We’d all say that there can be many positive connections to our ethnic group, right?
Merriam-Webster defines ethnic as:a : of or relating to large groups of people classed according to common racial, national, tribal, religious, linguistic, or cultural origin or background <ethnic minorities> <ethnic enclaves> b : being a member of a specified ethnic group <an ethnic German> c : of, relating to, or characteristic of ethnics <ethnic neighborhoods> <ethnic foods>
Off the cuff I wouldn’t have thought it mattered that much. Sure, there have been moments when I identified with the area where I grew up, or some traditions of my heritage.
Sometimes I am drawn, really drawn, to native American indians – the kind of drawn where it’s not that you think they’re attractive, it’s that you think maybe you used to be one. There is no reason for this that I know of, except maybe an unremembered lifetime or recognition of a spirit guide. I’ve met many indian spirit guides, but I don’t have any myself that I know of.
I was raised in an area where there were a lot of parents who were immigrants to the United States and so my friends were “first generation” and often spoke two languages. There were a lot of specific cultures represented, and one in particular really stood out.
I was always very drawn to it, and slightly jealous that I wasn’t born into it myself. The language, the country of origin, the food, and the entire lifestyle. As a child I said,”If I ever get to travel, THIS is the country I want to see. I want to go all over.”
I married someone who has a good dose of it in him. I have always had many friends who have that blood in them.
When it comes to ethnic background, I knew what mine was and basically it amounted to Russian Jew on both sides, German and English, so there wasn’t much to talk about. I understand there is some Mongolian in there, which is kind of cool and might account for the longevity and extremely durable, strong will of my ancestors.
I can’t quite explain this to you, except to say that I always felt at a slight disadvantage when I was in an argument or a battle of wills with someone from the culture I wanted to belong to. I realize that sounds completely ridiculous, but it was one of those things that though it may make no sense, I felt it in my core very strongly.
Then one day I got into a bitter argument with someone from that culture (he started it!) and that feeling of “not good enough to stand up to him” popped up.
At the same time, I noticed an uncharacteristic quality come on line that basically said,”Cross me and you’re dead to me. Retract or be dismissed.” You can probably imagine the degree of boiling point rage that accompanied that, right?
Except, it wasn’t rage. It was calm. True calm. So calm that I scared myself.
I may have been known to be a bit hot tempered when younger, but I genuinely thought I had it under control (or actually, I didn’t think there was anything to control, because I also could be quite the doormat in those days, and this feeling was quite the opposite of that).
Afterward I was extremely upset over the argument because it was one of those “burn the bridges” situations, and though we are polite to one another today, it will never be the same as before. I know I cannot trust the person and they don’t have my back.
I called a family member afterward just to have someone to vent to, and they told me something that completely changed my viewpoint of my entire life.
It gave me a dose of confidence so strong that it will stay with me forever and serve me always.
I know technically it should be irrelevant, us all being interconnected, and cultural or ethnic background being just one little piece…it shouldn’t matter that much, should it?
You might think it’s silly, in fact I think it’s silly, but it is as true as can be nonetheless: the news I was given changed my life.
I didn’t know my entire family background. I was missing a relative. The relative was a full-blooded native of the country I had always yearned to be from, and more specifically, most likely from the specific area I considered from childhood to be “the best.”
I wondered later if all of my temperament, outlook, and style could be attributed to hanging out with these people for my whole life, or if it was simply a genetic part of me.
I wonder if some part of me always “knew” I had an ancestral connection.
There have been so many more things that I think should have played a more significant role in my life, when I think back on the Big Moments.
But there aren’t. This one is it.