Between reading Seth's blog today (Surely not everyone), and David Shenk's book (The Genius in All of Us) yesterday, I am reminded of one of my family myths that drive me crazy. There is an unspoken belief in my family that only one person can have any particular talent or skill.
I wasn't particularly conscious of this rule while I was growing up. I did not stop and think about the implications of "Oh, XYZ is the artist in the family." Nor did I notice that only their artwork got praised and everyone else's artwork was generally ignored, if not picked to death for not being as good as XYZ. Heaven forbid if it was actually better.
As an adult, and a member of Golden Dawn who has fought to get people to recognize that all members can bring something to the table, I have examined the effects that this particular family rule had on me; I have also kicked around the effects that similar rules might have imposed on other people.
I suspect that sometimes when I fail to follow up on a good idea that it is because I am not the person that the family rule says should be pursuing that goal. I suspect that part of the toxicity I recieved from my sisters is based on the fact that I am ignoring the fact that I am NOT the writer in the family. And I really should not be thinking about picking up an ink pen and drawing either. And let's not mention going to college and running a business.
What is my role in the family? Oh, I am the criminal black sheep of the family. Not that I have ever served a day of jail time, the statement probably still stands "Oh sooner or later, [Morgan] is going to end up in jail. It is only a matter of time before he does something stupid and gets caught."
Outside of some petty shoplifting as a kid, some minor damage to private property, and a couple of druken fights (ironically only in one of them was I personally drunk), I am fairly innocent. Another family member has screwed up worse, but it does not matter---I am supposed to be the criminal in the family, not them.
I am NOT the writer, the artist, the business person in the family, or even a decent human being. Or at least, that is what the family myth and rule says. It is just too bad that I am running out of patience and refuse to humor this idea any more, isn't it? After all, I would be such a better human being if I just accepted my place in the universe, and let others do what they are best at.