Thursday, May 19, 2011

Families, Lies, and Cicadas...What?

I feel as though I've stumbled on a a kernel of wisdom and that it's my duty to share it. It's not much, really, only that the great lie I bought into earlier in my life is really just that: a lie.

I guess there might be caveats, and I'll get to them in a minute, but the lie is this: your job is to grow up, get your degree (or your professional training or whatever it is), and move away from home, to strike out on your own and become rich or successful....far away from mom and dad.

For some people maybe this formula works. I guess, if you have a family you can hardly stand or you really think your career is you, that YOU, are not made up of a long line of ancestors who sacrificed their all to bring you into the world (I don't know, maybe they sucked or something), and you really don't NEED familial support. Maybe it works. Maybe the thing I'm calling a lie or a fallacy is your truth.

But I tend to think that universally, humans require each other. And the each other we have been designed into, is a family unit. So we're lucky in that sense—that automatically if all goes well, we're born into a network that's interested in our survival and willing to make sacrifices on our behalf. We grow up and are bonded to them not just through blood, but through the recognition that no one else on this earth cares more about us than our family.

Of course, I do speak of the best case scenario. There are people who truly do have families that struggle, that can't get it right, that are not enlightened enough to recognize the value of these things. Hopefully that will change, for them.

Mainly I'm talking about myself, anyway, because I'm tired of living far away from my family. It was fun at first and I learned a lot about myself and it made my relationship with Stoker really strong. I wouldn't trade that for anything.

But we've been gone for a while now, and our siblings have had kids and their kids are growing up fast and reaching milestones in their lives and the rest of our family will gather for things and be together and make the next generation of our family feel loved and supported—which is so important, I believe—and I'm not there.

Yes, when I was growing up, my siblings bugged the crap out of me. We fought and got irritated with each other, but sometimes we got along. That was pretty rare, I'm sure. The only thing I wanted was to get out on my own and not feel them breathing down my neck, telling me what to do (somehow, in my family, I fell into the role of being the One Who Needed to Be Bossed Around the Most...seriously. I got no respect, and I'm not even the youngest!).

But now that we're adults, they're the people I love the most out of everyone in the world, and I admire them the most and best of all, and even with how stupid and annoying I am (from time to time, on rare occasions), they still love me and want to be around me.

Problem is, now we all live in different states and I live the furthest away.

BUT, maybe I'd never appreciate my family as much as I do without having been (essentially) living in exile out here in this jungle. Right now I can hear the 13-year cicadas (Magicicada, Brood XIX) going crazy in the trees through the closed windows and WITH the air conditioner running, and I'm dying to be back in the arid desert of Utah. Yes, yes, it was voluntary that I came here and so it's unfair of me to call it exile. However, I've been trying to get back out there for years now (one way or another).

Also, I have to say that I appreciate the climate of Utah much better now than I ever did before. I found out, living here, that I have the desert and mountains in me and I'm out of place in a humid subtropical region.

I'll feel out of place until I can be back out there permanently, where my internal geography matches up with my surroundings. Some people move away and love it better than what they left behind. Others of us move away and feel homesick.

In any case. The big lie is that family holds you back. That every kid should grow up and strike out on their own, far away from home. The only thing that does is make you feel disconnected. What connects us to the human family is the family we're given at birth. If you have a crappy family, of course, that sucks, but you can build your own. That's the beauty of it—we're all given the power to create. Individuals with unhappy, dysfunctional families can build their own. Hopefully one that's not unhappy and dysfunctional.....

Family remembers who you are. And is it really necessary to leave that behind to succeed in the world? If so, I don't like that kind of success.

And so, without further ado, here are some pictures of the cicadas outside making an electrical mating sound almost as loud as a jet engine. I kid you not. And if the pictures aren't very good, take it up with my Motorola Droid :). It's his fault.

Empty exoskeletons on the underside of leaves. These are on the crepe myrtle in my yard.

The discarded exoskeletons surrounding the same crepe myrtle. 

Close-up of one of the exoskeletons.

An adult cicada of the Magicicada genus.

My neighbor just started mowing his lawn. Guess who's louder? That's right. Cicadas: 1, Mower: 0.

In case you're wondering, I'm pretty sure there are NO cicadas in Utah. Hmmmm. Welp. Maybe there are and I simply never noticed them before.

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