My mother can sing. She doesn’t think much of her voice and sometimes she forgets how much people like to hear her. If I go too long without seeing her, I forget that she can sing too.
People think we’re twins. I see the resemblance, but for all the hype and theatrics, you’d think we were the same person. Honestly, I think my sister looks more like her than I do, but no one compares their faces.
I inherited almost everything from my mother: bad, good, and neutral. I have her work ethic and her eyes. I have the same roundness of face and the same flare for dramatics. We both bury our anger until it seeps out slowly. We both aspire for light-heartedness, but consistently fail to be light-hearted. We’re both worriers. We’re both impatient. We can be overbearing, but usually when we feel that we haven’t been heard.
We both want consistency, reliability, and structure. We’re low-key perfectionists, but we understand that time is finite. We both wanted to be dancers, but have very little talent for dance (perhaps I should just speak for myself).
We both react strongly when we’re backed into a corner. We don’t do well with sensitive people, not because we lack empathy, but because there’s something in our tone and communication style that offends.
We’re addicted to sugar. We both like pretty things and pretty people, but we know that pretty hurts. We fight with ourselves about superficiality. We war with ourselves about what we haven’t yet done and who we are yet to be.
We’re both short, almost funny. We like to figure things out for ourselves, but if it takes too long, we lose interest. We’re both dutiful and committed. If we had our own way, all we’d need is a good book and a separate peace.
I have an ear for music, but I can’t sing. It’s probably for the best. If I could sing, my entire life’s purpose would be to show as many people as possible how great I sound. I’d hunger for a national stage and an international audience. It would ruin me.
We can’t choose our inheritance. We don’t always want what we inherit, and we don’t always inherit what we want.
I attended a PD conference in Austin this week, so I was able to see my brother. The last time I saw him was on Thanksgiving.
More than once I’ve created a plan for writing, but I’ve never successfully followed it. I realized today that I have to change the way I plan out topics and themes. Before, I would list issues I wanted to research or explore, and write them down on the days of the week and in the order that made the most sense. For example: charter schools, immigration reform, recidivism.
Today I realized that this works better if I define a feeling, emotion, or concept FIRST, and then connect it to a particular theme. Example: Resentment + What policy or initiative makes me feel resentful? Inheritance + What have we inherited as a nation, as a people? What challenges or successes spring from this inheritance?
The 5K with the Houston Wellness Project was cancelled last weekend due to rain. We plan to attend one every month, so we’ll try again in May. My sister and I are looking forward to the consistency.
My brother seems happy. I worried a lot about him when he lived in Alpine, Belden, and Killeen. Austin suits him. He’s appreciative.
Registration season is ending soon, which means my schedule will stabilize again. Whew! The struggle.
Inheritance. I inherited a western identity that says we intervene when people are in danger, but only for certain people and only in certain places. Only when it’s strategic, profitable, or it suits us. Only when it would positively affirm our status or quiet a fear.
The identity I inherited says that we live in an adversarial system. Anything can be solved if you have enough money to solve it.
I inherited an identity that says we can pick and choose who to hold accountable and under what circumstances. We will not be intentional, thoughtful, or analytic about our systems of accountability. We do what we want, when we want to.
This inheritance disturbs and ashames me, but it is mine.
We don’t always want what we inherit, and we don’t always inherit what we want.