Friday, August 16, 2019

You Never Think You're Part Of History

Today I was thinking on the most influential years of my life, some seeming so far back and different than now that they are almost like another world entirely, and there is one experience that never fails to stick out. I am from North Carolina. I grew up and lived there for 27 years, as did my immediate family. There's no mistaking that it's my original homeland, and likely where many of my ancestors lived. When you're a descendant of white Europeans, that's all you ever really see, especially when you live in rural areas. Therefore, when it comes to the dating scene, you always see white couples, and so you eventually come to think of that as a norm for yourself as well. It never even really occurs to you that the land you're standing on wasn't originally yours, that there was another culture entirely who lived and thrived here before your people arrived.

I've been with many different kinds of women in my life, but one of the most passionate relationships came during my first year in college in 2007, and actually lasted off and on for a while after that. When I first started classes, I didn't have a car of my own, which meant I had to rely on my mother to drop me off in the mornings. The biggest problem was that she had to be at work very early, and the college buildings wouldn't be open at that time. The only place accessible was the lobby of the library, so I would go in there and sit until the library actually opened, then I would go up to the computer lab until the actual school day started. As fate would have it, there was a very beautiful Native girl who had the same situation as myself, and that's how we met. Her name was Heather, and she was nearly 100% Cherokee, the people who are the original inhabitants of the western North Carolina regions before the arrival of Europe. Being that my home was right next to the west, it made sense that the two people would continue to interact.

We were highly physically attracted to one another and hit it off almost immediately. Heather taught me a lot of things about her culture, even how to dance somewhat like a Native when she took me to the North Carolina POW WOW that year. I have a lot of good memories from her in every way, but until you sit down and really think about it, you don't realize that you're still part of history in this situation. I was still a white European mating with the Native girls. We were still carrying on that historical interaction between the two cultures, and she was one of the faces of the Native culture that still remained at that time. It reminds you that the past isn't that far behind in real terms, that the ripple still comes down to you, the descendants.

In the Goodness of the Gods,
Chris Aldridge.