May 11, 2007
© Photographer: Brebca | Agency: Dreamstime.com
Ever have one of those days that you know is a "pinnacle" moment, but you just can't "feel" it because of being shut-down emotionally for so long? Yesterday was one of those.
Usually my Birthday is spent trying to squash down feelings of saddness, conflict, grief - telling myself that Birthdays are supposed to be celebration and esteem, validation, etc. After many years of this, it is totally different to be able to feel true fulfillment, connection, validation and happiness about being born. But it came after a million tears, allowing myself to feel the pain that had been locked up and fearful that it would completely consume. It didn't. Thank God. It still hurts to even think about the walk of grief that unlocked my feelings as an adoptee. It almost brings flashbacks of pain that are so scary I try to avoid even thinking about - post trauma. But I'm glad I walked through it. I'm still trying to completely unravel and make sense out of it - birth, loss, adoptive family, natural family, identity - at 39 years of age.
But yesterday was truly the best Birthday I've ever had. I finally let myself enjoy and embrace the showing of love from my family - all sides. Usually I'm so busy feeling guilty on all fronts that I can't receive it. I felt guilty for yearning for my natural family, when my adoptive family tried so hard. I felt guilty for wanting more than they could give me. I felt like their possession - faking it to be happy, but with inner conflict and turmoil.
Even after "reunion" I would not let myself break away from making my adoptive family happy and do what I truly wanted to do - be with my natural family on that day. But YESTERDAY I did. WITHOUT the guilt. And man, it felt GOOD. Freedom. Freedom. Glorious. I don't know why it took so many years to get to, but I'm glad I finally got to experience it on my Birthday.
I didn't feel guilty when my aMom came over early in the day to wish me a Happy Birthday, and fishing for my "plans" for the rest of the day. She has even let go alittle, realizing that I am not controlled by her. She has had to grieve instead of using me to fill that void she so held on to - and me too. I love her so much.
Last night my husband and son and I met my natural father at a restaurant and had a casual dinner, and then went down the street to a park - just hung out, climbed, slid down slides, swung, and played. We just played. I finally got to just play. With my own parent. And my son got to play with his Papa. We walked arm in arm and talked. His stature and flesh felt so comforting to my arm as I embraced his shoulder and back and walked, and talked. No other feeling in the world - just right. I finally felt "right" in the world. With my own. I guess it doesn't make sense, unless you've lived your whole life without it. Off kilter. Disconnect. Realizing how much so, once you find it again. Bitter sweet. But, oh so sweet.
Mind you, I've known my natural father since 1990. But it took that long for me to unthaw, open up, feel emotion, embrace him and myself as part of my true, natural family. Because it hurt like hell. Because hell had attacked it from my conception, and taken away the Heaven that it was supposed to provide. The natural order of self.
My aMom will always be my Mom - but REALITY is that she was my substitute. That doesn't diminish what we experienced. It just acknowledges the truth - that I had lived without and suffered with - not acknowledging my own reality, my own truth - to please others. It hurt. It brought turmoil and self-hate, because I couldn't succeed at it. Sure, on the outside it looked perfect, I looked like I was pulling it off perfectly - but inside I was seething. If an adoptee can't acknowledge their truth - they turn it inside and hate themselves. Thanks, adoption industry. For your abuse. Your slavery. Your dishonesty and invalidation. Your coercion, buying and selling, your agreement with lies.
It hurts everyone. Adoptive parents, adoptees, natural families - can only hold on for so long - and then the pain comes. For adoptees it is a criminal act against us. From our birth. Happy Birthday to you. Yep. Adoption should NEVER be in the same context with celebration, balloons, festivity - it is more like a funeral. Without the coffin. It is asking adoptees to celebrate their own funeral of self - put our birth certificate in the coffin - might as well. Cut off an arm and put it in a coffin - and then go celebrate with "Gotcha Day". And then wonder where the anger comes from? It lives in the children - perfectly hidden and disguised with all the "Best Mom in the World" pictures they create. It is trying to find relief in those.
I want to post the words in the card my natural father gave me yesterday. Reading them was like being re-born and validated and loved and celebrated and embraced and allowed me to embrace my birth and self. I'll post soon!