Dad and I back in 1970
Finding your Roots, Finding Yourself
Most people know their family history, some of it may not always be pleasant, but it is intact and gives them the understanding of who they are. Others have a detachment that lingers through their life that gives them a constant wonder of that sliding door.
I am one of those people. After watching the movie “Lion” about a young Indian boy who got lost and separated from his family “Saroo Brierley”, it got me thinking about how circumstances in ones life determine their outcomes. How much of our lives are guided by our environment and how many decisions are made from our genetic make up?
With so much of our lives being dictated by societal guide lines, such as school, parents and employers. So from watching this movie it got me thinking about my own life, and how much different it may have been if the uncontrollable events may have been different. I have made some very foolish decisions which have created chain reactions, but I am talking about the situations that affect you which have consequences that may not surface till well after the event. What I am saying may seem vague at this point, but this is my story and the feelings I am currently experiencing.
At the age of four years old, my father died of a major heart attack when he was only 34. My only recollection of this night was my mother screaming his name in the bathroom which was situated right next to my bedroom. I remember her telling me to go back to sleep and have no memory of any events that followed for about a year. Not the funeral or anything. Only that her parents came over from England to be of support. We had only migrated to Australia two years earlier.
My father was a motor mechanic in the navy before we left England, and owned the BP service station across the road from GM Holden in Dandenong. It was a thriving business, which he was setting up to bring the rest of his family over to work with him.
Now this is what has got me thinking about the “Sliding Doors”. A year later my mother met a man, who soon became my stepfather. He was a wonderful person, and took myself and my two sisters under his wing as if we his own. He had a daughter who as older than all of us, and a couple of years later my younger brothers were born. He was a simple man, and generated a lot of love, and supported the family using all the skills that he possessed. With a large family, we never went without, but we were brought up to ‘settle’ for what we had and not ask for more. So I now believe this to be an environmental paradigm. My mother never spoke of my birth father as it broke her heart when he passed, and also she felt it would embarrass my step father. It is a stupid English thing I think.
But I always had an inner drive to want to achieve greater things, which I have now come to understand that is the genetic downloading. Until recently I never really knew my fathers side of the family, as it was never encouraged by my mother, mainly due to distance and the lack of communication apparatus that we possess today. As a child I followed my environmental guidance, by doing well at school, playing sport and being led astray by my friends, or visa versa. This distracted me from ever wondering about my roots, and as it was never encouraged, it was never an issue. Then as a young man, it was all about chasing women, getting better at the sports I played, alcohol, and experimentation in many other vices. Life seemed to be pretty cruisy, but there was always something missing, something I just wasn’t getting.
My passion in my early twenties was playing Australian Rule Football. I was a handy back-man and one a few awards, including a premiership with some of the best friends I have had in my life to this day. I as constantly changing jobs as I have an aversion to authority, but mainly because I just get bored with routine. So here is my first question before we go through my second “Sliding Door” of life. If my father hadn’t of passed, would I have become a mechanic and a businessman like him? My stepfather was a hard worker but had no ambition than settle as a mainstream blue collar employee.
Now comes the second “Sliding Door”. After building a reputation at my football club as a reasonable player, in 1990 I injured my knee severely and really couldn’t get back to the standards I had previously set myself. Many at the club drove me to try and get me back into the game, but after a couple of relapses, my heart just wasn’t in it anymore. So I made a conscious decision to myself and said I am going to say ‘yes’ to everything. I wasn’t going pass anything by, even if it set me backwards for a while. I just felt it is better to know than not have a go.
I always had a passion to create things, but was never driven by financial or material gain. And to this day still aren’t, as my bank balance will show. “lol” I didn’t really want to put that in there but just felt it was appropriate. So I put my to performing on stage in amateur theatre, stand-up comedy, extra work in movies and TV. Not that I was ever driven to become rich and famous, but mainly because it was just fun. I went to Perth and got involved in the production and promotional side of running comedy rooms and became quite good at it, till my girlfriend at the time wanted to move to the east coast. It was an amazing eight years of living free of any restrictions, and taking thoughts from my head and bringing them into reality.
Now for “Sliding Door” number three. Six weeks after arriving in Brisbane, my girlfriend, or should I say now ex-wife, finds out she is pregnant. I am now given the ultimatum to get a ‘real’ job or never get to see my son. At the age of 34, I succumbed to fact that maybe my family clock was ticking. So I gave up all my creative juices to be dried up again working for the man driving buses and trucks. I don’t regret starting a family, as I have three beautiful and wonderful children. But after 10 years of living in the environment that someone else is creating, the genes kicked in again. I needed to take control again, but my ex-wife wasn’t willing to support me, so I had to make the hard decision and do it alone. Now this isn’t a sliding door moment, as it is my control.
I didn’t want to do anything that I had already done, because that would defeat the purpose of creating, it would be only re-creating. So I began making videos for You Tube. I developed a few new characters, and began a whole new learning curve of writing, acting, filming, editing, post production and promoting. Now most people will only do one of these tasks, but I had to do them all on my own. And it was all self education, but fun at the same time. In the end it became a little overwhelming. I took one of the characters on stage to see if that passion was still there, but no.
Then comes “Sliding Door” number four. After a work place injury, and long drawn out compensation battle which nearly ended in nothingness. I decided to write down a story that I have had in my head for a long time. Rather than become a couch potato because I couldn’t work, it was time for a new venture, a novel. But it wasn’t going to come easy. I sat down at my computer to write and an update box appeared. As I hit the button, my first instinct was, “I shouldn’t have done that.” The next thing I know is that a virus has disable my computer. But I wasn’t going to give that easy and grabbed a handful of copy paper and started writing. In three weeks I had 224 pages and 65,000 words all hand written. Volume 1 of the ‘Angel in a Demon’s Cloak’ was complete. The next book was initially written as a script, which was ‘The Crusty Bus Driver’ and then came volume 2 in the Angel series.
And this it where I come to find my roots. After the settlement was finalised, I decided to complete a life long dream and head to Egypt as that is where the scene will be set for volume 3 in the series, but also to head to England to see my fathers side of the family.
It was a really bizarre feeling as I left Dubai to head for Heathrow. I had this overwhelming sense that I was heading home, yet I was only two years old when I left. Going through customs, I was harassed by a lady wanting to know why it took me so long to get back there, but the best thing was that my cousin didn’t even know I was coming. The look on his face will be embedded in my memory forever.
This trip explained so much about my genetics, as I actually met people who thought like me and acted like me. I found out more about my father in 4 days than what my mother had told me in 40 years. It is amazing how that genetic family connection is so well bonded, even though we don’t really know one another. Yet in a deeper energetic sense we know everything about one another. At 50 years of age I have finally found my roots, and have found people in my life that understand and support my decisions, and not just throw them away as just Marty doing more crazy things.
But those “Sliding Doors”
We have no control over when they open or close. We have no choice but to move through them and deal with whatever situation that life throws at us. We cannot have regrets, and dwell on what is left behind the door that closes behind us. But we can let our genetics, our lust to rule our own lives and not be dictated by our environment.
Find your Roots, find out what naturally drives you, and place your bets on yourself, as I promise you, it will be a winner.