I loved Saint Patty's Day as a child, a day everyone wore my favorite color and if I did too, I was free from raining for an entire blissful day.
I wanted to go all out in emerald shoes and minty leggings, dressed like Cindy Lauper meets a leprechaun, but instead I'd just hide my green shirt inside my snow jacket, hiding the color from my dad, hiding my secret yearning to be Irish and have a neat culture and own holiday.
My dad was born outside London, in a devout Catholic but English family. They still swear to this day to be related to royalty and to speak the Queen's English, not the SE London twang your ears hear. Around my family, never ever mention the Irish unless you want a spiteful nasty tirade of slur words and racist depictions. The Irish are worse than the blacks or gays or any other downtrodden group. They drink, fight, take jobs, and give the UK a bad name. They are filthy animals.
Therefore, to not disappoint my father, I hid my green shirt until out of his sight, and refused to admit any sympathy towards the Irish.
As an adult, I decided to trace my family tree and I found the unspeakable. Something my family denies, claiming my original record from the UK must be fakes because this family would never even speak I the filthy Irish. Yes, my grandfather hails from Port Glasgow Scotland of Northern Irish blood. Servants and near-slave laborers building ships and living in the squalor of the immigrants' tenements. I'm a quarter Irish from what I can tell, but I remind my family of my great Grandmother Alice Toll, an Irish immigrant. I feel the Irish in my blood and always have, an identity that was hidden but obvious.
When I told my dad, he believed me but said, "oh f% I'm Irish trash hub? Guess I have to learn to hate myself." The rest of the family, as stated, refuses to believe this truth, because someone as wonderful as my family would never ever "go Irish". My grand mother now even refuses to speak of my grandfather, a man who fathered her three children. Sure, they divorced when the children were teens, but he still existed. She has removed any photographic evidence of him, as has the entire family, so I haven't a CPR what my own grandpa looked like. If you mention his name she says l
"Who?". The Irish ancestry has addendum fuel to her hate, and now she asked anyone she meets, "you're not Irish are you?" And goes on a racist rant.
I seem to be the only one happy with my lot. I love Irish music and the music and accents and scenery of Ireland seem hauntingly familiar and "right" to me. I've traced where in Northern Ireland my family was from, the same town as actor Liam Neeson.
So there, family. We're Irish and I'm okay with it.