Tuesday, June 21, 2011

" Who am I, where am I going , how am I going to get there and how much is it going to cost?"

I think many people spend a lot of their lives contemplating on and about, who they are, especially in relation to their family. Perhaps for the majority us, who have experienced some kind of family dysfunction, like alcoholism, or some other kind of ism, the struggle with the question of personal identity is common. I am no different. It is difficult to wade through all the extraneous familial issues and baggage that result often in years of confusion, self doubt and lack of self esteem.

It has been my own personal experience, that one grows up with a myriad of negative and destructive extremes with growing roots, reaching into all aspects of our lives, often poisoning and damaging our relationships with others , and more importantly especially the relationship with ourselves.

Without continuing on into psychobabble, I will say, I grew up with a very loving mother, a very ill brother, living with Multiple Sclerosis and an absentee father, who was over whelmed by alcohol problems, and his own family of origin dysfunction, which does a complete and thorough job of destroying a family.

I want to share a recent family experience I had this week online.
I have a cousin, I'd only met once face to face, many years ago. She'd emailed me after recently reading my blog. I was thrilled that she''d contacted me. She had been raised by my grandmother, Catherine. I am her name sake. She died a month before I was born.

I'd always longed to know more about her, as I heard she was very talented with her hands and I knew my father had loved her very much. My father did not speak of his familly much, and not knowing my grandmother, I felt it was a great loss in my life, as I believed she would have been a loving mentor to me, as she was creative, strong woman. My cousin spoke very lovingly and tenderheartedly about our grand mother and of my father. I wept healing tears.

After communicating with my newly reacquainted cousin, I found out about more cousins who painted, played music, sang and had a special love of animals and horses. I felt like I had been given a big beautiful piece of the family puzzle from my cousin, who told me about my grandmother, her children and great grand children. I felt a strong sense of my own creative family identity. This encounter was a confirmation, and a validation of who I am, where I am going and it cost me, nothing, but I got a priceless gift in return.

I have posted a tribute video, of my late cousin, Phillip Hahnen, a very talented musician, song writer and a beautiful man, who died far too young. Along with this, another video of another young cousin, Jocelyn, both whom I would have never known even existed, had I'd never decided many years ago, to contact my father after he had been gone for 26 years, from my life. I have never regreted that decision. I did it for myself, but in turn it helped to heal my family.
I am very grateful, for the gift of sobriety, for family and for faith in a God of my understanding, otherwise I'd not be sharing this with you today.

My wonderfully creative childhood friend and artist Cliff Eyland, use to say this, when we were both once long, ennui-suffering teenagers. " Who am I, where am I going, how am I going to get there and how much is it going to cost?" This always made me laugh, but in retrospect they have become very important questions to ask and to answer about life.


JimHahnen said...

Catherine; Thanks for looking me up on Facebook. I followed the link to your blog and was so pleased to see and hear the Dawgs' video. I had not seen Phil for a number of years until I attended my brother Joe's funeral. He was so excited to tell me about his music. It was very evident he was dedicated to his craft.I wish we could have spent more time together. Thanks

Unknown said...

Dear Cousin Jim,

Thank you so much for posting your comment and looking at my blog. It means so much to me.
I certainly do wish I could have met Phil, however I am grateful to at least know he was, and am touched and grateful to know he is my cousin. I am also so grateful to have contacted you. Thank you . I do hope we will one day meet in the near future. God bless. Cousin Catherine

Betsy Grant said...

As usual, you have come up with a wonderful post. These questions are great ones to be sure. As to the question of our true identity, we struggle with this because we are all totally unique, and can't find a reflection of our real self in the world around us, but can only see a reflection of a part or parts of ourselves.

Unknown said...

Thank you so much Betsy. So true what you say about our unique identity. Like the snow flakes, every one different.
Certainly an identity based on the image of society is useless because an image does not exist.

Thank you for your comments!