It seems possible to imagine far more than what can be known. I have been thinking recently about my Scottish ancestry. While there is so little actually known about the tracks in the past that led to the DNA I carry, I have discovered that on my mother’s father’s father’s father’s side Scottish ancestors landed in Halifax, Nova Scotia around 1840. On my mother’s mother’s mother’s mother’s side Scottish ancestors landed on Prince Edward Island.
It doesn’t take very long moving forward in time for the connections to people of our past to be lost completely. I find myself wondering about how different my world today might appear if I had been born with my lineage all laid out in a line going back and back and back – how far? How would it help me to know myself better today if I could see a wide long road backward that would show me where I came from?
Would I understand my urges and tendencies, my personality, my traits, my inner perspective on life, my options, my choices better if I DID actually know whose DNA I carry? Would I be able to understand that my own teeny segment of life time belongs to a connected bigger picture of familial destiny, of progressing missions that can never be completed in just MY lifetime but in fact belong to my family branch of the tree of humankind – which if I knew all the branches of this tree it would appear to tower around me so widely I might find comfort in the fact that I have never been alone in facing any single challenge of my lifetime?
Mainstream America seems to have a rather peculiar cultural notion that each of us is – an INDIVIDUAL. As I age (I am 60 now) I find myself wondering what benefit there might be in perpetrating a conception of personhood that leaves every one of us in midair disconnected in essence from everybody else. Where is there balance in such an idea? Where is there wisdom? Where is there truth?
Isn’t this mainstream American notion self-limiting by definition? One single leaf living out a fragile short lifetime seen perhaps connected tenuously to whatever ‘relatives’ we might claim of the very long stream of REAL relations we have left ‘back there’ or ‘out there’ – out of sight. Out of memory. Of no concern or consequence to us as the individuals we either crave ourselves to be – or claim ourselves to be.
What of my flock? Who are my birds-of-a-feather?
Even if I extend my thinking back to the last series of migrations that began out of Africa 40,000 yeas ago (never mind the migrations that began 90,000 years ago) I would track my heritage back at least 2,000 generations to end up in the same place as would everyone else of my species — right here on 25,000-miles-around planet earth. But 2,000 generations left traveling this quite-small planet seemed in my family’s case to have all spent their time traveling to and remaining somewhere on the British Isles (with the single French exception that I know of).
Several years ago our family tracked our migrations through my brother’s DNA contribution to the National Geographic’s Genographic Project. This is what we discovered of my father’s traveling ancestors out of Africa: CLICK HERE. (I don’t know if this link will work without our specific code…..) Yes, that was a very long walk over a relatively long period of time – many people walked the walk out of Africa to end up someplace else.
One of my nephews paid to have my mother’s side of the family’s journey discovered. Although I have never seen those results I trust that her ancestors followed the exact same pathway that my father’s did – right to the British Isles.
I bring all this up today because I am thinking not only about what I do not know specifically about myself linked to a specific branch of the human family tree, but also about the equally nonexistent information I do not have about ANGER.
While this might seem like an arbitrary connection of thoughts, I don’t think so.
I was raised by a psychotic, neurotic, severely mentally ill (most probably Borderline Personality Disorder) insanely abusive mother. My mother’s madness and her psychosis was focused on me even though I really had NOTHING to do with what so disturbed Mother. I was abused as if I WAS Mother herself – as if I was the forever condemned hopelessly evil child self Mother could not tolerate within herself.
Mother’s weapon was RAGE. Primal, destroying, evil-acting RAGE.
Wherever in our family line on Mother’s side this rage-filled madness came from (other than most obviously from Mother’s own infant-child abuse history) I will never know. Mother – dark auburn haired, brilliant green eyes – was a stunning beauty in her youth. I have the brilliant blue eyes and dark hair my father had. And yet I wonder today, “Was Mother descended from a line of Scottish warrior women?”
If so, as I rather oddly discovered through a resonation within my own body-brain-mind this week, I am also carrying an ancestral memory-reality from those same Scottish warrior women that Mother was.
There was one very often repeated anger-related story about me that Mother kept alive in her abuse litany of me all the way through my childhood until I left home 18. I remember the story, and imagine I can remember the moments during which the story was born. But now, over 55 years later, I can’t say if I was 2, 3 or 4 at the time this story-event took place.
Mother recounted what a willful, disobedient child I was from the time I was born because of what I did on this one day Grandmother came to visit our home. In some way I do not know I ‘misbehaved’ and was sent to my room. “You pounded your fists on the wall all the way down the hallway to your room,” Mother repeated and repeated over the years.
At the very young age I was then I still had the capacity to feel angry. Mother very successfully beat that ability out of me. Where did my anger go?
I never fought my abusive mother after this event. Mother made sure I not only would not, but that I could not.
Did I always have the seeds of a Scottish warrior woman within me? Was it in part this same DNA link that – once gone so terribly awry – became so insanely dangerous and wildly abusive in Mother?
I ask because I FELT that Scottish warrior woman potential in myself this past week. A friend of mine on facebook, a woman in Alaska I went to school with as a child, made these comments to me once I expressed to her my realization:
“Linda Ann My Brave Scottish Warrior Goddess~~ I CAN SOOOOOOOOOOOOO SEE YOU IN YOUR WARRIOR GARB!! My VISION of you is thus: You’re wearing some kind of helmet (leather possibly??) Your long WILD hair has braids here & there w/feathers & the teeth of vanquished enemies &/or animals that sent to the Great Beyond!! You have a long Animal Skin Cape (not sure what animal it’s from), you have a large, long spear in one hand & a decorated shield in the other & a bow & quiver slung over your shoulder!! You are POWERFUL & FEARLESS!! The crowds part in great respect & reverence as you pass thru on your horse, to the Castle…………. quite a Vision you make my Darling!!!! ;} ox KEEP THE FAITH MY SISTER!!”
“Yes, I just wish I was a good enough of an artist to draw this VERY, VERY CLEAR, VISION I had of you!!!!! all I can say is: “WAAAAAAAAAAAAAA-HOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!” I don’t think you know just how STRONG your inner core really is my dear one!!!! It’s akin to STEEL!!!!!!”
Where ARE our warrior women in today’s American world? How do we translate what might feel like anger and rage into an awareness that we have the RIGHT and the OBLIGATION to notice wrongful actions and injustices around us – and we have the RIGHT and the OBLIGATION to act on behalf of what we deeply know to be right and good and truthful?
I learned from birth at the hands of an out-of-control brutally violent madwoman that being compliant to Mother was the only way I could stay alive.
I learned as an American woman that being nicey-nice is not only expected of me as an adult member of our society, it is demanded of me.
It seems I have learned to become an expert ‘crow-eater’. Does that way of being in the world actually suit me, or does it contribute not to my healing and growth but to my own demise? What of those women warrior ways of 3,500 years ago and before?
Just because I happened to appear at a time in history and a place on this planet where the Scottish warrior woman I very probably am – or in essence I would NEVER have been able to survive my mother’s abuse – has NO PLACE to appear does not mean that I don’t need to find my own pathway to acknowledging this vital part of who I am.
This seems a strange realization for me to be having now that I am 60. How much more fun it would probably have been to have understood this from the time I was 18 and entering the outside world. And yet as I shift my thinking by looking through my newly-discovered lens of probable truth – because I FELT this powerful Scottish warrior woman inside of myself this week – I am beginning to see the patterns of what I have done with my life’s energy for all these 60 years as stemming from this warrior.
I am not a leaf that has fallen from this strong family branch of the tree of humankind. To the best of my ability I have always thrived against all odds. It seems very probable that I have my ancient Scottish warrior women ancestors to thank for this truth. And I have my friend to thank for the powerful imagery that attends to this important aspect of who I have always been and still am today.
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