Growing a new family tree doesn't imply forsaking our ancestors. Amidst our journey to establish our own families, we've come to realize that the trees we originated from were sick. The sole means of nurturing a wholesome family tree involved extracting a seed from the decaying, withering tree of old and initiating a fresh start.
For those of us tracing our lineage to the Western world, we've inherited legacies of intricate trauma. Within our veins flows the blood of both perpetrators and victims. We descend from colonizers and the colonized alike.
I hold profound affection for my forebears. Simultaneously, I mourn for them – for the agony they both inherited and propagated. This agony has been transmitted to me.
The notion has frequently crossed my mind that giving birth to Rwandese/Jewish children essentially entails presenting them with a burdensome sack of trauma from the very beginning. Besides the evident historical trauma that undoubtedly accompanies them from birth, there exists concealed trauma, nestled in our bones, perpetually relayed as each new generation emerges.
I can't eradicate the historical and intergenerational trauma ingrained epigenetically within myself and my descendants. However, I can distance myself from the deteriorating framework that begets fresh trauma.
Constructing a new family tree signifies that, while I acknowledge my ancestry, I've resolved to discard the injurious and ruinous cultural customs handed down to me. I've reevaluated the manner in which I've been instructed to behave and what actions resonate as appropriate for me. This is an ongoing, ever-evolving process.