Tuesday, 25 September 2007

A Long and Winding Road?

“Feeling validated. Feeling...visible.” Just the words of one blogger explaining what makes her write.

Is this a modern phenomenon, this lack of visibility? Does an invisible woman exist in that void when home, children, community, career or indeed any factor that defines us is removed or changed? Perhaps, back when the family was a more cohesive unit and the Global village didn’t exist, a woman had a more defined (limited) role. Whatever the cause, it’s not a comfortable place; this invisibility and like many, I started blogging hoping to find some missing dimension through writing. I put my loss of self down to the major moves of the last five years, new country, new hemisphere, new career, a whole new life. The challenges; homesickness, missing family, working in a highly competitive environment, struggling in a new society left me with a “me” I couldn’t recognize. So, in a fit of intense “navel gazing” I have started my own form of invisibility therapy, beginning with blogging, recording family history, and creating - whenever and whatever I can!

It all started the dreadful day I realised I wasn't twenty-seven anymore and no, it’s no joke…
I literally woke one morning and looked in the mirror and didn't recognise the face looking back at me! I, who had never ever thought about aging, shrugged off birthdays, laughed when I turned forty and ignored any outward signs of impending middle age. That sudden realisation that I was actually getting older was a huge and scary shock, the impact of which still amazes me! The real me was gone and who was this imposter? And over the following weeks and months it dawned on me that all I needed to do was find the missing me...who was I? Who had I become...while my life rushed by?

While all this selfish introspection was going on, I started having these nagging doubts about the fate of our family history, its origins and traditions? With the family home gone and everyone dispersed to different countries, would these just be lost; in this struggle to make a way through to our old age, who would be the keepers of the family history? With no oral tradition preserving the story of our ancestors how would our grandchildren ever know? Would they care?

M’s family, having lived in one country for three hundred years and in the same home for nearly a hundred years, had a relatively large bank of family history on which to draw. Now the family home is gone and the remaining members scattered far and wide. My family, by comparison had a fairly nomadic existence and any history lived only in the memories of the older members; now there is only one cousin left and he is in his nineties. So I’m going along this road picking up the threads and as I go, I’ll try to weave together all the bits I can. Because the more scattered and dispersed we are, the more I crave the history of my origins… by digging around the past will I find some clues to what or who I have become? Perhaps, like me, one of my descendents will look for their past in a effort to understand their present and find as much of the story that I can piece together, recorded here. Is this just me? Do others feel the same way about their “roots”?


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