Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Christmas this year!

I really had such high hopes for this holiday season. No working retail. It sounded like a good start. I even decorated a big tree which my roommates love and several visitors have complimented us on. It all worked for a few days. Then reality set in. All the Christmas trees and music and holiday sweet treats are not working.


I had a wise friend of mine who I chat with over the Internet just put my dilemma so simply today. He talked about how his family is in no way traditional. He is a fellow adoptee and talked a bit about his struggles with his family. It made me realize that perhaps I'm fighting for and wanting something I won't ever have with my current family. Maybe I can find a spouse who can give me what I am looking for. But with the personalities of my family right now it will never be "traditional". That would involve me changing them to fit my ideal and that just won't happen. To their credit, my parents have come a long way in being more sensitive. But those annoying personality things will always be there. The sooner I accept that, the better off I will be. I just get so tired because of the face I have to put on when I am around them. I can't be myself around them. I never have been able to. I have to be the me that they are comfortable with. I know that this is a common dynamic with parents and their adult children. It doesn't change it from being utterly exhausting and fodder for self-flagellation for months to come. I realize that there are people who feel misplaced in their natural families. it just seems a lot more common in families touched by adoption. I hate it. I crave having somewhere to belong. I really want to believe that my family has my back. They do help out a lot but some of that is contingent upon the face I present to them.


I put on a face for the world. It says that I'm ok with being a lone wolf. Most of the time I am. I also know that we humans are programmed to be interdependent, to need each other in various ways. I guess the trick is to find the healthy balance of independence and dependence.....interdependence. Throughout my life I have reached out and tried to include people in my life. Some say great and stick around for a little while. Some say whatever and stick around even less and some have flat out said no. I know that is just the way life rolls and I can accept that. Humans tend to have some sort of game or angle or need that they are stealthily trying to fulfill. This adoption thing is me. Its part of my package. I've had everyone tell me all kinds of stuff about how I should feel and how I should deal with all the crazy feelings I have about my adoption. They try to fix me. They always have. It destroys the happy stories they've always been told about adoption. Yes I am not good for adoption image and PR. It messes with people's equilibrium for me to be like this. So to make themselves feel better I become a fixer upper project. I cannot stand that! I am me. I am occasionally witty. I try to be empathetic all the time. I like to smile and laugh to get a break from the constant dull ache in my heart. I have my issues but I am trying to deal with them in my own way and learning more and more all the time. I've had to learn and relearn a lot of things about human interaction throughout this process. Just because I want to spread the truth about adoption and increase awareness does not mean I am an evil monster.


I took a dumb quiz on the Internet not too long ago where one of the questions really summed up how I feel right now about the holidays. It has been there in the past when I worked retail because the same feelings would come up watching the lengths that people would go to for the commercialized ideal of Christmas. It was sickening. My head would literally spin. But I digress.....back to the quiz. It said something along the lines of when do you know it's the holidays. One of the answers was.....when I have once again lost all faith in humanity. This is too true for me. I thought I might escape it this year and be able to stay hopeful because of not working retail. The election this year about did me in. In past election years I have tried to get involved and then just lost it because of the whole game of politics and how dirty and ridiculous things would inevitably become. But I stuck it out. It took me weeks to decompress but I somehow managed it.

I voted for Obama because I felt that he spoke to hopes and dreams. I felt stirred up in fear and loathing every time I listened to McCain and the thought of Palin just gave me the dry heaves. For my own sanity, I can't afford to lose all faith in my fellow human beings. I'm already wrapped up in various fears about my past and how to live my life now. I have to have some hope. For example, I want to believe that I made the right choice by voting for Obama. I want to believe that he and his buddies had NOTHING to do with the whole Blagojevich thing, not just being two steps ahead of it. I want to believe in you Pres. Elect Obama. Please don't make me a fool for believing in you. I'm willing to stand up and do more to help out like you asked for. I'm kind of worried about Rahm Emmanuel and Hillary Clinton as Cabinet choices. People like Joe Lieberman and Evan Bayh are sticking in my brain too. These two are the guys who are going to be the monkey wrenches for Obama. Between these guys and the fact that Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi seem to be showing more of their true colors I'm starting to lose the hope that I felt on November 5th. The fact that Palin's 15 minutes haven't run up yet and blowhards like Mitch McConnell and Saxby Chambliss managed to get reelected make me want to put a gun to my head. Then there were a couple of local elections that just iced the cake of ridiculousness. See! I told you! Politics make my head explode! I need to believe that Obama really isn't going to be Bush-Lite. On that note, I need to believe that Bush, Cheney, Rove, Wolfowitz, Rumsfeld etc. will not be able to escape justice anymore. They need to be held accountable for their actions. There needs to be justice for Darfur and people caught under regimes like Mugabe's too. There needs to be justice for those whose greediness has brought our economy to its knees. There needs to be justice for all the things done in greediness to this planet of ours. We have been given a stewardship and we are failing at it. There needs to be justice for all things done in private which have so completely damaged the lives of its victims. People who profit off of other's pain and misfortune are particularly irking to me. They are the ones that I would most like to see brought to justice. I come from Christian upbringing and have spent a lot of time trying to reconcile everything done in the name of God, religion, etc. It is utter insanity. No love, just greediness and selfishness. I believe there will be justice in the end. That brings me a lot of comfort. But how many people have to die and suffer so exquisitely before the justice comes?

Saturday, December 13, 2008

The Spy Book Genre Writers Should Study My Life...

War games, espionage, KGB/CIA etc. That's nothing. We're talking about true mind games here, memory erasing, everything. Only a select few know the classified dealings of the innermost sanctums of our lovely United States government. For this level of concern, I must have known something or been something truly dangerous even though I was only a newborn baby. Maybe my birthmother or father knew something they shouldn't have and this was their punishment. So the plan moved forward. Let's take a look at the secret meeting. Pan left on the scene opener where I was given a substitute family for "my own good". Hell, they done themselves good! They are scoring themselves a bonus because they say I even look like my substitute family. It's all too perfect. The ruse is completed with a nice pat on the back. Now the kicker is to say that this child must never know. We will lock up her identity and make it so she never finds out the truth. She might even grow up knowing she's with a substitute family. In fact, we'll encourage it. These new parents should let her know how she was "saved " and that she is "special" and what "blessing" she is. But all of this is top secret classified. Everything is done by intermediaries. The more "cloak and dagger" the better. Why is all this stuff "for my own good?" Because I am………….A BASTARD CHILD! 32 years later I'm still a bastard child, not a bastard adult! Oh the horrors! I need to be protected from my illegitimacy, from the stain of my birthparents' sin.

I have a few words to say to these lovely people!

Oh wonderful day! You have saved me from myself. You have protected my parents from ever having to face the consequences of their actions. How can I ever begin to thank you oh mighty and fallible US government and corrupt and sanctimonious adoption industry? Truthfully, you really have not done any of us any favors in the way you do business. I am not a state secret. I am not a commodity to sell to the parents willing to pay the highest bid. I am a human being. I may not have been created in the "ideal" state of marital love but that does not mean that I don't deserve my roots just as much as any other human being. My life is a paradox. I have dual realities to live with. I was both chosen and denied. Do have any idea of the confusion and helplessness that comes from trying to reconcile these dual realities? There are some valuable tools that are missing thanks to you. It gets kind of tricky improvising too. It's just a whole rat's nest that is difficult to explain and it's sad that I even have to say these things. So here's a novel idea! Let my birth parents and I decide if we want to be in each other's lives. Biological ties exist for a reason. By holding my information for ransom you are profiting from my losses and deciding what is best for me. Who are you to make that decision for me? Who are you trying to protect? Why do you keep tying hands when the logic that pervaded in the past has been proven wrong time and time again? Us adoptees and birth families are hurting big time. We don't need to be protected. We need the truth. Please stop profiting off our pain and let us make the decisions we need to make for our relationships. If some of your dirty dealings in this area are exposed then the public will be all the better for it. We already ready know you make mistakes. We see evidence of it every day. Quit trying to make yourselves look better than you are!


Self Imposed Silence Comes At A Price

Don't ask me why I do this. I'm kidding myself when I act like I don't know the reason for my brain stuffage. I know exactly the reason why I have been so silent this week. It's because on Sunday I was in a room with about 30 people. There was a discussion going on about documenting one's own life so that the future generations can have record of life on this planet….at least the ones that will exist until the earth blows up, burns down, floods over or whatever catastrophes of Biblical proportions are to come. I understand that everyone has their struggles and things that they are not proud of or painful memories they would rather not rehash. I was absolutely dying by this point because I KNOW without a doubt with all the things that I have been through that………

1.) Painful memories don't get easier by refusing to think about them. No matter how far you push them away or stuff them down with food or drown them out with alcohol (pick your vice) it just simply does not go away. In fact the harder you push, the more it festers. That is why my 20's sucked so badly. All the anger and hurt and frustration that I had been stuffing down unconsciously with food for all those years growing up came tumbling out in a very messy way and I'll be damned if I could stop it. Once I read the adoption books and started exploring that avenue I told myself that I hadn't known that that's what all my sadness was attributed to. I know I even said it in my maiden blog post. But if I want to be totally honest with myself I truly have to admit that I did know and that I was not letting myself go there. That would mean that the face I had put on was false and that I really wasn't OK with being adopted. In fact I was very pissed off. But I couldn't be pissed off. I couldn't risk being more ungrateful than I already was told that I was.

2.) I really just wanted to tell these people to stop being so selfish. Their progeny was going to want to know them. If their children and grandchildren etc. choose to judge them unkindly because of things they did or went through then that is not on their heads. What will be is the fact that they are not providing a history for them to know and to learn from. I know next to nothing about my birth family. I know loads of stuff about the family that I was put into and told that their history would be mine. I'm sorry but it doesn't work that easily. I would be ecstatic beyond belief to know my natural family. Everything in me CRAVES it. I don't care about any of their skeletons or foibles or whatever. I just want to know something about me and where I come from. I have a partial history aka my memories of my years on this planet. For my own sanity, I really do try to not let what I don't know ruin what I do know. Sometimes I really can't help it. When I get into conversations or situations where I see people who take that for granted it just gets to me and I react very viscerally. I shouldn't. I pretty much have to forgive the world for its ignorance because it is such an unbelievably primal feeling to be able to look at their families and see themselves mirrored. Most people just do not have the framework to be able to comprehend what it would be like to not have that. Adoptees do. I was told quite a bit that I look like my family so some people never believed that I was adopted. That never worked for me because I know just how different I am from my family. Looking back now I realize that it only served to rub salt in the wound because it implied that I shouldn't have felt uncomfortable because not only was I "saved", I also got the privilege of "looking like" my family. A close to perfect replica. Isn't close enough good enough?

This sounds like a lot of thoughts to be having. Believe me. It's easy for thoughts to race like this when discussions are touching you in such a raw and visceral way. But this is the kicker. I never spoke up. My thoughts were racing because I knew what I felt and I spent a goodly portion of the discussion listening with half an ear while the other half was trying to devise a way to say this in as neutral a way as possible. I needed to speak up and did I? NO! I was too worried, once again, about sounding whiny and offending people! So I was shaken and knocked down off my high horse about being "silenced no more". Who was I kidding? I got knocked down good because I have held all this in all week. Hence the mind clutter and now it's all coming out like Niagara Falls with more on the way. I guess like everything else it’s a journey. I should be more realistic. I'm not going to speak my mind 100% of the time right off the bat. At least I'm trying.


I've been in a bit of a quandary the last few days. I've wanted to write because so many bloggable thoughts have crossed my mind. I would think about it and then literally not know where to start so I would stop. The result is a brain that is stuffed to the gills and ripe for spontaneous combustion. Here I go off into Blogger Land for awhile so that hopefully I can get some things off my chest and I can then get some sleep.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Scrooge No More

Christmas was always super fun for me growing up. I used to love decorating especially. I would harrass my parents endlessly to ask them when we could put up them up. Finally, when I was about 10 or 11 they just let me take care of it altogether. I would decorate to my heart's content. Then I would sleep on the sofa as much as I could over the course of the month so I could bask in the glow of the Christmas lights. I loved everything from the presents to the goodies that we would deliver to friends on Christmas. But then again, I was a kid and Christmas is for the kids. At least the commercialized version that we all live with today.

Christmas since I have been an adult is another story. Now I buy my own stocking stuffers. I still get a kick out of decorating the tree. But Christmas itself is not nearly as much as when I was a kid. I used to think it would be great to work retail when I was a kid. I had "Miracle on 34th Street" type pictures running through my head about how jolly and fun it would be....especially during the holidays. But I got my wish and learned the meaning the hard way of "be careful what you wish for". I did it for four years and I must say that those were the most depressing Christmases of my life. Watching people storm the store on Black Friday started out as slightly amusing and turned to just shaking my head in dismay over the years. People's evil twins inhabited their bodies for that month. Screaming, clawing bloody commercialism at its finest....or worst. Add in the extra hours to keep everything in tip top shape and it was a bad combination for me the underpaid retail worker. I quickly came to understand why people indulge in "holiday cheer" so much. They need all the liquor or whatever they use to cope with all the madness. Me.....I just slept because it was such a precious commodity. Each year I did it I swore I would never do it again. It was not my "Miracle" vision and all the joy that I used to feel at the season soon left. I learned to dread the holidays.

Not this year! I'm unemployed. So I know that I could have the opportunity to ruin another Christmas just for the sake of having a job for a few weeks and praying that it goes permanent. Sorry....not for me! Places really aren't hiring holiday help with this whole "bailout-and-HOPEFULLY-it pulls the country-out-of-the-crapper" thing going on. Honestly I'm OK with it. Yeah the money situation sucks. But I'm ready to feel the real magic of Christmas again. I can feel it creeping up on me. I felt it yesterday when I hauled out all my decorations and my hand-me-down fake tree and just decked it out. The feeling that I had as I surveyed my work and sat there in its glow was just like I remembered it as a kid. Seeing all the ads for sales and bargains and seeing the blatant hallmarks of commercialism are still annoying and very saddening. Christmas is making a true comeback for me and for all the "flaws" in my situation...... I wouldn't have it any other way!


Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Maiden Blog, Maiden Post

Well here I am! I am welcoming me, myself and I to the illustrious world of the BLOGOSPHERE! Yeah! The cheers are echoing! I can just hear them. I'm really good at living inside my own head so maybe I'm just being a semi-legend in my own mind. Whatever it is, the important thing is that this is my way of getting out of my head. I also looked at my journals earlier this year and did kind of an abridgment on most of them because they were just so damned depressing. I just rehashed the same dramas endlessly. I hardly ever wrote when anything was good. So this is my way of keeping my promise to myself to live more fully in the moment. I will write when things are good, not so good, and even downright depressing.

There is a reason for the name of this blog. I am giving myself the permission to my thoughts, my feelings, my reactions. I've spent way too much of my life censoring myself and changing my feelings, thoughts and opinions to make those around me comfortable. Plus I and others have stories to tell. People need to see past the stories that they are sold by the purveyors of adoption. It is not a panacea. It is a more legitimate alternative than abortion but there needs to be WAY more information, education and safeguards out there then there is. Most of all, if adoption does occur, there needs to be a fundamental shift in thinking that dictates that the adoptee DOES deserve his/her information, not just patchy medical histories and selectively chosen non-identifying information. Everyone else can have their birth certificates. Why must adoptees pay for the birthparents' mistakes? Yes I am a bastard child. Yes I do get fired up about this issue. But that doesn't mean that I deserve to be discriminated against in the midst of trying to protect my birthparents. But I will save that rant for another blog.

I learned to be quiet and squash my feelings from an early age. My parents never hid the fact that I was adopted. It was always such a joyous thing for them. Aunts, uncles and family friends would always corroborate this story too. Yippee! Everyone is happy happy happy! The only problem was that I wasn't. I was sad beyond belief sometimes. I never said it though. I never felt like I could. I didn't want to seem ungrateful. I got told what a spoiled and ungrateful person I was too many times for other things that I didn't want to have this on top of that. It was just something I had to deal with.....this sadness I felt. I did have a couple of friends who I let my guard down with. I remember my friend Mita from the fifth grade (?). She used to ask me if I ever wanted to find my birthmother. I really did. But something changed at that time. I still wanted to but I convinced myself that it wouldn't be right to try because it would bring up bad memories for her. I denied myself and made it all about my birthmother. Then there was my friend Sarah in junior high. I used to judge her so badly because she was so rebellious and I was the "good girl". I didn't dare rebel especially against my father. I was always so intimidated by him. I also said I was OK with being adopted which I knew deep down that I wasn't. Looking back now I realize that it was my survival mechanism. That and eating, eating, eating. I never got really fat per se but I was definitely pudgy. So that made my growing up years even more tumultuous. I learned to eat my feelings away very early and very quickly. In my twenties, once I was finally away from parental control I lost it. I did everything I had judged my friend Sarah for doing back in junior high......and I had no idea why. It felt freeing but I also became so clingy and vindictive too. I was feeling so small and had literally lost almost everything. But I still had no idea why until...........

One day I was wandering through Target and picked up book called Twenty Things Adopted Kids Wish Their Adoptive Parents Knew. Its by a fellow adoptee named Sherrie Eldridge. I was immediately bowled over by the title and reading it while standing there made me breathless. I felt like I was reading my life story. How did Sherrie know? What was this extremely visceral reaction that I was having ? Was it all possible? All my sadness, craziness and bad decisions were attributed to my unmourned adoption losses? Mourning? What was mourning? Death was and is such a cerebral concept to me. Its one of the few things I haven't been able to touch yet even with all the work I have done. Suddenly everything started making sense. All my survival mechanisms, all my dysfunctional ways of dealing with my sadness.....everything. I started voraciously reading other adoption books by other authors and doing A LOT of thinking and analyzing. I'm going to put the favorites down in my book link section. Now several years later I've made so many strides through several avenues. But this is the one thing that remains......a persistent feeling of voicelessness and helplessness.

So I now declare that through this blog I am no longer voiceless so hopefully it will help in making me feel less helpless and help to dispel some of the madness that surrounds the issue of adoption.