My old friend Nakia asked me why I follow history or read up on the hardship of others. She asked what does it do for you? What do you do with that? I didn’t have a good answer and usually it just sits with me and I stew. That got me thinking? Why do I love history so much?
Thinking about it, I think its because in my family the currency of acceptance is knowledge. Are you smart? Are you a professor? Are you well read? We all have this mentality to our detriment. Overt loving and affection? Not so much. But a good argument about some historical or latest news of the day? That was worthy of attention! It’s your birthday? He’s a small gift. Oh you finished a degree? Lets have a party. It’s just how we’re wired.
With that as the backdrop, I needed to have a thing. I wasn’t like my father or brothers who were more of your engineer types… I needed a thing…. Information was my thing. Memorizing, synthesizing history and a great memory was it. It started with sports and baseball, and moved along into history.
Little did I know following along all that history would just become my thing. I need to know things… If something is happening… say, I watch a movie like the Chicago 7 thing, then I need to find out ALL about it. I’ve now read pages and pages on Abby Hoffman, learned more about Bobby Seales etc. I just deep dive. It’s happened for me with European soccer. I couldn’t just WATCH it. I needed to know it.
Where does this take me? It gives me confidence. The knowing. It quells some deep ceded anxiety that I need to show my family that I know things, that I can participate in our latest bullshit sessions. It was the currency of love (or respect)
With that in mind…. Nakia… That’s my answer…. why do I study the despair of humans and the history of it all… to be loved. To be in the know. To quell the anxiety I have over not-knowing. It’s soothing to know. Having the information later on? That may get me upset but the hunt? The need to know? That’s soothing.