I absolutely detest the amateur drinking holiday that is about to descend tomorrow. Green beer is one thing, but green carnations? Ugh. I mean I’m all for drinking in the AM, but not with a bunch of idiots wearing shamrocks and yelling, “Top of the morning!”*
That’s not Irish. For me, and for others I’ve talked to, growing up Irish Catholic is about keeping up appearances and trying like hell to hide all of the dark, family secrets. Whiskey works well to keep stamping them down. Although, I’m fairly sure there wouldn’t be as many secrets if it weren’t for said whiskey. And I don’t even intend to start in on the guilt that is apparently manufactured in the placenta.
Some of my friends are lucky. Their families at least want to keep family history alive, even if it may be misremembered. Not my family. By time I came along, so many closets and hidey holes had been built precariously upon one another, it would all come crashing down if anyone were even to whisper. And so, I accepted life in silence. I know absolutely nothing about my heritage, about my family. I don’t even know how my parents met. Seems silly, right? Just ask. I used to think it would be that easy. But we don’t know how to talk to each other. For years I tried, and it just wore me down. So now, I just smile and ask about the weather. It infuriates me to know that I will never know what happened in my mother’s childhood to break her into so many pieces, but I’ve had to chalk it up to not getting to know the meaning of life either.
I’ve done a good job in the rest of my life about being open (some think to a fault) and inquisitive (another fault). But, if you could have heard the silence in my childhood house, your ears would still be ringing with the nothingness. I’m just trying to create a new Irish for myself.
*this of course does not refer to a certain group in Manayunk, Go Forth! (lest they kick my ass)