A Peek Into My Ancestry

After much anticipation, my DNA results came back via an AncestryDna.com test me and my wife both took about 5 weeks ago.  My wife turned out to be 83% British or something like that.  She was surprised in that she thought her maiden was name was German – which apparently it was not.

For those of you “ist” and “ism” bigots that don’t know I’m half-Armenian on my mother’s side and a mixture of European on my fathers.  I was actually expecting some sort of Middle Eastern mixed in due to Armenia’s geographic location and it’s history of invaders, conquest, and overall movements of demographics in the last 2000 years there.

What I didn’t expect was some of these other results.

I knew of the English on my dad’s side, but the Irish/Scots/Welsh and the Southern European and Iberian were surprising. Obviously, the European Jewish part surprised me.

Justin Timberlake may be a man of the woods, but I’m a man of antiquity and the high middle ages.  I may just now be a walking poster boy for Diversity.  The Tech industry needs to hire me now, though I can’t promise my worldview will be the same.

Back to a serious note.  It’s enjoyable and instructive to know where your ancestors came from, but who am I really? We have these weird awkward conversations about “racial” and ethnic awareness with the types of people you really don’t want to have those conversations/awareness with if you like your job and need to pay your mortgage.

But even these same people are in a dire boat in the modern digital age of loneliness. Their identities exist in a Western old vacuum that can’t be replicated anywhere else.  Obviously, this is specifically true of the political and sociological identities people have inserted themselves into, often in the most tribal ways – American politics for instance.

What these people don’t have is any real identity not tied to that.  For instance, if some “African American” – a crappy term – goes over to Ghana, how much are they really going to have with Ghanans?  What about Nigeria, Egypt, Chad, or Ethiopia?

They don’t know if they are even from the same tribe, group, or nation – which they likely aren’t.  For all they know, they were some of the slaves that the Ghanans took and sold to the entire world.  They don’t speak the same language – that’s a big deal.

The cultural mannerisms, traits, and norms are entirely different.  They may even call you a slur which means white. If you don’t speak the same language, you’ve lost a lot of what might make you even remotely “similar” to them, and don’t be surprised when they accuse you of “Cultural appropriation”.

You may discover you’re ancestors were slavers, slaves, conquerors, or great empire builders.  It’s a bit of a mixed bag in today’s modern oppression culture where everyone wants more oppression cards to play.

All that said, I get it.  Wouldn’t you do the same thing? Modern life in the digital 21st century has been stripped to its bare parts by globalism and people’s identities, cultures, and traditions have been shattered.   However, people still need an identity.  They need to find a reason, purpose, and motivation to live and build a legacy.

Take me for instance. I’m proud to be half Armenian and the various other mix of ethnicities.  However, how much do I have in common with them? If I went back to Armenia right now, would I be able to say that I have a similar life with similar situations, standard of living, and a shared plight and condition?

I don’t think I could.  I’m not in a country where it’s borders are filled with rocket, mortar, and machine-gun fire over disputed land on a frequent basis.  Armenia could very well be overwhelmed by Azerbaijan if a war broke out and the country could be decimated for generations.

Yes, I am a descendant of Armenian survivors, but I don’t speak the language, know just a few foods, and only rarely have been to the Armenian Church – the center of culture – with the exception of funerals.   My sons won’t have an Armenian identity or that of any other ethnicity.  They will likely be a product of American midwest culture.

Of course, I want them to know where they come from, but where they are going is a foundation that has to be built. So many of the identities that people cling to today are built on shallow ground and foundations that will inevitably shatter.

The past is one source that contributes toward an identity, but it can’t be the only one. Look to the communities and the people that surround you now – that is part of your culture. You can influence how it’s shaped, or you can build identities based off “opposition” to the tribe you don’t like.

Don’t be surprised though when you have nothing to live for once that tribe is shattered.

P.S.  If you are wondering what someone with the above mix looks like here’s n example of what I look like with a beard. It’s not full yet.

The Steps Of Life – The Early “Patriarch”

Patriarch. Patriarchy. Such delicious terms that always cause a firestorm when you throw them around. Granted they mean as much as the word “fascist” does these days, but they are still great words to make a point with.

I’m not a Patriarch.  I don’t think anything even remotely like it is possible in the World anymore – even despite it’s original failings.  That said the word brings about some worthy triggering, so I intend to use it as much as possible.

Recently, my life has become like one of those sack races at a school party.  My wife is in the sack with me – almost twice a day on average – and often we are trying to hop in different directions when it comes to our plans, ideas, and how we want to spend our time that day.  Our marriage is yet young. As we seek to better communicate and understand the stubborn other, a new path in life opens.

As the experts hum repeatedly, much of marriage is all about communication.  Usually, you don’t start off to well in that department.  The specific verbal and non-verbal manner of that communication is a different skill all in itself – one that is often unpolished.

Through the communication we stumble through now, I’ve learned something important. Your priorities will shift so much in your life – especially with an infant that much of what you did and who you were before marriage wont be the same.

If you want to be that great family patriarch of old, most of your available time in a day must be spent nurturing your family – specifically your wife in the early years and your children.  Just as anything substantial in life requires much time and investment, your family is no exception. (Infants are quite the time investment when they won’t fall asleep at night and continue to cry.)

I’m now building my legacy, but that is a time and life investment that will consume my time in life.   Less going out with friends to the bar.  Less video game binges into the wee hours. Less wasting of time period.  My hobbies now tend to include research about the best ways to get my son crawling early and my social activities tend to involve my wife.      (Father and son hobbies will come as my son grows older.)

In a way, I’m being forced to be more productive and deliberate as to how I spend my time – an odd side effect of having a family that I had no clue about.   It is however a welcome one, in that it forces some discipline upon you, something I’ve struggled to do over my life.   Dragged by my heels to be better, so to speak.

Much of my generation is hedonistic in we view ourselves.  Usually, it’s all about what makes me happy and satisfied now and anything that get’s in the way is a problem – or in the cases of some RP enthusiasts – supposed Beta behavior.   What most players don’t realize is that when you get married, your wife needs your time. It can feel a bit strangling at times with a loss of space being your gut instinct, but new instincts will develop as your marriage goes on.

Essentially, if you want to build that next generation and a culture that will last your excess pleasures, desires, and frivolous hobbies will have to take a back seat.  It becomes less about what makes you happy and more about what is necessary for the success of your family.  I’m selfish and I’ll admit it, a hard RP to swallow is that what makes me happy isn’t necessarily going to make my wife happy or even my children.  (Have another one on the way in that department.)   Basically, we mature as men because we must.

Some men might take it as the nail in their coffins of their prior lives, but it simply means that a transition is taking place.  What I’m realizing now is that if you want a family, a legacy, love, growing old together, and many of the usual romantic dreams, much of your bachelor self will shed it’s skin permanently.    So in order to get your new skin, you have to shed the old.

I no longer have as much time for video games and my usual pleasures of flesh. Instead, I often limit them to an hour a day at most so I can focus on spending time with my wife – who needs my attention and help even more so being that I knocked her up again.

Remember, marriage is a different adventure and the “skills” needed are far different from the arsenal of most players.  You will have to stop being a selfish bastard where everything is about you, while maintaining the self-confidence and fervor of an Olympian. Finding that key balance becomes as valuable as gold and a key component into becoming that patriarch.

In a young marriage, your wife is needy – as is mine – specifically when it comes to pregnancy.  When you decide to have your first kid, pregnancy adds another element to that neediness.  We hear alot about shit-tests but not alot about comfort tests.

I recall a conversation with my wife when she was in tears about how I didn’t comfort her, wrap my arms around her, and tell her everything was going to be okay when our son was in the NICU for 3 weeks after he was born. She wanted me to hold her in my arms and not let her go.   I was supposed to be strong, but while I thought I was, I didn’t pass that strength on to her.

Logically I thought that she already knew she had my support – and I was coming to be with her everyday in the evening when I got off work.   (Remember how powerful and dominant a woman’s emotions are, especially after birth.)  However, I didn’t verbally communicate my thoughts on how she was feeling and how everything was going to be fine. I probably wasn’t physically affectionate enough either and obviously we couldn’t bond and come together through sex in the weeks after birth.    (You really do have to be on your game and making it an intrinsic part of yourself.)

This was a hard lesson for me to learn.   Men… we often have to learn how to love – both in how we show and how we do it. Love is what girls so desperately need, just as respect is something men need when it comes to marriage.

Now do you lose who you are? Everything that makes you… you?

No.

Your family becomes you.

My son Julius.
My son Julius really likes bathtime.

I as a man and father, and my wife as a woman and a mother, are now putting our feet on the next step up the stairs of life.  It’s all happening very fast as is the excitement about it.   About 3 months ago, we moved down to Missouri.  I won’t say where, but I do like what I see down here.  Housing is cheap – though so are wages.

(Luckily, I’ve got a job in which I can make a good amount of money.  It’s a sale job, and I will essentially have to internalize game in a sales oriented manner. )

Arguably, it’s probably one of the most important skills a man can learn that he can apply to many other aspects of life.  I never realized its application that many had waxed eloquently about until training for my current job.  (Also, a quick pro-tip I’ve learned: He who complains the most gets the most. Furthermore, me and my wife are going to be moving into an apartment, which is will be our first place on our own with each other.

I often want to help men who struggle with women out – as I see who I was in them. At the same time, I’m also realizing that men with families really do need other family men to come together to eat, drink, converse, and to sharpen each other’s lives.    The conversation at the table really will differ then it did in our bachelor days. Behold, the next step in life.