My great-grandmother Zoya has been a beacon of literacy for my entire family. I never met her in person, for my mother was a child herself when she died of rheumatoid arthritis. Her life motto was a Latin proverb ‘literrarum radices amarae, fructus dulce’, which means ‘the bitter roots of learning produce sweet fruits’. She worked as a teacher her entire life, was known for her wit, and a peculiar kind of eloquence and sharpness. She gave funny nicknames to people she knew. That’s how she expressed herself.
She got paralyzed in her 50s and wasn’t moving much. I know now that a paralyzed body is a reflection of a mind-pattern of being paralyzed with fear that prevents you from walking through life harmoniously. You become what you think, and what you think – you get.
If I were not aware of the power and frequency behind words in our spoken and written language, I would probably think that her passion for giving funny nicknames was pretty innocent. I do know that she suffered a lot through her life both emotionally and physically and had lots of unreleased and buried emotions which created that unhealthy condition in her body. These emotions were mainly unreleased anger and bitterness. Due to the family situation and turbulent political and economic state of the country throughout the 1920-1960s, she didn’t get to study at a university of her choice and had to move all the way from the town of Chernigov (now western Ukraine) across the Ural mountains to the western point of Siberia. She was the oldest of 5 siblings in the family suffering the loss of their mother to tuberculosis in the 1930s.
She has always been a role-model of literacy and inquisitiveness for several generations of my family, and for me personally. She was the one who taught my grandmother (her daughter) and my mother (her granddaughter) to read and enjoy reading since their early childhood. I have certainly inherited that myself but also related medical conditions and negative self-talk. Do you learn from your ancestry? What was the most significant lesson that it has taught you?