As with most things I write, I write it and turn it in. Give it away. Fill in the blank with whatever you want but I let it go. Then I sit back and think of all the stuff I should have added or want to change.
Last week I turned in my first draft of my family literacy project. It didn’t pan out near like I thought it would. I tensed up in several areas leading me to understand better how that trait was passed down from generation to generation. The idea of “be ashamed of who you are” is rolling around in my head or the idea that it should be “secret”. Add in there my own Appalachian heritage on the other three leaves of my larger tree and I have a great case for addressing the ideas of stereotypes, misconceptions on culture and misrepresentations of the truth.
When you are born and raised in very marginalized groups such as Appalachian or Bohemian (to a larger extent Immigrants) I am finding that living those lives truthfully are not always easily carried out. My cousins and I (even more specifically my siblings and I) are the first generation to try and change the cycle of what happens to those groups. We did something different than what was expected of us. I need to explore that.
But as I am finding out the shame and reactions to stereotypes that my ancestors perfected very much filter into my every day. I struggle believing I have something worthy of saying. I struggle telling my whole truth because who would want to hear it? I mostly operate out of that seen not heard mentality.
What I did love and continue to love about this project though is seeing that my ancestors were politically active, had minds of their own and were with it enough to make huge changes in their life and accepted the consequences that came with those decisions. That is very much akin to how I live my life. I have never taken the easy road and I never expected an easy payoff. I worked for everything. And I mean worked in the larger sense not the 9-5 concept.
So as I head into the redrafting process of this project I hope to better clue into that side of myself instead of the one that continues the cycle of secrecy of who I am as if it were something less than what it is. As well, I didn’t go through the hours and hours of putting every puzzle piece together to not tell this amazing story of courage and change. Almost every single aspect of it can relate to my own life in some way. I am extremely proud of that.