Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Where did I come from?

When I was about nine, my father presented me with The Facts Of Life in the form of a book with the same title as this blog post.  I don't remember details, but I can tell you it's a story told by a sperm on it's way to fertilize an egg.  I think it may have even been wearing a bow tie, you know, to be gentleman-like and all that... I guess. (Here's the book on Amazon.)   I was left to conclude that a bow tie wearing sperm was exchanged between my parents (illustrated as two chubby-ish light skinned people making hearts escape from under the covers) and nine months later - voila! - here I was...

What's funny is that a few days ago in the middle of social time with my parents, temporarily living together in the same house* (as me!!!) - a true rarity (and I'm talking endangered species rare) - I found myself asking The Mister "Where did I come from?"  Me with my everything-opposite-to-everything-they're-about self.   There I was really looking at my parents, thinking about how different I feel from them, and their hopes and expectations of me.  It just doesn't add up.

You see, my mother is decidedly conservative and will likely vote as such - ;as90kP:znvae3[3asuf=m excuse me, I just had a shiver - in the upcoming election. Nothing against my mom.  It's Rrrr.... Rrrr... you know who I mean - that gives me the heebies.  Still, she was pretty non-conservative in her younger days: a party animal, a little bit of a thrill seeker, and pre-marriage conceiver of me.  So there's that.  It would ultimately be the Straight And Narrow road for her though.

My father?  He's what many in a previous generation would call "a real character".  He's the limelight guy:  life of the party, joke teller, friends with everyone everywhere and all that.  My father is the good times maker.

My love of adventure, jokes and laughing, parties and a good time: it's easy to see where I got those traits.  And, of course, the requisite looking "exactly" like whichever parent the observer happens to know very well.   The rest of it?  The challenge EVERYthingness?  The piercing, hair dyeing, feminist, humanist, animal rights advocate, pro-choice, left wing, everybody has a right to the opportunity for a good life, partially atheistic, would-be hippie me?  I tried the Straight and Narrow, but it didn't stick.  A bit like water off a duck's back, that was.  

Where in the holy gene pool did this whole me come from, exactly? 

I have a theory.  But it sounds pretty kooky so it's hard to say.  And I don't really care if you think I'm kooky so here it is.

My great grandmother, when she was about 15 years old, announced to her sisters one night that when they awoke the next morning, she'd be gone.  They didn't believe her.  But it didn't matter or change the fact that the next day, she was indeed gone - all the way to CUBA to elope with a man she was not supposed to love and definitely not marry - a black (non-Indian) man.  (The scandal!)  She lived there for a number of years, giving birth to my grandfather and grand uncle there and, a little later returning to Jamaica - all of her family fluent in Spanish.  

I believe that Estriana - maker of her own damn path thank you very much, passed her thatness on to me.  It makes me wish I could have really known her when she was young and rejecting the status quo.  It makes me feel like she lives on in me.  

It goes without saying that I love my parents very much.  It's kind of nice to get a sense, too, of how even their parents and grand parents have had an influence on who I am.

In this way, immortality comes alive.

* My parents were in the same house because my mom came for a visit to Jamaica at the same time as me and she also stayed at my dad's house.


brinabird said...

I see myself growing into my parents more each day but at the same time growing so differently from them. As I watch the wee man grow and me and papà are continually questioning now where does his idea to do that come from. It's always an interesting question! I wonder how we will explain it to him!

Anonymous said...

I sooooo hear you!!
I brought my mom to my house to spend the summer with us (3 months!! what was I thinking!!!!?) and other than driving me absolutely NUTS, I too wonder if I was switched at the hospital, 'cause man!! we have NOTHING in common, NOTHING!
I love her because she's my mom, and she took care of me for 26 years, but I don't really like her. She's so the opposite of what I am, that we never get along. She gets on my nerves and I on hers.
Very sad I know...