Life | Struggling With My Heritage

Hello!

If I am a having a great reading month, I can bang out two reviews at the most, but if I’m not, figuring out what I want to blog about can be somewhat difficult for me. I do believe the book and music posts are the heart of this site but I think what I miss about are personal stories. It could be what I eat in a day or a life lately update, as long as it is like you’re talking to your best friend, I love them! And that’s what I want to bring back to the blogging community for 2021.

So, let’s start this year off with a brand new series, called “Life”. I sort of felt like Sir David Attenborough at the beginning of those nature documentaries you see on BBC America a little as I was writing that sentence!


At the end of 2019, my mom and I were finally to get dad something he’s always wanted for the last two or years, and it was the AncestryDNA kit. The year before, I was relaying things about my nana’s results, because she was given the kit for Christmas the year before. The biggest difference between the two of them is that, we sort of knew where she was from as we have a detailed family tree and information for her, whereas with my dad, it has been a case of “maybe” since I was really young, so he was genuinely very happy to receive this, even though he has been worried that these companies will keep the DNA in case you are wanted by the CIA or FBI. I understand why he had this fear, and I feel like it’s not one that a lot of people make easily, but again, he was very excited to finally get some answers!

Honestly, he wasn’t the only one who was curious. I am interested in genealogy, as I watch almost every TV show about other people’s discoveries. I find them really neat, especially when people are introduced to certain ancestors that may not have been the best people in their lives. It is also cool to feel proud of these people being apart of important moments in history too! However, if you are only wanting to see the percentage of where your family came from, that’s fine! This tool gives a better insight of general areas you came from through your heritage.

When my nana had told all of us was stuff we already knew, well, what I knew at least. She has strong ties to the British isles, mainly Irish, but there was an even bigger number for the western part of Europe: Germany. For my nana, who was given up for adaption at the age of 2. After she was given to her parents, they were afraid that her older siblings would be able to find her and basically steal her back to her biological family, so she moved around a lot growing up and lived on the West Coast for the majority of her life before coming back to the Midwest where she met her husband, my papaw in the the early 60’s.

It wasn’t until the late 80’s that someone came and knocked on her door to ask her name and was told that she had been adopted. Now, it took a little bit for this news to sink in but in the next two years, she found out that she was one of 13 children to a German father, who was a traveling salesman (he used to make furniture) and a Irish stay at home mother. She was able to meet some of her siblings and their families as they held a reunion a year before I was born. So, as I grew up, I heard every stage of her life and it’s been permanently engraved into my brain. It wasn’t until I was out of high school did I become obsessed with learning more about my own ancestry.

As we were able to find loads of information on my mom’s parents, and how exciting it was to learn more about both sides, I figured going into my dad’s side would be the same, even though it was full of questions more than answers. He has always said that we were of Scottish and Welsh descent but then there was some folklore in there too. We could have been connected to Native Americans. I was very much into that side of the story, and wanted to learn so much about it, but nobody was sure on what tribe we came from or how it came about either. Every year in school, we would learn more about these people and I would be ecstatic about it! When I was in fourth grade, our class created a teepee on one side of the room and we were divided up into a group of four and had to come up with names that resembled something they would have been called in their tribe. I chose Sunflower and was thankful that nobody else picked it out for themselves!

While my dad kept track of the arrival of his results at the end of February, they answered things we knew but my heart shattered on the no mention of being related to Native Americans.

It was one thing to know that I wasn’t a descendent of these amazing people, but it was even a harder pill to swallow to know that I was a full on brute.

The start of 2020 was very difficult on my self-worth because I would literally torture myself as I silently retraced the steps of history’s most horrible people like, Adolf Hitler’s hatred towards the Jewish community and becoming a dictator and was able to convince all of Germany to be mean. They were beaten, forced to work in camps, starved, and murdered because of their difference in religion. Unfortunately, after all these years of Germany becoming liberated of the Nazi regime, many people are still weary of the country.

And the last, the English coming to the West Indies and creating colonies on lands that were already occupied by indigenous people. Instead of the reason being about their religion, it was because they were not like them. Everything about Native Americans scared them, so they took everything that belonged to them and massacred and gave no mercy to anyone, even mothers and children. The English also brought with them the cruelty of keeping black people in slavery to the already cursed country. This would prove a problem that lasted well after Abraham Lincoln read the Emancipation Proclamation and allowed them to become “free” and able to do things that their masters had long been doing since they came to the United States.

It is a blessing to know many parts of history, but it is so hard to digest everything that your distant relatives could have done, which was the main reason why I didn’t say anything to anybody until now. I often wonder what would they think of me. Would they be embarrassed or proud of the way I hold myself, think about certain things and most importantly my disability? Unfortunately, I will never be able to gain anything by keeping this thought around, because it’ll never be answered.

As frightening to know that I could have some very bad people connected to my DNA but I started to feel bad for only looking at that side of things. These events are unsettling; we still struggle with our past, but we must move on and make sure to change our ways so it doesn’t happen ever again. We don’t learn anything by forgetting these sometimes gruesome and upsetting tales, so I will let them live in a large chest that is already full to rim of things that I have experienced in my life already, and continue blossoming into this journey.

Have you had your DNA tested? If you have, did you find out anything that was unexpected? For those who haven’t done it yet, can you tell me one reason you haven’t done it yet?

5 Favorite Shows About Nature & Culture

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Howdy!

I’ve always had a difficult time watching nature documentary series on Animal Planet, mostly because I never really liked when the hunters went after their prey, most of the time they were capturing young and giving it to THEIR babies! When I started watching some nature shows on Netflix over the summer, I kind of hoped I was over that but then I realized that it doesn’t matter how old you are, you can never really be over that aspect of life in the animal kingdom! Truth be told, I’ve been watching nature shows for a long time on PBS, but it’s only now that I’ve kind of deluge a fairly large amount at one time. In my defense, prior to this happening I was binge watching both Arrow and The Flash, so I felt this would be a nice break away from the superheroes, I just didn’t think I would keep watching one right after the other like I did, but it’s been sort of helpful when it comes watching episodes of Jeopardy!

I am more drawn to the series that were made by a British or Australian company, but only because there are in two these areas on Netflix than any other country! I also like when there are people narrating each episode to the viewer, like the visual version of Audible! Thanks to this, I have become a bit of a fan of Sir David Attenborough. I’m embarrassed to say that I have watched close to three different ones where’s either in it or narrating what you’re seeing on the screen!

Galapagos (2006)

This was the first show I watched in July that basically started it all and it was narrated by the lovely Tilda Swinton. I think I watched this because I remembered that Jeopardy were running a contest for fans of the show to win tickets to go there with Alex Trebek last year. I figured that meant they would have several categories about it and I should get some knowledge about the Islands of The Tortoises.

I really loved this program! I found the fact that various birds, turtles, and seals all on this very unstable, volcanic place where hardly anything grows. The first episode basically opens up with what really surprised me, was that iguanas also live close to the edge of the cliffs. They actually live on a side where there’s an active volcano so the surface doesn’t really have anything for these creatures to eat, so they have developed a taste of algae at the bottom of the ocean. So, these spike-y little devils literally crawl to the ledge where the water is being brushed up the sides of the island by the currents and either jump or slide right down and they can SWIM! Now the really cool, and sort of adorable thing I loved about them is that when they finally come back to shore, since swallowing salt water is bad for them, they sneeze out the water out of the nose! I was really dumbfounded by this adaption.

South Pacific (2009)

This was a six episode series, narrated by Benedict Cumberbatch. Now, I have to say, I watch funny moments on the Graham Norton show on YouTube a lot, and there was a clip of Benedict discussing with Graham about how he says the word “penguin” and it was funny as crap, if you want to check it out here you click here. Anyways, it was about a year or so, since I watched that clip and I finally watched the show and realized that he definitely can’t say that word right at all, even in a British accent, it still sounds bad!

“South Pacific” was about all of the islands in their different shapes and what kind of life they support around the Pacific Ocean. One of my favorite things about these types of shows is that it gives you an insight of life on these islands, not only for the animals, but humans too! You see tribes of people, living off the land and they’re so out there away from other people. We did visit the Galapagos Islands again throughout the series, but you were transported to other smaller islands, I really enjoyed learning about the different plants, when editors use the fast-moving on how fast the landscape changes! I actually fell in love with the Birds of Paradise species, and they are usually located on New Guinea and Hawaii, but they are decorated in different colors and shapes with really unique ways of attracting a mate and fighting to be with that female as well. It can get a little weird, but their dances make it all worthwhile trust me!

National Curiosities (2013)

This show was the longest out of the whole list! It had probably 12 episodes in the three seasons it was on BBC, but what I truly liked was that they are about an hour-long, but they’re comparing origin stories of two different species so you kind of need that amount of time to explain what makes these animals so complex.

When I would watch this, I always felt like I was becoming more of a naturalist, like David Attenborough. He has this caring personality and it shows whenever he has an animal next to him or sitting on his lap, you can feel that affection aerate on the screen and it makes you want to change your mind on some of the creepy species and help support them later on, although it didn’t work on spiders or snakes! One thing that he does on this is that he’ll talk about how they discovered, and the evolution of theories they had for each one, my favorite was when they thought Platypus were a hoax in the 1800’s!

Monkey Planet (2014)

Monkey Planet was my most recent to watch and I really enjoyed myself! It was hosted by Dr. George McGavin and even though this was only three episodes, I have realized that it doesn’t take much for me to giggle as these mischievous monkeys were really my downfall when it came to watching this late at night!

I’ve always loved monkeys, but while I was watching this I realized that I don’t give them enough credit when it comes to their intelligence. I mean, they are our distant relatives. At first, I was purely watching it because I wanted to learn more about the different types, but instead of having an episode devoted to a certain type, they were squished together but after a while I was okay with it. The colors of their fur and cute facial expressions were too much and once I found out how they all get their food by banging rocks up against tough shells or grabbing a stick of some sort and poking it through small holes in a branch about killed me in the best way possible!

Baby Animals In The Wild (2015)

I really have a problem with baby animals, thankfully no babies were harmed in creating this series, thank god! This was hosted by Luisa Prosser, and consisted of 10 episodes ranging of animals located in deserts, forest, jungles, and mountains. There were times in the program where they would share snapshots of babies in captivity so you got to see them after they were just born or a few weeks old, and told about their characteristics in the wild.

I think the two places that made me wonder why these animals would still want to live in these areas where the arctic mountains and desert. However, once I saw how they were able to live, I had a change of heart pretty quickly and the one species that really grabbed me was the Ibex. The mothers give birth on top of their dry cliffs and after a few days and the babies figure out their footing, the mothers need to get around food and water so they go down these steep cliffs and their kids just follow them down, some of them being overzealous and sprint down that made me very queasy but they have these pads on their hoofs that help grip the rocks underneath to keep them stable, but good gosh! It made me really nervous, but nobody lost their balance so that made me feel better!

I have to say, it was extremely hard to pick out five shows for this post, because I have watched little over 12 of them in the several months, but they’re surprisingly fun to watch. You’re seeing these animals having a blast on top of having to continue searching for food and water, and they all have information stored up in their minds from previous generations. The fact that some of them are still able to live in their natural environment like in a dry savanna of West Africa or lush woods in the middle of France was so cool, but I’m not going to lie when I say seeing the monkeys steal fruits and vegetables off of market stands in India cracks me up! It was just so fascinating to me!

How are you when it comes to nature and cultural shows? Was there one that really made you go, “wow”? And just for good measure, what is your favorite animal(s)?

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