“I am the sum total of my ancestors
I carry their DNA
We are representatives of a long line of people
And we cart them around everywhere
This long line of people
That goes back to the beginning of time
And when we meet – they meet other lines of people
And we say: bring together the lines of me.” -Unknown (1 Giant Leap – My culture)
Everything lined up so that I could be here, in this moment, half clothed and half crazed, words racing toward midnight to meet a challenge I’ve set for myself.
The whispers in the back of my mind are mine, but they are also the pleas of generations, many who never knew me, to carry on, carry forth, honour memory of their existence which has resulted in mine.
Is it selfish that I won’t continue their genetic legacy, instead choosing to immortalize myself with these missives that have the potential to transcend time? In some ways, this is a much less mortal contribution to the collective creativity, though it does lack the possibility of expansion, being that my gifts might be shared, but not passed on.
But this is their gift, they who came before. It is not a gift that depends on me to receive it with a perspective that reflects the gratitude I feel for it, though I am. I am not expected to live in exactly a certain way to honour the victories, the mistakes of those who connect to me through blood, thought or deed, but I will take heart from this inheritance of time and experience, take note of what made their lives difficult in the hope that mine might be easier, that the lives which come after might be easier still.
We are all haunted.
Living independently of those things that haunt me is impossible. They are spiderweb tendrils of accumulated memories, perhaps genetic, perhaps remembered, perhaps imagined. Woven with strength and adherence into my framework, until they become as intrinsic as breathing.
We carry past as a weight never asked for, and yet ours to shoulder and carry forward, ideally finding a way to incorporate burden into benefit, to overcome the restrictions of birth, of circumstance, and find a way to ourselves, to the people we are within that first spark of knowing, which sometimes gets buried beneath the pressures of birthright, of obligations, expectations and occurrences that can seem to hinder, interfere.
That was a really long sentence that essentially says, whatever happens, I’m still here.
All of us.
(Video included because of the song, the lineage of surfers fitting so nicely into my narrative, and because goddamn I miss the ocean and being out on it, in it.)