52 Ancestors: Proud

It’s been a long three months since I last contributed to 52 Ancestors and it feels that momentous changes have happened this summer. Slow and inevitable, like continental drift. But that isn’t the conversation for this post.

This is about bring proud. Having pride. In my family? My ancestors? Myself?

What is pride? You know, “the feeling or deep pleasure or satisfaction derived from one’s own achievements, the achievements of those with whom one is closely associated, or from qualities or possessions that are widely admired; confidence and self-respect as expressed by members of a group, typically one that has been socially marginalized, on the basis of their shared identity, culture, and experience.

Obviously, for me, this has some very clear connotations…

… and for somebody growing up in the 80s and 90s it was always a pretty big effing deal to see Pride around the world be reported on the BBC (and hearing the lovely and very serious Moira Stewart pronounce the word “hoe-moe-sec-sual” was always a pleasure). But that’s also not the conversation for this post.

It’s very easy to think that our ancestors are boring, that they aren’t sexy, that they lived small lives that were somehow unworthy. After all, we rarely see a humble agricultural labourer making an appearance on Who Do You Think You Are?.

But the thing that people seem too ready to forget is that all of those people, all of those families, they made it. War, disease, poverty, adultery, crime … whatever it was, whatever social upheavals threw them this way and that, whatever dramas both small and large befell them … they form an unbroken chain, link by link, down to you.

And something that I’ve had to re-evaluate over the last 18 months or so, that’s pretty fucking special.

So, yeah, I’m proud of them. I’m proud of the ones who thrived and the ones who just survived, the ones who left to seek their fortunes and the ones who stayed behind. But I am also proud of their end results. That is, you.

And therefore I am proud of me.


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