Saturday, February 23, 2013

"Ohana" Means Family

The Ties That Bind © 2013

"We all grow up with the weight of history on us.  Our ancestors dwell in the attics of our brains as they do in the spiraling chains of knowledge hidden in every cell of our bodies."  ~Shirley Abbott

DNA, or deoxyribonucleic acid, is the hereditary material in humans and almost all other organisms.  Many stories are told of the secrets of long ago when families were hush..hush about a child that did or did not belong to a particular family.  

There is the topic of illegitimacy, when a person becomes a parent by "accident" and a baby through no fault of his or her own is left without a complete family unit intact.  The description of a child from an unwed mother using the "b" word, is an unnecessary verbalization by a person who is cruel just for the sake of feeling superior or perhaps searching for a recognition of their own self worth by means of belittling another.  It is vengeful and lacking any element of compassion or common decency of the human race as a whole.  

There is the topic of adoption, when perhaps this same child, is very fortunate to have kindness bestowed upon him and is given the opportunity to be a part of a real family.  A mother, a father, a baby, and with any luck...siblings to really complete the picture of happiness among human beings.  (Until of course sibling rivalry sets it usually does.)

"It is not flesh and blood but the heart which makes us fathers and sons." ~Johann Schiller

And while an individual who may have been adopted by a particular family, is no less a member of that family, than a natural born member of that same family, it remains the same question of DNA.  Now that can consume a person from the point of discovering your bloodlines are not exactly what you thought they were for your whole life, until you either get to the bottom of the spiraling chain of DNA, or you die...wherein the secret dies with you or it is divulged by the remaining members who have known all along that your spiraling chain of identity comes from another source.

Your parents have poured all the love and devotion into your well being, into your identity as it were.  They are nonetheless, still your family, regardless of your gene pool.  The secrets of the unasked and unanswered questions that will most assuredly linger on, even after you have passed from this life, seem to gather momentum as they are whispered from ear to ear.  For though your parents may have passed, your biological connections may have passed, family secrets take on a life of their own.  They take on legendary qualities that somehow become bigger than life itself.  And if the legend lies in bloodlines that are reputable or perhaps even notorious, the evolution takes on twists and turns that has the makings of a two part mini-series. You can't make real life up.  It is what it is.  Believe it or not.

“Nothing is so soothing to our self-esteem as to find our bad traits in our forebears. It seems to absolve us.” -Van Wyck Brooks

Now the notion of blaming bad behavior on an individual who has never been a part of your life, is preposterous on the surface.  Except perhaps, for the face value of the simple knowledge of "abandonment" which suggests a somehow unworthiness to be acknowledged, therefore unworthy to be a good or decent human being.

Not deserved of recognition at birth, by a specific donor of your very DNA, is most assuredly a shame that is embedded in your brain and transforms your way of thinking of your own self as you progress through life.  Therefore, using that as an excuse for any sort of questionable behavior, would then be deemed "understandable".  For it wasn't your fault that you were born to an unknown, with unknown character traits that may be construed as tainted somehow causing you to act defectively according to society rules.  Abandonment, in and of itself can cause great emotional harm.  However, when the absolute character and DNA traits do come into play, and do prove to be true or compatible with said "unacceptable" behavioral actions, well then, it's as good an excuse as any.

"He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has."  - Epictetus

To rise above, to overcome that which has socially been deemed contemptible, is to become a human being worthy of praise and honor. And any type of radical behavior, short of causing physical harm to another individual, can easily be forgiven with the quality of reconciliation or resolution in your own heart and soul for your own innocence that was tainted at birth when you were shunned by one, yet generously nurtured with love and compassion by another. 

Afterall, love is what makes the world go 'round.  

That coupled with music...well...

Nothing could be finer...than to be in Carolina in the morning... 


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  2. Thoughtful post on an interesting topic! Heredity and the ways in which our lives are influenced by our connections to the past can be both humbling and empowering subjects to explore and we should all consider them from time to time in order to gain a better understanding of our own identities. You're also right about how criticism for things that are beyond one's control often comes from people who are just trying to shore up their own egos. It's unfortunate that people stoop to such behavior, but seeing it for what it is can make it a little less damaging. Good observations!