finding myself

answers in chaos

Late late entry today, which I’m doing while I stall before making my Ally McBeal recap. (Oh, go vote for Meghan Green from “Get Real” as Most Obnoxious Teen Character in this week’s Embie nomination! Make mommy proud. With both Ally and Meghan nominated for Most Obnoxious, I’m going for two for two!)

Hey, the year 2000 for the most part has completely sucked ass. I don’t know anyone who is having a good year. Seriously. Break-ups, job changes, life changes, death, illness, divorce, all of these things are surrounding me and my close friends and family. And in between all of this chaos I also found myself turning twenty-five, and with that has come a sort of searching for what I want and what I need to start the next part of my life.

And here I am searching for who I really am right now, and today a piece of it falls in my lap, and I’m not sure what to do with it. My mother called today, to tell me that she found out a bit of family information that before now we’ve never known. There was a part of our family history that was missing, unknown. And while she’s been going through my grandmother’s house, she discovered the answer. I’ve always known that I was Polish and Slovak, but what I never knew before this afternoon is that I’m also part Italian.

Italian. Through all of that, in all of the “unknowns” that I tried to fit in, I never thought the answer would be Italian.

I didn’t think that it would have made a difference to me, finding out that missing piece of my heritage, but when my mother said it, the first thing I said was, “I’m Italian?” and I had this strange rush of finding the answer to something. I still don’t know any of these people, and probably never will, but knowing that I come from a culture and a heritage that I never considered myself… I don’t know. I don’t know why I feel so strange about it.

One of the things that I admire in Eric’s family is the close sense of tradition and culture. When I went to their family reunion last year I was immediately struck by the sense of togetherness and respect that the family had for the eldest family members. Organizing the family lines by t-shirt color, they all were “kids” of the eldest brothers and sisters, and they identified themselves not by what city or state they came from, but rather who’s their grandparent. They all knew the same songs. They shared stories and food. They all tried to make the reunion each year, and the ones who didn’t come still sent their love and their excuses, and usually they showed up the year after. I’ve never had that. I’ve never had a strong sense of culture.

And now I’ve found another part of me that for the past twenty-five years I’ve only been speculating about. I’ve never told anyone I was part Italian. It shouldn’t really mean anything to me, I guess, since I’ve done fine without the knowledge, but some strange part of me likes knowing all of the background that went into my blood and genes. I want to know more about my family’s history, the people that all were a part of eventually making me. I want to know where I came from. I never really had this sense of searching before.

I’m going to visit my mother right after Mother’s Day. I’m going up to my grandmother’s house to help clean it out, and in doing so I’m going to see people I haven’t seen in fourteen years, and some I’ve never met in my life. The last time I saw one of my cousins, he was four. He’s eighteen now. I have no idea what he looks like. That, to me, is amazing.

And now, before I start this new part of my life and move towards the Next Big Thing, I’m taking a step back, so to speak, and getting in touch with my past with the people that were here before I was around. I’m going back to family. I’m hoping that it helps me find some clarity in what I want and what I’m looking for. Not that I’m going to find some sort of huge answer, but rather find a bit about who I am. How am I going to talk about myself to someone who has only heard stories about me since I was eleven? Do I mostly talk about my writing? My acting? Eric? My friends? Austin? Comedy? How will I identify myself to them? What will they see in me? What will they suggest I do?

I want to talk to my cousin Chris. He’s about to get married. I want to see him. I miss him. I haven’t seen him since I was eleven, and I miss him.

I’m hoping that this visit will settle part of me, which for the past few months seems to be out of control. I’m feeling a bit out of control lately, and I keep wondering what I’m going to do next. I’m also wondering what the people around me are going to do next. I’m looking forward to being a visitor, a guest for a while, and be in the middle of other people’s lives for a few days. To put my head on hold for a while and focus on what has been happening to other people that I haven’t seen in a long time.

Maybe I’ll put on a heavy Southern accent and see if they say anything. Like I’m a big ol’ Texan. Whatever, they’d just keep asking me to repeat myself if I did.

Italian. Who knew?

Is that where I get this forehead?

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