Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Where I'm From

I came across this in my old Facebook notes and thought I'd like to go ahead and have it saved here.

Where I'm From
I am from barn cats and owls, from Stampede Rodeos and staunch independence.

I am from the white house hidden in the Ponderosa and Blue Spruce shelterbelt of a young granite desert in the Rocky Mountains.

I am from the potatoes, the sugar beets and barley rows still weeded by hand. Occassionally those hands were mine. I was not a hard worker, but I got a glimpse of what hard work was.

I am from tribal loyalty and xenophobia, from (surnames) and (surnames), (surnames) and (surnames). From this melting pot of families and nationalities came a tribe that settled, mined and worked on ranches... From many, one.

I am from the skeptical and credulous. From distrust of outsiders while maintaining fierce defense of tradition and ways of the family and authority. I am from my family and the knowledge that, through all the good and bad, beautiful and ugly of the human condition, family is what matters. Family is always there.

From the certainty that the social worker who attended to arrivals and disappearances of foster children would inevitably take me too, someday, and that authority was not to be questioned.

I am from Mormonism. From nearly equal parts shame and euphoric faith. From fear that not feeling or thinking what everyone else claimed to think and feel meant that there was something defective in me. I am from the belief that women were for making babies and raising babies and in all ways deferring to men whose gender meant that they were the rulers and the doers. I am from resentful passitivity and soul-sucking censorship and the belief that old white men were never wrong.

I'm from Heart Mountain, from Easter hams with the Catholic relatives and Turkeys and Thanksgiving. I am from the bounty of hunting season where an elk for one became an elk shared with everyone. Where uncles would drop by with limp-necked pheasants or a haunch from a deer... From these gifts my mother fed us like royalty.

From the teenage boy who washed the engine of his car to impress his date, the teenage girl whose bet with her sister had given her an excuse to pursue him in the first place, and, years later, the woman who very much wanted another daughter whom she would name Sara because it meant "princess."

I am from handmade dresses. My daughters wear them now and I remember being that age with that innocence and trust. I am humbled and joyful for the opportunity to be the guide and solace for these little beings in their 30-year-old handmade dresses. I am from 8 mm shaky home movies, watched with my children, their eyes glazing at the unacceptable notion that I was a child. That I could ever be as vulnerable and new as they are. I am from late 19th century china and depression-era glass, cherished by grandmother and great-grandmother, softly lit in the cabinets in my living room, contrasting with my shells, rocks and old dried leis that anchor me - amidst this wildwind of motherhood - and remind me who I am.

If anyone else has the time or inclination to do this one, the template can be found at: http://www.swva.net/fred1st/wif.htm

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