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Tuesday, May 24, 2016

It Takes All Kinds Of People To Make History - And We Need To Know Them All

I've always been fascinated by history. I've said more than once that if I weren't a writer, or an actress, I would have loved to have been a cultural anthropologist. Those three things are related, as far as I'm concerned. Think of all the stories that anthropologists and archaeologist unearth! And they get to tell them, reimagine them, disseminate them. It's just fascinating.

Of course, much of that comes from the written word, wherever it has survived. The only problem with that is that history is often recorded by the winners. It's susceptible to the same journalistic slants and prejudices we have today, but back then, there was no internet around to substantiate or refute anyone's words.

And being a man's world up until the most recent of times, much of that surviving history was written by men, and about only men. History only recorded the women if the men hated them severely (like Cleopatra or Boudica) or loved them passionately enough to erect a monument or write a sonnet about them.

I got to thinking about this when I read the story of Lhakpa Sherpa, the most successful female Everest climber of all time (with an astounding six ascents) who is now living as a housekeeper in Hartford, Connecticut. Nobody outside of a tight-knit group of Everest climbers knows her name.

I don't know if history will remember her or me in a thousand years. Maybe that's why we as women work so hard to create the best lives for our children. They are the messages we send forward. They carry us with them, for good or for ill, and pass down the lessons learned from us and in spite of us.

A world full of people, and a history full of their stories. I just wish we knew them all.

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