As I type this, it’s the evening of St. Patrick’s Day and I’m on the third of my traditional holiday movies. I watch Miller’s Crossing, The Boondock Saints, and Darby O’Gill and the Little People every St. Patrick’s Day. That’s just how I roll. It’s how I celebrate my culture.
Wait? I have a culture?
No, seriously. Let’s do the quick low-down on The Things That Make Up Tegan: I’m English, French, Dutch, Scottish, German, Irish, and Lithuanian. Like many other Americans, I am one big ol’ melting pot. I like to call myself a conglomeration of pasty white Europeans. I have freckles, blue eyes, and a tendency to burn if left out in the sun too long. By too long, I mean more than ten minutes of direct sunlight. I’ve had some pretty interesting sunburns in the past. Cursed Day Star!
Growing up, having any sort of ethnic culture to me felt like just another hat I could wear. It wasn’t necessarily something that stuck with me nor was it something my parents were really into. I think a part of it has something to do with their laid-back way of dealing with most anything and a larger part of it is the fact that they moved a few states away from their respective family members in Upstate New York. Mom grew up with cousins galore as part of a larger, decidedly Irish Catholic family. She went to Catholic schools and they threw epic parties. I actually haven’t asked about my dad’s family gatherings. I should look into that. It’s always fun learning about your family’s background. Or maybe that’s just me.
Anyway, this leads me to something that bothers the crap out of me. The idea of some sort of pure culture that must be prevalent or else society will collapse as a whole is just some serious bullshit. Look, folks, most people in America come from somewhere else (except for the Native Americans, but that’s a whole other thing). For centuries, people have come from across the world to make a home in this country. It’s a big melting pot here. I’m a product of that big melting pot. We are stronger because we are a melting pot. Our diversity is what makes us awesome. We shouldn’t lose sight of that.
I started a project some months ago on Tumblr in an effort to remember some of the things that may have been forgotten over the generations. I called it Languages My Family Lost. I’d hoped to receive submissions from folks about the languages their families used to speak and somehow pull that all together into this larger narrative about assimilation and losing cultural backgrounds. I even got a few submissions from friends and a couple of folks on Tumblr. Unfortunately, the blog ended up mostly being me posting random quotes about languages. The quotes seemed to have been more popular than the other content. I hope to get back to it someday. I just ran out of random family stories of my own to share. If you’re reading this, go ahead and submit something to Languages My Family Lost and let’s get it started again.
Anyway, yeah, this is going to be short because I can’t think of where I’m going with this next. So, until next week, this has been Me Monday. Take care and be good to each other.