Sunday, 23 April 2017

A Rose by any Other Name.........

Taking stock of ancestral and "familial" lineages that have impacted my existence or perhaps defined that; which I might consider for reconciliation, presents a formidable undertaking. Consider this journey of my "self-discovery" is undertaken without prowess in sciences (human or otherwise). Then again, despite the "wonders" that can be attributed to science; it is most certainly not the only lens through which to investigate life, and might impose more limits, than provide insights.

Gathering what seems at times, to be the ends of gossamer threads and then pursuing their lengths; instead of providing the firm bedrock upon which to base some tangible purchase, is more like trying to scale a cliff-face, grabbling hold of the unraveling sleeve of a sweater.

Woven into the story could be the age old debate around "nurture versus nature." Though my further descent down the rabbit-hole; is shaping for me a recognition, that there is no lasting solution/answer/resolution, to be found in polarizing "either/or" viewpoints.

I currently am possessed by a surname that rather than represent my "forebearers;" is that of my adopted parents. It forms part of my legally binding "identity." Despite that, (even by humanities inordinate classification complexities) it is superficial at best; and represents nothing of my ancestral history, albeit it does contribute to my biography.

So then I was conceived and carried to term as a "Draper" I was adopted by a family of "Mason's" (Hendy/Mason) & I strongly believe my paternal lineage to be "O'Neill. This is based on information obtained through a DNA test and a historical reference made in the results I received. Mason & Draper are documented and as such verifiable - O'Neill presently lacks the same irrefutable "proof." The DNA info reports: 99.9% Western European comprised of 87.5% (Irish/British), 3.3% Scandinavian and less than 0.1% French/German. The paternal ancestry is said to be Irish (highly concentrated in the North of Ireland) the maternal "British" (which seems to me a rather broad brush stroke).

I don't know enough about genetics to know if the 87.7% Irish/British would be comprised of an equal 50/50 split between the lineages. Really, the only point in knowing would be to determine a premeditated preferred outcome (along nationalistic lines). I absolutely have had curiosity regarding ancestry for a good portion of my life. However, there is no getting around it; beyond my Canadian "nationality," my ancestry is split in some fashion.

At the same time as I become more aware of the roots of my origins in terms of nationalities, culture and history etc.; other facets of the same spiritual journey, deepen my awareness of the potential divisiveness, that can arise, from any & all categorization, that humanity chooses to view itself through.

It would be all to convenient to try and ignore/dismiss ancestral history opting to affiliate myself with a romanticized version of my background. Of course this would allow for disassociating myself from any particular aspects of a national or historical background, I might find objectionable.

One one hand as a "naturalized Canadian" one (I) would have precious little history, given "Canada" as an idea is only one hundred and fifty years "old" this year. In many ways the country was founded on the worst possible elements of human history - i.e. a framework of patriarchal colonialization. For many like myself - offspring of European immigrants/settlers we are lacking any living legacy of our heritage, ancestry, culture, spirituality; as frequently there was no attention paid to it's preservation.  In some cases the "younger generation" renounced their roots; in other cases either pressure to conform to the "societal constructs" of the "new world" or a want to "leave the past in the past" and start fresh.

Even as I become aware of and able to "identify" my ancestry - I haven't been "steeped" in any of it.

Another recent awareness that came my way even as I'm writing this, is that the, what I'll call "blanket categorization" of "British;" (being relatively recent) can be broken down further.... to reveal origins from any of a variety of different "source cultures" which have their respective concentrations in various parts of Britain.  This info came via another genealogy site that had a post on Facebook. What that means, is that whatever percentage comprises my maternal lineage; (which as I said was indicated to be "British," can likely be further subdivided) to what end.... won't know unless I look into another test.

For personal interest and to answer life long curiosity this information serves a useful purpose. Verifiable "evidence" would be useful and/or necessary, should I ever want a passport or citizenship in any of these countries of origin.

Beyond that the numbers & statements such as: I'm .... percentage this, my family has been here since....... all has the potential to be a big ego trip... I'm not saying there's anything wrong with national/regional pride (but beyond a certain point, it most certainly can become extremely divisive!)

When I consider what can be seen, for this discussion, as the two main branches of my ancestry - Irish and British..... right away an obvious long standing relationship of conflict, violence, oppression, victimization & exploitation is brought to mind - one that I have been becoming more "educated" about through museum's & walking tours (led by individuals that were directly involved in parts of this history) - I suppose we are all "involved" in the on-going impact of this history. Whoever my father was either himself immigrated from Ireland; or perhaps was a Canadian born son (or even grandson) of Irish immigrants - either way most of those that immigrated to "the Americas" did so under considerable duress - from various aspects of "all this history."

If I had been in the part of the world where this was all actively taking place at a particular time in history.... I suppose I would have been the off-spring of a forbidden relationship. (a real world Romeo & Juliet scenario - except they conceived a child, rather than their respective demise). Such unions produce individuals that are then, not welcome in any camp (not being pure of race).

So the wounds, the continued mindsets, beliefs and attitudes make sense in the context of this history. But... and I'm not looking to dismiss any groups suffering, grief, loss or deny the tragedy of these long standing histories - however, if beyond the ongoing cycles of vengeance (which I believe to be a fruitless pursuit)  the seeking of freedom, equality, civil rights which should be "human rights" the basis of these things being denied, the racism, the genocide, is all based on ideology of purity of origin etc. that may rarely if ever exist beyond the "superficial" and the perceived power and entitlement of one group - it is all imagined (not the violence, oppression, torture or any of the atrocities that are justified during war, occupation and displacement  - those are the very real results of upholding these imagined mindsets).

To continue with the illustration of my ancestry (again assuming the simplistic Father - Irish & Mother - British) I could spend the rest of my life researching, listening, interviewing people from "either side" and no matter if there was a clear "good guy" and "bad guy;" I still can't extract myself from my own, conception reality. So then to hate one side or the other is to hate myself. These things play out in the world as though they are so "black and white."

The seeking of peace (for me) seems to necessitate seeking beyond the confines of human ancestry for the source of the healing/forgiveness. There is a need to recognize that I must acknowledge, own and reconcile, the energies of all sides of the wars within myself. So then, I have been the victim, the oppressed, the marginalized, the exploited, the persecuted... but so to, I have been the perpetrator, the aggressor, the racist, intolerant, tyrant... I have caused harm in anger and acting out my fears. It is useful for me to know; how my various wounds or ancestral inheritance, might be underlying how I believe, and conduct myself. However, there is nothing to be gained by my continuing to look outside of myself for the "reason" I behave these ways.... the buck stops here!

I imagine it would be an uphill journey to say the least, to have nationality, ancestry, history, culture etc. cast aside entirely. Given it has been suggested that we are "spiritual beings having a human experience" - the carte blanche renunciation of the human element; might well be contrary to any relevance of humanity itself - if indeed any exists.

Different facets of humanity, collective strengths and developments; have come through in different parts of the world - often born of necessity. Still I don't think any one ideology should reign over others; especially where viewpoints of inequality are upheld. It seems to me at this place in "history;" humanity is, as perhaps never before, calling for the best of what all cultures have brought forward, to be woven together for the good of all.

"We" are all in "this" together. Maybe "To the victor goes the spoils" should be more deeply considered? Is there actually any lasting "victory?" How long will the "losers" continue to accept their lot? Considering the further definition of "spoils" and it's negative connotation it's interesting that it was chosen to symbolize the reward of lust for power through oppression and denying the human rights of all. Perhaps the term was no accident ... it is derived from the unconscious knowing that the seeds of these beliefs/behaviours contain the rot(spoils) they will ultimately produce.

The considering of these matters and subsequent written expression; represent as a whole, a significant sense of vulnerability for me. I don't claim to have arrived (even for myself) at the "bottom-line" and therefore I'm not the voice of ultimate truth. Examining this for myself and within myself "cuts very close to the bone." Just the same, repressing and hiding my voice seldom serves any greater beneficence. Writing this has been uncharacteristically "tough slogging.." I have been on the verge of deleting it more than once.

If there is any credence in "ancestral inheritance" and the carrying forward of energetic "materials" through our respective lineages - then even geographical displacement doesn't prevent one from being impacted by historic nor possibly current events.

Maybe name and address have far less significance than what they are assigned.

As such for me.. I'm present to an ironic blend of pain, and potential freedom while pondering that.

No comments:

Post a Comment