Dare I

Since the beginning of this blog, I have been asking myself if I should make this blog public or should I keep it private.

To understand why this question keeps popping up into my mind, I think I need to look at my origins, where I believe the source resides. It is necessary to reflect on where I come from, and to deconstruct who I am and the way I act.

I come from a little tiny village in the Prealpes Vaudoises, the little Alps I call them. It is a scenery made for post cards, wooden chalets with geraniums on balcony and windows in summer, the cows with their bells, the top of the mountains with a slight touch of snow… It sounds a bit cheesy..and it is! Yet it is truly beautiful and peaceful. If you have travelled in Switzerland, you would know that driving through the country isn’t that easy. Despite the size of the country, half the size of Tasmania, it is not easy to travel through. Windy and narrow roads, up and down the valley, through the pass, a tunnel here, a precipice there! It’s quite something. And it tells about how we, as villagers, have built our identity. Tough weather, secludedness, hardship needing hardwork. A community made of farmers, carpenters, timbermen, cheesemakers, the village life, its values, its cycles, the seasons. Humble, faithful, with a humble ambition. Of course, I generalise. But I think humility is more likely to be present in a villager’s identity.

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I remember my grandfather and my father, telling us stories about the old-time, where they had to ski down the village in winter, and walk back up, with food and skis on their shoulders, walking their way up through deep snow. The time when the traders were meeting every Thursday at the Market place, to sell their best milk cow.

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Perhaps my reluctance to go public with this blog comes from my village experience of humility, which I am proud of.

Obviously my issue of wanting to keep this blog private has several sources. As well as inheriting beautiful values about humility and hardwork, I think, at a more internal level, both my parents have inherited their lot of shame, which were transmitted to us, my sister and I…and intrinsically part of me.

Both my parents are from Rossiniere. They were born there and will probably die there. My dad’s mother was a strong Swiss woman, hardworker of course, caring and welcoming, but also controlling, opiniated and stubborn. She had a sharp eye, ready to judge and shame, and wouldn’t miss an argument. You had to be strong to argue with her. I think my dad had to work pretty hard as a young boy to grow into a confident man who could dare grabbing his own life. His passion for nature, his artistic sense and his gentleness must have been his way of becoming his own self. For my mum, being born a girl instantly gave her certain status. Not the flamboyant one. Instead, being a girl in my mum’s family was more about being a good servant, dedicated to help and work hard, humble (that word again), certainly not allowed to any ambitions. On the other hand, being a boy in her family would open doors to certain privilege, like accessing higher education or learning music. My mum’s brother was treated like a little prince, with favors and privileges, while my mum would have to work in the family restaurant, serving men. What saved my mum to become submissive was her strong personality, rebellious, energetic and bold, with a strong integrity.

When my mum announced to her father that she was getting married to my dad, he strongly disapproved. My dad was not good enough. When my mum announced to my dad’s mother that she was pregnant, my grandmother answered that it was not possible, as she knew better about her son and refused to discuss further. My mum felt diminished and ashamed, doubting her own truth.

I know where my humble self, the doubtful one, the justice seeker come from. All of those identities that I still carry are telling me to make this blog private. No need to share with the whole wild world… it’s only my little thoughts after all.

And yet, there was still something niggling at me…

It was during a conversation this week that I realised this blog could be a great process to get rid of my petiteness.. my sense of unworthiness and shamefulness.

Also, reading Brené Brown’s book, I Thought It Was Just Me (but it isn’t) http://www.brenebrown.com/books/2010/8/7/i-thought-it-was-just-me-but-it-isnt.html has brought some great light on shame and vulnerability, and the impact on our identity development, and on cultural and social norms. Shame is like having some kind of lid over our head or our heart, which deny our rights to grow. Daring to be

I am looking forward to read Brené’s last book Daring Greatly http://www.brenebrown.com/books/2012/5/15/daring-greatly.html). You can read more about Brené Brown’s work on her website. She explains that the phrase Daring Greatly is from Theodore Roosevelt’s speech,Citizenship in a Republic. Here is the end:

…at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly . . .”

Daring to be me.
I Am Daring Greatly

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6 thoughts on “Dare I

  1. I love it. So good to hear this inside view of Swiss life and the enduring effects of the learning from parents, ancestors and community. Good stuff!

    • Thank you very much for your kind words! I wish I could write more about those inner thoughts and feelings. And at times I cannot find words that suit at all!! But only we have to try. Thank you for visiting my blog!! And For Your comment. Much appreciated.

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