In Our Legacy
TL;DR: What we entreat for ourselves in life when we do the things we do is we become known for doing those things.
Originally Written: 20-Aug-2021
Word Count: 907
Read Time: 4 minutes
Legacy is perhaps the most haunting of concepts in my mind.
I never met Merle Crowder, my grandfather, but, holy fuck was that guy perfect.
Dying shortly after my birth, the family patriarch was nothing short of a hero in everyone's eyes, including my father's.
My father was my hero, so the hero of my heroes was nothing short of a demigod.
This person blazed trails.
He served as a sergeant in the Korean War as a paratrooper and, there, this man earned himself some context.
Context, and some fucking Grade A level Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder when he returned home from war, a hero.
A hero in the eyes of anyone who came after him, which included raising six kids and the generations that proceed them.
Generations, including mine.
My grandfather was born before the Great Depression.
I... was born in 1990.
My grandfather, a French-speaking Canadian boy, immigrated to the United States as a young child.
As a young child, I had the lyrics to the Spice Girls album memorized. And girl, I was proud of it.
What am I talking about again?
It's one thing to do as one wants. It's another to be perceived as being a person who will do as one wants.
It's an even OTHER thing to be perceived as a person who will do as one wants at the bequest of one's legacy.
What am I talking about here?
What entreats us to think we are entitled to respect for what we have gone through in life in the face of having issues is the context we cling to when things go wrong.
Self-preservation is a bitch, ya'll.
When we get caught up in framing our lives as meaningful and significant, we lose meaning and significance.
Meaning and significance in what?
The moments of our lives worth framing are the moments of our lives that are the least glamorous for a photo.
They are the moments a filter could never enhance.
They are the moments laid bare to us when we see ourselves as humans in need and make choices affecting the course of our entire lives.
These moments are vital. They are crucial.
They come and go and there they went.
Time goes on and, after we are given a chance to show ourselves, we show ourselves for who we are.
Who are we?
Social media, at times, can be the biggest joke when one considers its intent of connecting to others.
A connection to others doesn't exist just because you have Wi-Fi connection.
It exists when we make choices that allow others to feel like they want to feel, even if they feel they can't feel that way.
Connections are what allow us to explore one another in ways we are too afraid to explore ourselves.
A chance to get a view of what it's like for someone else.
But when you don't talk about what it's like for you, how are you to know if it's any different than for someone else?
What if you thought the thoughts you thought were perfectly normal, but those thoughts were more than just thoughts?
What if the thoughts you thought were just thoughts were actually thoughts upon thoughts upon thoughts?
What if the thoughts about "what if" were more than just thoughts meant to assure one's survival?
What if I'm asking what if because I'm actually scared.
What if I decide to actually ask myself what I'm afraid of?
I'm afraid of dying and not being remembered or cared about in the same way as my grandfather was.
I'm afraid of dying alone and hated for the person I will inevitably become, at least in my worst of nightmares.
I'm afraid of not being good enough. Full stop.
I'm afraid of trying new things, at risk of showing myself a failure.
I'm afraid of people who may think of me as a failure.
I'm afraid of misrepresenting myself, my family, and my personal values.
But one does not reflect their values by being afraid of wearing them as one would a jacket.
One shows their values by expressing them, not thinking about them.
One determines their fate by stepping into it, not by backing down.
One accomplishes things by doing, not just trying.
My grandfather went to war that we did not win. Imagine someone telling him he was a loser for it.
The fuck they wouldn't. He was acknowledged, commended, and glorified for his struggles.
Even at times where he failed to show up as a husband to his wife and a father to his children.
But it doesn't matter, he left a legacy that overshadows that just enough to be swept under the rug.
My legacy, on the other hand, is to clean house.
Self-work is not just reversing one's own traumas and issues, but the traumas and issues of your parents and their parents.
As a person with PTSD myself, it is nice to say I can finally relate with my grandfather in some way and really feel it.
May you finally be able to rest, grandpa, after all those years fighting to survive when all that was left to do is thrive back home.
Wish you were still around so you could hear the secret.
A secret taking over twenty-five years to solve.
The secret behind the focus on all your war stories and accomplishments.
How you felt mattered more.
Rest in Peace.