in south central Colorado.  It is one of the spots on the planet where you are surrounded by magnificent, awe inspiring and impossible not to acknowledge beauty.  I would say in that locale we were middle class.  Differing levels of wealth were not really acknowledged as far as I can remember.  In retrospect, I see that most of the time I spent there we lived just above subsistence levels.  These circumstances allow me to appreciate what money can buy and also appreciate at what cost to the environment and nature it comes.
The social climate of the time focused a great deal on the conflict in Vietnam, racial equality and the women’s liberation movement.  In the year I was born Malcolm X was assassinated, Martin Luther King, Jr. marched from Selma to Montgomery in Alabama and the nation was awash with anti-draft and pro-peace rallies.  These events effected huge social changes across the country and while I was not aware of them specifically at the time, their repercussions were noticeable in my life.
Both of my parents had attended the local college and received degrees; my mother a bachelor’s in social work and my father two bachelor’s degrees, one of education and the other of physical education with minors in psychology and biology and a master’s of education.  They were both the first in their families and the only in their generation to attend and finish college.  Education and the pursuit of knowledge was highly prized and rewarded by my mother and my father.  I was taught to use logic at an early age, to defend my position and to question everything.   
My mother was the middle child of three and the eldest girl. Her mother was half American Indian, although that was a fact that was hidden to the best of their ability. Both her father and her grandfather were severe alcoholics and my grandmother divorced my grandfather while my mother was still quite young.  My mother was raised LDS, but rejected the church when she married and left home.  She embraced the social changes of the time, rejecting the traditional roles held by women.  She was a pot-smoking feminist hippie intellectual, and one of many that I grew up around.  I was taught to accept and respect all races, those with differing sexual orientations and those from other cultures. She was beautiful, but always so much more than that.  She was an over achiever, responsible, reliable, powerful at home and at work, and an excellent provider without being a servant to her family as my grandmothers on both sides had been.  There was a noticeable shift from patriarchal to matriarchal in the family dynamic between my mother’s generation and my grandparent’s generation.   My mother was everything I wanted to be and I have endeavored to emulate her in most aspects of myself.
My father was the town hero; he was all state in every sport he practiced, which was highly revered.  He was a teacher and football coach, which took a great deal of his time and focus away from home. He also spent a significant amount of time drinking and playing pool when he wasn’t busy with his teaching and coaching obligations.  There was constant fighting between my parents while they were still married and for a long time after.  He was smart, loving, selfish, unreliable, neglectful and inadvertently cruel.  My father took because he was a man, because he could; not because he earned what he received in terms of family.  He was a liar and a thief and I loved him.  I admired him and still do.  His frequent betrayals hurt me deeply.  I learned that we all have failings, I learned to forgive and take what is valuable in relationships and leave the rest.
I moved to Amarillo, Texas at the age of seven and then Dallas at the age of eleven.  Both of these provided some culture shock.  Then at age thirteen I moved to a small suburb of Dallas, which was much more like the small town I was born in.  I was a good student, an athlete and a cheerleader.  It was at the age of fourteen that my mother, my sister and I found a church that we embraced.  I attended this church and it was a big part of my life all through high school.  God and spirit were always a part of our family discussions, but it was there that I really started to explore my personal spirituality and what it meant to be a spiritual being.  My view of the scope of reality expanded exponentially.  My church was Christian, but also included many eastern religious teachings and teachers.  I embraced the concepts of karma and reincarnation; they seemed to make sense of the suffering in the world and in my own life.  I was given many labels during this time but none of them really defined me, some I rejected outright.  I never fit neatly into any box; there was always a part of me that stuck out incongruently.
I graduated high school and started college at the age of seventeen.  I left campus a little after a year later but continued attending community college and working until I was twenty-seven when I had my second child.  Even though I am a mother it does not define my life.  I was afforded the opportunity to stay home with my children.  I never aspired to the traditional female role of “homemaker”.
I have lived in many different cities and states, each with their own social norms.  I lived in Europe and travelled there which caused me to seriously reexamine my beliefs about what “normal” is. 
As I have grown older and my experience of the world broadened beyond my immediate family social circles, I learned through observation that hypocrisy is rampant; there are lies and liars everywhere.   The media is a propaganda machine predominantly influenced by corporations and government.  I learned to constantly look for the truth beyond the picture presented because almost nothing can be taken at face value.  The alternative media sources now available on the internet have made this much easier.  I have learned to trust my own evaluations of what is “real”.  This evaluation is ever changing and I am filled with a curiosity about life, how it works and how everything fits together.
I have been strongly influenced by science, particularly the science of quantum physics.  While I have no particular expertise in the matter I am able to grasp the basic concepts, which appear to contradict many previously accepted explanations of the parameters of our physical reality drastically.  It seems that the physical and the esoteric meet on the quantum level.
There have been times in my life I wished to be complacent enough to embrace those ideas that were accepted by the majority of people around me, but made no sense in my mind. It seemed that life would be easier if I fit in with my peers in that way.  I think it has been a blessing and a curse to be able and willing to see, that which is beyond what is presented as truth.  I have often thought of the Bible passage, “Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you." Matthew 7:6.  I consider my truths my pearls and they are of great value to me.  Unfortunately I have had the lesson in this passage illustrated to me on more than one occasion in my life.   As a result, I am guarded about sharing my opinion in many cases and very discriminating when it comes to allowing people into my intimate social circle.
I see that I am very much a product of my concentric social circles.  I feel grateful for all of the lessons I have learned and unlearned in respect to my socialization.  While socialization allows us all to live more harmoniously together, it is those who buck the system that create necessary change.  The most important lesson I take with me is the understanding that I don’t know everything and what I do know will always be changing.  I trust myself to make those evaluations and no other.  At my current age of 48, I no longer have much inclination to please others, except to the extent it serves my objectives; whatever they may be.


Blogger MrBrademan said...

Wow, such a great writer. I love your descriptors and genuineness. This was thought provoking and your description of your mother made me like her immediately. Beautiful writing.

July 6, 2015 at 2:14 AM  

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