Are you a legacy changer? The term just jumped out at me as I was thinking about the theme of my manuscript-book-to-be. Did you look at the lives of your parents, your uncles, your aunts, other people’s families and say this isn’t what I want for my life? I want to change the legacy.
Of course, you’re right. We live in different times and who we are is never separate from the events and historical framework we belong to. But I remember thinking that the choices my parents made were a mistake. It has taken me twenty years of discovery–interviews, studying history, photos, documents–to understand that they made the best choices they could. And no, those are not the right fit for now, for me.
On a related note but slight tangent, the whole principal of understanding where our strong feelings and attitudes come from is pretty recent. Eckhart Tolle said, in one of his many books, that when we have a weak sense of our self, we will find an enemy to contrast ourselves to and give us a sense of identity. We’ve seen a lot of that in our lifetime. Maybe we all do it in our own lives too, in smaller ways. But we live in a time of self reflection, so when you feel really charged up about someone or something, maybe it’s a good time to take a long breath and ask yourself, how am I using this to define myself. How would I see this person or situation if I was willing to be uncertain and open to hearing.
Well, it’s pretty tough to do that when you know you are right (hmm). But at least we ask ourselves those questions. Was my mother wrong to hide away her past? Would she have been more available, and would I have been less anxious, if she had talked about her history, her wonderful youth in Germany, the shock of losing everything, the disillusion with the world that she experienced so young? From my current point of view, we would both have learned something. But from her perspective, she needed to stay strong, to hold herself together. There was no support to be vulnerable and exposed. She needed to be defended, and separate.
Next time I want to talk about writing and what a wonderful way it is to reflect creatively through writing. To be continued…