Many people use this image to talk about their religion. In my case, it means something completely different.
I’m a many greats granddaughter of immigrants. A survivor. Resilient.
On Mom’s side, it’s a heritage going back to Rob Roy in the UK and Robert the Bruce in Scotland. We are supposedly descended from the Duke or Argyll, who cut off the heads of the complaining peasants in his village during a famine, because they were dragging him down vs. doing anything constructive to help themselves in times of famine and strife. We’re not good about putting up with whining in our family, and we go back to Clan Campbell and the Stewart uprising on Mom’s side of the family. Determined and impatient.
On Dad’s side, it’s a heritage going back to the American Revolution and as a descendent of Paul Revere.
I have yet to research my own history to know what’s true and what’s not provable. I’m hoping to make it over to Scotland and Arbroath at some point to see the final resting sites of my 1700’s relatives – that I know about from the 1800’s relatives journals and pictures passed down through the various branches of our family tree.
Add into all of this being brought up by the daughter of “Red” Ferrier, who went to the Fanny Farmer School of Cooking in the 1920’s while working for a wealthy family, in order to better her life working in service, and Fred Bernard, who – with his brother – was one of the first to graduate high school in his family. I come by my working-class-with-lace-curtain-Irish airs legitimately. Even if my background is a mix of Irish, Scots, French and English determined sorts whose pride often went before a fall. A big fall.
I spent most of my formative years learning to control my temper (because if one was to rule, one must do so from logic and a place of cold certainty, and not from temper and a dearth of common sense) or so my Mother guided me to believe.
I was raised to be a lady, in the event I ever wanted to pursue membership as a DAR (Daughter of the American Revolution). And I was also raised to look down on such elitist establishments, as America was all about not having royalty. We’re talking about someone comfortable with the lordly elite, as well as the barbarians at the gate. Adaptable, but with a solid core of manners to get through any level of betrayal and chicanery while still keeping it together to achieve the desired goal.
Royalty springs from within. Leadership. Logic. Ethics. A love of philosophy and a pursuit of the deeper meaning of life in dispensing justice. All these are solid foundations for which one assumes the mantle of power and authority, and one does not wait for it to be dispensed or granted by others. If it can be granted, it can be taken away. If it is owned, it can never be taken away as it’s intrinsic to our personalities.
My Mother was bred to be a lady, but one who could do the servants work (in the event she one day had servants of her own to supervise) as she was expected to be a partner and a helpmeet to whomever her future husband happened to be. I was raised the same way. In joy. In determination. In heartbreak. In endurance. Resilience in the face of life.
Betty, my Mother, looked for joy and laughter wherever she was, and taught us all the value of camaraderie by pitching in to get things done. To improve things. To be busy to work off our anxiety and stress vs. sitting around and bemoaning one’s fate or abusing those in our vicinity during the fickle chapters of life. And, those fickle chapters happen to us all, whether or not we admit it.
There’s a favorite scene in the the 1987 film, “Empire of the Sun”, that brought home to me how functional my Mom’s training was for real life vs. pointless status. In this scene, the adults are sitting around bemoaning fate and trying to maintain standards in dress and habits, mostly laying around, inconsolable, and probably on the verge of collapse, vs. doing anything realistic to improve their lots while enduring life in a Japanese concentration camp during WWII.
It is Christian Bale’s character role, a vital one of a child who keeps things running for the adults around him in camp. Trading stuff, stealing stuff, doing whatever is needed to survive – living life in essence – while not becoming depressed about how things “used” to be. “Used to” won’t fill the belly or give one the stamina to continue. “Now” is all that matters. “Now” and working toward a better future, regardless of how undefined it may be.
Separated from his parents during the evacuation of the city, the Christian Bale child ends up alone, a boy on the verge of teenage manhood, adrift without direction and left to his own resources.
While my circumstances are nowhere near as difficult nor traumatic as what is depicted in this film, it is a touchstone of sorts for me about being strong.
As an adult orphan, I often remember my Mom’s teachings and straighten my crown in difficult times and move on. Difficult times test us, and our resiliency defines us. Everything else is window dressing.
At any rate, I tell you all that to tell you this – I think I just may be able to pull it off for purchasing my mobile home. Despite the realtor (my realtor!) bad mouthing me to the park manager, and despite her putting every obstacle in my way (so NOT protecting my interests, but I feel it’s better to deal with the snake you know vs. the devil you don’t) as I found this unit and – apparently – she wants it for herself. Luckily, the seller (also a realtor) liked me and held it for me, so this little drama isn’t over until it’s over.
I went through a very stressful time on Tuesday putting down the $3,000 earnest money and getting the purchase agreement / offer letter written to protect my own interests (while my realtor was trying to just wash her hands of my interests and get her cut). I needed to have $17,000 in cash in the bank in order to close the deal, and even after spending the money for inspections, etc., I should make it without having to call in any loans from friends. Yes !
As of this writing, my company has made yet another error in payroll, leaving me with $18k in the savings (when I’ve already given the seller $3k as a deposit against a total buy-in value of $17k). With more money coming that they owe me for RSU’s (cash value of stocks that are automatically liquidated), my employer can continue to make mistakes like that all day, and I won’t say “boo” unless they try and claw it back during escrow.
Still not sure how I’m going to be able to pull this whole thing off, but I’m straightening my crown and doing what I can to get through this very stressful time in buying a home when it was something I never wanted to be attached to after losing our home to auction in childhood.
The things that happen in our childhoods are the foundation for who we become. How we apply those lessons, though, is completely up to us for determining our individual happiness or misery.
I may have a back locked in spasms.
I may have a sty in my right eye.
I may have rashes appearing all over my body from the stress.
But, I will persevere because my logical brain knows that this is the best recourse for me, regardless of the short-term stress.
This is nothing compared to what Betty went through to leave an unfaithful husband. Find us a new home when he refused to pay child support and had the house auctioned out from underneath us. Lost one son to SIDs, and custody of another son to his father’s abusive machinations and manipulations and money. Dealt with the fallout from the emotional blackmail her ex wreaked on the kids when he would see them every 6 months or so.
I’ve got this. I choose to be happy. Come what may.