Ancestors in My Arms

The ancestors visited today.

There is a slow magic, a magic that one must honor by stepping out from the center of concern to see widely the matrix of ritual that surrounds us. I was blessed by this slow magic today.

My most personal writing focuses on my family. Extended and close, dysfunctional and weary. Specifically I’m speaking of my “WOLVES” zine series that catalogs the trauma transformations of which I’m still licking wounds. Characters include me and my mother’s family in our most raw depictions.

The thing about family and legacy is that the shadow stories don’t always surface in chronological time. They surface after years, or seconds, but not in order and not fully detailed. They emerge as a slow magic. A spell that defies time but that impacts through the past and present.

My mother’s mother had two marriages. I think of this as being uncommon but I’m not sure about social norms of the time. My grandmother had 2 children, remarried, then had 4 more children: my mother and my other aunt and uncles. The first marriage wasn’t a secret, but it was a shame-inducing topic that was never, ever discussed. The byproduct was actual secrets. Like the cousin I did not know I had.

I first met my lost cousin 2 years ago. At a wedding an Aunt of mine said she wanted to introduce me to someone. I looked at the person in front of me and felt I had seen him before. Which was an honest truth only the blood could tell. He looked like my uncle, he looked like family. Turns out, he was.

My cousin was the son of a half-Uncle whom I never met, a half-uncle who died long ago. My cousin’s family resemblance was strong to the uncles I did know. He was family and ancestry staring at me, like maybe I was the same.

Today I was tabling my zines at the Olympia Zine Fest and thanks to social media magic, my lost cousin knew. A man, whom looked like family, came through. My lost-cousin came to say hello. It was the sweetest offering to see the ancestors reunited in our moment. To see that all the hardships, deaths, secrets, and dysfunction can be, and have been, mitigated by us – the ones who keep trying.

We are imperfect. We are only doing what we know to keep our hearts beating. But we are kindred and trying. We are kindred and trying.

I gave him WOLVES as they are his bloodline, his birthright.  WOLVES and hugs. Because that is how it is done. To honor each of our dead parents, to honor our dead uncle, to honor our dead grandparents, to honor the ones living, to honor those yet  to come. To honor us as kindred and trying, and to experience the slow magic of our beloved-passed, who shaped our past, and granted this moment where all the worlds shined.

The ancestors reveal themselves every day. Most often in the mirror, and frequently in our actions. Each of us reflects the genetics and coding of survival, hope, and realization that our beloved dead, and the ones we don’t love, gave to us. I feel so lost, so disconnected sometimes. But then the ancestors remind me that I am of them, and I become the hope of all of us when I embody my belonging. Here is to us, each doing our best.

And reaching to be kindred and trying.

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WOLVES can be purchased here 

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