That’s the word that most comes to mind when considering how I feel about myself, my past and my possible future.
We all go through stages of self discovery. I’m happy to say I’m halfway into my forties and beginning to breath freely. It’s only now that I’m starting to get an idea of who and what I truly am.
The interesting thing is that despite the fact that often I wish I had a specific heritage to fall back on I understand that for people like me I have to create one for myself, that is specific to who and what I am. I can’t base it on where I have come from or rather where I wished I had came from.
My father was German,Jewish, Portuguese, my mother is Scottish and I was raised by a Dutch mother and South African father.
Imagine that: ‘ Hi, my name is Rachel, Maria, Clara Mac Gunther Von Deventer’……………………….eeerm, maybe not!
I am inordinately blessed in that I have found both sides of my family and been welcomed by them with open arms. My initial reaction was to long for the heritages they both represented. I wanted to immerse myself in the cultures because I believed that it would ‘complete me’ (thanks Tom Cruise!).
With that in mind I have no doubt that running through the moors trailing haggis and bagpipes and wearing tartan from head to toe would be a blast, but the truth has it’s own ideas.
The truth is a gentle whisper that always attempts to steer me in a healthier direction. The truth in this case is that I was born in South Africa. I am not a Scot, by birth, can’t understand the accent half the time and I’m quite comfortable saying things like ‘Aweh Ma se Kind’ and ‘Howzit Ma Broer!’.
Finding the Scots has been a wondrous thing. For the first time I can truly see where I come from. I can relate those parts of my personality that had no home with the adoptive folks. I get their humour, their passion, their craziness – it all makes sense. I even finally have an understanding of where this wild mop of hair comes from.
Sound like a contradiction? Well for now maybe it is, because truly I have no passion for South Africa and never have had, even before I knew my mum was from ‘over there’.
There is a part of me that wishes I could pack my bags and go ‘home’. I have no doubt I’d love it. But here’s the thing, it’s not home. That’s a damn hard truth to bite on. Adoption is a permanent seperation of child from parent. According to the paperwork I have no rights in Scotland, I have no mum in Scotland, I have no family.
Now from an emotional familial standpoint that’s absolute bollocks. I have found my clan. No matter what, I’m now included, but that said unless a miracle hits I will always be a South African.
I’ve been thinking a lot about all of this since finding my family and I realised that my natural heritages are the extra blessings given to expand my life and my spirit. My inner self, my belief systems, my passion, my art, my joys, my fears – these are the things that make me who I am. I have travelled a path through fear and pain and selfishness to bravery and wisdom, back to foolishness and back again to light.
I am wonderfully obnoxious. I am desperately silly, I am myself and as that self irritates me, I’ll change and where I’m victorius I’ll hold on.
I am all these things, and despite not being able to belong to a particular heritage, I am learning to belong to myself and count that as more than good enough.
I would love to be a crazy Scot, living in Scotland and walking the moors and for short periods of time I may well be. But in between that I am the person I chose….
I am a Rachel, Maria, Clara Mac Gunther Von Deventer – Woman of the World.