The Only Thing Certain in Life, is Death

At twenty something years old, you generally expect to be wondering which of your friends is going to get married next or have a baby next (which is happening) but you generally don’t expect to wonder which of your friends is going to die next. That’s something you shouldn’t have to worry about for at least another forty years.  Unfortunately that doesn’t seem to be the case anymore.

Almost two years ago now, a friend of mine lost her battle with cancer. About six months ago, my roomate suddenly took ill and passed after a couple weeks.  A couple days ago, a friend of mine decided to take his own life.  They say these things happen in threes, but how do you judge where it begins and ends?  And while I recognize that some of my friends are more “high-risk” than others due to their risky lifestyles or health issues or metal status, but the fact is- any of us could walk in the street and get hit by a bus today.  There are only two things for certain in life, and taxes are even iffy- but death is really just another fact of life.

We fear and cry over death, but who are we really crying for.  If you believe in Heaven or the afterlife, then you should believe the departed is in “a better place”.  Even if you believe that nothing happens when you die, you can take comfort in knowing that the deceased is no longer suffering from whatever ailment ended their life.  Once you’re dead, you don’t really know what you’re missing out on, so you can’t be upset over being dead.  So really we’re crying over our loss of that person.  We’re crying for ourselves, for the family and friends.  And there’s not anything wrong with that.  But regardless of what you believe happens after life here on Earth, it has to be better than suffering here.  It’s a small consolation.

And in the balance of all things on Earth, for every death there brings new life.  Or even more than one new life.  And if you believe in reincarnation, maybe you could see your loved one in a new shining face.  It could be a second chance.  Or you could meet them in again in “Heaven” if that’s what you believe.  Or you could be with them again in the dirt that grows all the living things.  Even if you believe in no form of afterlife, your matter is going to eventually fuel the growth of other things around you, essentially always keeping your “essence” on this Earth.

What’s in A Name? (Not Israel!)

I went to Torah Study last night and like many times before, the Twelve Tribes of Israel came up.  People were mentioning which tribe they were descended from and I was wondering how one would determine this? So I started to do some research….

It seems that the simplest was to claim a tribe is based on where you are from. The United States/North American is mostly descendants of Manasseh. Which works fine for the part of me that is Native American, but the rest only came to the United States in the past century or so.

So I tried to see who came from Italy. But there really is no tribe associated to Italy or any of southern Europe really. Perhaps this is because it was the home of the biggest Pagan empires: The Greeks and Romans.  The closest I could find was Reuben, whose descendants are from Northern France.  So they suggested that by looking into the heraldry of your name and coat of arms (this is much easier to do if you are from England, Ireland, Scotland, or Wales, by the way) that you could associate the symbols of your family heraldry to that of one of the tribes. So I started researching my name, which I’ve never really done. I’ve tried to research my direct ancestors, but never my name in general.

One article I came across said how much of the the area my family comes from (Reggio di Calabria) was actually destroyed by Mt. Etna on my birthday in 1908! Which is funny because this is shortly before my great grandparents were born and would have moved to the states!  I also learned that before that our descendants came from nearby Krotonas, Greece and settled Crotone and Cotronei, Italy (notice the similarity in the spelling!).  Cotronei would be the plural of Cotroneo, meaning everyone in that city is a Cotroneo!

But I digress.  I failed to find a picture of the Cotroneo or any similar name coat of arms anywhere online for free. So I decided to look up the Calabrese flag.  It’s a knight on horseback  killing a dragon next to a person praying.  Not very useful in relating to the tribes.  Another flag shows a crown over a sheild with four poles and two equilateral crosses all surrounded by an olive wreath.  Olive wreath shows promise.  Still another flag shows a tree, two equilateral crosses and a stone pillar- perhaps slightly more useful.  What about Napoli?  A black mustang on a yellow background- useful still.  Finally there’s the Sicilian flag featuring the trinacria (which funnily enough looks like a three legged swastika) and the head of medusa.  Fairly certain none of the tribes of Israel used a swastika.  One thing these flags all had in common is that they were on red and yellow backgrounds.

Still none of this helps. I’m pretty sure my family was straight up pagan.  Further research shows that while their are some Levite descendants in Northern Italy, most Italians are not of Israelite descent and are in fact descendants of Greeks, Canaanite and Edomites (the arch-enemy of Israel).  It is possible that through migrations and mixes of Greeks, French and Arabs that all occupied Sicily at one point I could be descended from any one of these lost tribes or none.  I could go through my mother’s genealogy, but it is such a mix (Irish, German, Native American and Bohemian) that I could still belong to any one of the tribes.  Alas, this brings us to the second option- associating oneself with whichever tribe whose characteristics you share.  This is the Israeli personality test!

So, upon some semi-extensive research and the creation of a rough little chart of positive and negative qualities, I can most relate to Reuben (emotional, empathetic, independent perfectionists), Nephtali (faithful, modest, reliable, musical, and needing a partner), or Issachar (intellectual, hard-working, lacking common sense, down to earth, pleasure seeking, know-it-alls with dominant women-folk).

So at the end of the day I really didn’t find the answer to the question I originally sought.  But I did learn that you can’t define yourself just by your name.  And I did learn some interesting things about the dispersions of ancient peoples, the migrations of peoples and the development of cultures and languages. And I also found interesting links between things like the 12 tribes of Israel and the 12 signs of the zodiac or the 12 birthstones and the 12 stones of the breastplate.  I suppose anything throughout history can be tied to anything else in history or in religion or culture.  It’s all about symbolism and at the end of the day a picture is worth a thousand words.  If I knew what to do with it, I would go back to school and study symbolism, just because it is so deep and fascinating.

Quarter-Life Crisis

I feel like, after the accumulation of everything that has (and has not) happened this year, I have reached a quarter-life crisis.  This is different from a mid-life crisis in that I don’t have a need to buy a motorcycle or date a man half my age or get my year’s salary in plastic surgery.  But it is very similar in that I feel the strong need for change, big change, and soon.

Unfortunately, like everything about me, my desire is at opposite ends of the spectrum in this too.  On the one hand, I hear the quintessential “clock ticking” giving me the strong urge to mate and have a family.  Which I would absolutely love and is my ultimate goal in life.  But like everything I consider doing in life, I’m gravely afraid of screwing it up.  The other part of me wants to pick up and move across the country or get a job on a cruise ship and travel around the world.  The only problem with either of those plans is the house I bought in hopes of moving towards the first goal.

With conflicting goals I basically have to decide now which goal I would like to pursue for my life. That’s a tough decision to make at my age! And, unlike Miley Cyrus, I fear I cannot have the best of both worlds.  It can be so hard to figure out what I want- and it never seems to be the thing I want a few weeks later! All I can know for sure is what I don’t want. And what I don’t want is to be stuck in my crappy, dead-end job, making not even enough money to pay for the house I’m depressed to sit alone in and therefore try to avoid.

In school they give you guidance counselors to help tell you what classes you should take. Why can’t there be life counselors to help you make grown up choices? Why can’t there be someone telling you what job to get. Or where to live. Or, most helpful, who to date? Heck I’d take guidance on just one of those and be doing a heck of a lot better than where I’m at right now!

I don’t know where I’ll end up next year, but I feel like it will not be where I am now. I hope it is not. I’m not sure I could stand it if it were. All it takes is one big change, and I buy at least a few months before I get sick of that.  I’m trying. I’m exploring my options and weighing out their merits.  But like always, I’m too scared to jump. Too scared to make that change myself. I’m to the point where I need something that will force me to choose. Something that will leave me no other choice than the right one.  Some cataclysmic event to finally change my stagnant life and get it moving again.

So I sit and wait. And pray for a clear sign. At the end of the day, life is all about choices. And I’m terrified of making the wrong ones.

Boys are Dumb, Throw Rocks at Them

My boyfriend and I finally broke up last week.  O sad, boo hoo, don’t worry it’s nothing I’m not used to (unfortunately).  That’s beside the point though because unlike everything else in the past year, this really isn’t about him.  The funny thing is is that even without knowing that we were broken up, guys come out of the woodwork trying to get with me, claiming they love me, etc.  Only they don’t actually know me.  I like to believe in love at first sight, but you usually confirm it by dating someone for a little bit before actually admitting it.  Funny thing is, anyone who thought they might have loved me only need spend a month or two with me before they quickly realize they don’t.  I kind of come from a line of strong-willed and independent women. My family is fairly matriarchal for the most part.  So I can see where guys get scared off.  I’m a fairly pretty, smart, and sometimes fun girl.  But those are not things to base love on.  And trust me, unless you’re in my inner circle, that’s pretty much all you know of me.  A lot of people seem to think they know me and they don’t.

And on a separate, somewhat related, note- guys you’re probably not going to get very far with girls if you proposition them before you even ask their name. Newsflash, I am more than just a vagina, so fuck off.

All In The Family

So I have to say- I love my family.  I never realized just how awesome my family is until my sister’s wedding.  Not only did my mom’s side and my dad’s side come together, but I realized just how much everyone has to offer.  Whether it was doing hair or nails or makeup, or cooking or mixing drinks, or babysitting, or decorating, or taking pictures, or opening champagne, or giving advice on life, finances, and religion- everyone helped in some way or another.  Seriously, my family could start their own town! Okay, maybe not a town, but definitely a comprehensive wedding services package!  Or, a quick and cheap remodel service- got $3500 and 3 days?- you’ve got a new kitchen! O, I love my family!

Blog Stats

  • 3,286 hits