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Who Am I?

28 January 2005

Last night (I’m dating this back to yesterday) I spontaneously went to hang out with a friend from like 11pm until 4:30am, looking over astrological charts. I had my chart done a few years back on a lark, and the information is uncannily accurate in many ways. Whether you believe the reasons are planetary influences, social influence, or blink luck plus a bit of self-convincing, the general affect is the same — introspection. Astrology provides a common language for discussing issues psychological. It’s just like color personality theory, meiers-briggs, or Jungian analysis — it allows you to talk about who you are in some articulate fashion.
I’m not going to bore you all with what my chart says or what the stars are supposed to manifest in my personality, but what is interesting to me is this impulse to know who I am, and its auspicious timing. I feel like issues of identity are up for me right now, with the appearance of another kid on the horizon, and also because in a few weeks I’m going to go to Banning (a place in Palm Desert) on a long car ride with my dad to meet my great aunt Norma — the oldest living Archer, and a keeper of knowledge of my family history. I don’t know very much at all about the Archer side of the family — I never met my grandfather, because he was a bit of a bastard and left my dad’s family when my dad was relatively young — in high school or just after graduation. Grampa Don (I think his name was Donald) left my grandmother to raise a family of six on her own, met some woman and told her that his family had died in a car accident. Some years later, when she found out the truth, she forbade him to see the family of his past. Anyhow, he was a bit of a shit and never bothered to reach out to my dad until the very end when he was dying of cancer. His children went to see him die, and try to comfort him. I had an opportunity to meet him then, but I truthfully had no interest. I’ve had a hole in my knowledge about my father’s side of the family which has plagued me since I was young, and in truth I’ve had a hole in my desire to know as well. My dad has told me all sorts of things about my family; who I’m related to, what they did, etc. I never bothered to listen very carefully. My sister knows more than I do. I turns out, I’m 1/8th Dutch. Didn’t even know it. No wonder I know how to party!
So, this is a month of introspection and self-exploration. Who am I, as man, son, and father. What is my place in the chain of my descendency. It should be a healing trip, not only for me, but for my dad. He’s been trying to get me to go for over a year, and I think it’s because he has a need for my reintegration into the family story. I’ve been removed from that story, self-imposed exile. Perhaps now the warp and weave will be mended, or if not mended, at least made so as not to tear completely clean. I run a real danger of missing an opportunity of knowing my family heritage, as one by one the people who know die away. It’s my duty to at least try to carry on their story. They lived entire lives, and it would be a sad shame if all their work and all their experience just fades into oblivion.
Let the personal healing commence.

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