And that’s not such a bad thing.
We are made up of every person who was before us. Our tendency to laugh at awkward times. The way we stick out tongue out when we’re thinking really REALLY hard about something. These are all things people have done before us. Whether we know that or not.
My father for instance. I’ve never spent much time that I recall with him in my childhood. My only childhood memory of him is when he built me this play house outside, and a while later when I was running around in the yard and had gotten too tall for it… I knocked my self out on the door frame. He was the first to get to me, and bring me to my mother. I remember waking up to her screaming and furiously upset that this had happened… and terrified of the gigantic goose egg on my forehead. I still have the scar from that day.
My mother and father were not together for very long and when they did get divorced, my mother never received a dime in child support and I never saw my father again until I was almost 23 years old. All that time was spent wondering about him. Curious about every little thing. Not knowing if my odd sense of humor, or the way tap my hands when I’m bored were from him, or just a unique thing I learned. And while I grew up with my mother, we’d had such a strained relationship that I never got to see these things from her. I felt lost in the world. Not quite belonging anywhere, wanting to belong everywhere.
When I finally did have the chance to reunite with my father, I’d just assumed that I was just one big unique, lost, fuck up. And wasn’t expecting to find my self. Just expecting to find my dad.
The first thing I saw was an Obama poster in the entryway of his home. Then he mentioned that even though his hair has been grey for years… It used to be the same color as mine and would glint red in the sunlight just as mine does. -I’d thought for sure that was just from my grandmother, who had bright red hair. So I was destined to always have the Irish come out no matter what color I dyed it.
Then I noticed facial expressions. At least the ones I know I’m making. It was an eerie feeling to feel like you do actually see yourself in someone you do not know.
Then I stopped by my mother’s house after the three hour drive home. And noticed more about her than I’d ever noticed. And her hair glinted too.
From my grand father I have an awkward sense of humor. The goofy kind that sometimes not everyone laughs at. From my grandmother I have an attitude that DEMANDS respect. A can’t take no for an answer what the fuck is that look for kind of attitude. No reason I guess, just blame the red hair. From my mom, I have the tendency to chew my fingers while I watch tv, and even though my mom never reads… I do that while reading a good part of a book too. Everyone says I look just like my aunt Jane, and in some ways, they are right. I’m a little shy and out of place in a crowd, just like my Uncle Ron and my Cousin Ryan are. While in most ways we are opposite, I’ve been through similar life events as my cousin Gary. On many things, we can share and build a little strength off from each other, at least once every few years…
My need to make everything a joke, or at least make things that are heavy feel a little lighter is almost 100% my dad. Though more people understand where his jokes are coming from. I think this pissed my mom off a lot. Though in some ways I wonder if it made the hurt of her loss and watching everything she thought would be go up in smoke a little easier. This is something we’ll probably never discuss.
Everyone before me, is simply just my shadow now. A part of me that I’ll never get rid of, nor would I want to. Could you imagine walking around with out your shadow? I couldn’t imagine not being the person I am today. And I know I’ve got to be so many things from other people, who I don’t even know.
Now that the mystery of my father is gone (or at least lessened) I don’t wonder so much about me, and who I am and where I’m going. My shadow is always trailing behind me.
And maybe that’s what makes me unique.