I spent this past weekend obsessed with Inuit culture.
I’ve been radically changing “rules” of my life that I had previously taken for granted—for example, busting out of relationships that used to seem impossible to leave, relationships with people who weren’t really cultivating me, just using me to fill a role in their lives.
Now I’m beginning to wonder if some of the goals I had been working toward were things I needed to be doing in order to survive during those relationships, or perhaps, things I pursued mostly as a reaction to those relationships.
In other words, who am I really, and what do I want out of life now that my circumstances are changing?
I find myself scrolling the Academics pages of random colleges (I skipped college back in the day), finding majors like Anthropology and Psychology appealing, even something like Native American Studies.
That idea brings me back to being a kid.
Maybe there’s something to that…
Have you ever tried to reconnect with your own childhood fascinations, Romantic things or concepts that made you really happy as a kid but maybe seem “impractical” in adulthood?
Here’s a list of mine:
- Leather fringe clothing and accessories
- Pueblos, teepees, igloos, wigwams…
- The way Pocahontas was super stealthy in the woods
- Walking sticks
- Log cabins
- Lynx (Remember dioramas? I definitely made a lynx habitat one…)
- Wooden beads
- Suede cord
- Building a fire ring in the woods with my parents’ landscaping rocks
- Fossils, looking for them on the beach at the lake
- Trees that grew sideways over a body of water
- Native drums made with animal skins
- Treehouses and all manner of fort building
- Tree trunks with a hollow
- Jasmine’s belly dance outfit/anything Arabic I was exposed to
- King Arthur-era dresses and circlets
- The “Quest for Camelot” movie (Not sure I would like it now, but I remember returning from the theater and pretending I was a blind warrior with a sweet stick weapon)
- Cabins with a grass roof
- Leather things: binocular cases, journal covers, etc. Things that seemed Sherlock Holmes-y. Photo corners
- My America books
- Multicolored corn!
- Shallow handmade rope baskets!! There was one at my grandma’s house. I’d put it on my head and pretend I was carrying the multicolored corn I had just harvested…
I showed my list to my husband. He wasn’t convinced that these types of lists would be that different from person to person, so I grilled him about his childhood so I could prove him wrong.
- Romans, Roman armor, togas
- Dinosaurs (“Which ones?”) T-rex, long necks—“They were just so big.”
- Star Wars (“What about Star Wars?) “The fact that Jedis were, like, mystical knights with, like, a code [of ethics.] And I liked the aesthetic of the bad guys.”
- Fort building
- Carving into trees
- Pocket knife
- Civil War
- Snowball fights
- Laser tag
- History, military history
- Colonial stuff
- Book about Israel Putnam
- Windows of church, iconography, grandeur, tradition, rituals, receiving holy communion
- A globe
- Reptiles, crocodile, Komodo dragon
I can tell he was into military strategy, decorum, respect, history, civilizations, and power, which suits his career as a videogame designer.
“Oh, and in the fourth grade, I asked my dad every night to play either Stratego or Chess.”
Of course he did.
It seems I was very interested in crafts, costume, beauty, tactility, nature, earthy Celtic stuff, and the many uses of animal skins.
Sometimes, my husband’s interests cross with mine, like when he sets out to make a video game about living in the Alaskan wilderness and tells me he might reference the Native tribes thereof.
So this weekend I researched the daylights out of the Inuit. Igloos. Caribou clothing. Sleds. Shamans. The Arctic sea animals they eat. I watched Brother Bear for the first time. I watched a “Let’s Play” of Never Alone. I researched the ethics of representing Native cultures in screen media so that my husband’s game stays respectful and likable.
I pondered these First Nations in the modern day and their plight of bouncing back from on-going racism and the atrocities committed against them in the past, like forced boarding school, for one.
Then I asked myself, where does Catholicism currently intersect with the needs of these people? And I remembered that one time of year when the church collection goes toward the “Black & Indian Missions.” (Doesn’t that name seem outdated?!)
I read this interview with Father Maurice Henry Sands, and it sounds like there’s much to be done in Catholicism regarding serving Native communities. I’ll definitely be paying attention to that world more and more.
What would be on your list of childhood delights? Do you see a connection between what you used to love and what you do now? What could you do in your adult life to honor those God-given proclivities?
Let me know what you come up with!