“Begin.” My grandmother’s voice commanded, crystal clear on a bright afternoon in the soft overtones of her parents’ home. She was behind the video camera, circa 1988. Her daughter was overseas in Africa with her spouse. Grandma missed them terribly — especially as two of her grandchildren and later a third, were growing up in Africa. She often recorded videos of family events, Thanksgivings or Christmases missed by my aunt, uncle and cousins. Other times, like this day, she would record random moments in time. A special few seconds of loved ones “just saying hi”. Brief, one-sided conversations.
Daddy Jim spoke, quavering, “I’m sitting here… watching the ballgame…”
“As usual!” Mama Jim cut in teasingly.
“No. I’m not usual…” Daddy Jim’s response brought chuckles from his wife and daughter. Some 26 years later, I was practically rolling on the floor. In this joke at least, I felt I could relate to Daddy Jim — a man whom I vaguely remember from my early childhood.
Failures, real or imagined, suddenly seemed negligible; laughable even, that I would ever have considered them inadequacies to begin with. Mistakes are but eccentricities from which we learn over time. Mole-hills enshrined in monumental insecurity. How often have I apologized, having found my own growth an embarassment? When do I stop asking for permission to be an adult or achieve my own goals?
I’ve spent a couple years looking for answers to my questions. Questions like, “How do I build self-employment from the ground up?” and “Can I REALLY do this exciting thing without a degree? How, I beg of you!?” and “What book do I need to read to educate myself on x, y, z… I need the author to not force his personal agenda on me, and if she could perhaps be just a bit snarky-haha in the presentation of it all, it’s appreciated.” It wasn’t until I went back to the video that I realized what had to be done to reach my dreams.