I should probably find a more constructive outlet for my history geek tendencies, because right now I keep thinking someone ought to make a website or a wiki about the cultural history of the internet and/or fandom so I can go and get all nostalgic about it. Something like this, only more so, and mentioning things like “Remember when Hotmail wasn’t yet owned by Microsoft?” and stuff like that.
… I kinda can’t wait to be old and crab at the Kids These Days about how I remember an internet before LOLCats and say things like “Now, back in the days when YahooGroups was still eGroups, but after OneList …” I have issues, I know.
I’ve been shuffling around a couple of body-related essays for Feminists Don’t Bake Bread, and it’s made me realise that a large part of the reason I’ve come to appreciate my body, not just as in “actually, I look pretty good” but also as in “Oh yeah, I have a body, and it’s actually part of me, not separate,” was realising how much of my family is reflected in it. I am tall(ish) like my dad, and built like his sisters: squarish and stocky and despite five generations of middle-class so very obviously descending from centuries of fishermen and -women. My maternal grandmother says I get my thighs from her father’s side of the family: thick and chunky and all muscle, baby. My eyes, of course, are green like both my parents’s, and even my hair’s darkening when I hit puberty is something I get from my dad, who went from white-blond to brown-black in something like a year when he was twelve. I spent years hiding my hands on photos because I disliked them so much, until a year or two ago, when my dad pointed out I had his mother’s hands. Now, when I look at my hands, I still see short, stumpy fingers, and joints that make it difficult to find rings that fit, but I also see a connection to a woman I admired a great deal, and hope I’m making her proud.
My name, too, ties me to my family, but only to one half of it. I’m thinking about changing my surname to include my mum’s. I have some years yet to make this decision, at least, because whatever I decide, I won’t do this as long as my mum’s dad is still alive. (This is the only time you’ll see me be spiteful about my grandfather, but dammit, a man who spent over twenty years denying I and my brothers existed will not get the satisfaction of seeing me take on his surname.)
Sometimes, I resent that my paternal grandfather died before he had a chance to finish his memoirs. (He’d started them, one page in a notebook he had on him when he died.) I still, and always will, resent the fact that my uncle died at all, let alone so young, and and both fear and hope for the day his son (who will be five this year, IIRC) will start looking us up, this side of the family he will never have known, and I will get a chance to tell him what a great guy his dad was, and how much he meant to me.
I feel like I’m not as grounded in (my) history as I could be — as I should be, perhaps, and so I cast about for connections. Family, community, friends, anything to ground me, to make me feel that I’m standing, if not on the shoulders of giants, then at least on solid ground. That sounds much more dramatic than I mean it, but at the same time, maybe not. Maybe this sort of thing is part of growing up, or maybe this is because of my parents’s separation (and impending divorce, but if I get started on that, I’ll never stop eyerolling and throwing up my hands, so let’s not), or both. Maybe it’s the time of year and the fact that I missed my uncle acutely the other day (brought on by, of all things, knitting).
Maybe I’m just overthinking things, I don’t know. I’m putting this out there mostly because LJ/blogging has, over the last seven or eight years, helped me work through things like this, and to record things and help me feel more in touch with my own personal history if nothing else. (Memory like a sieve, here, so seven years of records of who I was, what I’ve done, where I’ve been, and who I’ve known have come in handy on a number of occasions.) I need to think out loud sometimes, and I can do it to the internet, or I can do it do it to my (dead or dying — and that’s one area where I have a decided lack of family connection, heh) houseplants, and you lot are much more sympathetic to my woes than the plants.