January 18, 2011

Bosu's & Bottoms

I really should start blogging more about my everyday life.
It can be pretty funny, especially since my little one has started talking.  Coming up with intelligent and age-appropriate answers for an endless stream of questions is a whole other story. That's why I don't write more about my life on the blog, actually. My brain is fried trying to keep up with him!  

Today we were driving home from "social skills" group (WHY don't they have these for adults?) when I heard Andrew in the back seat singing a happy little song. I made a point to remember it because it was so comical...it went to the tune of "London Bridge" but the words came out: "da da da da, fluff your bottom, fluff your bottom, fluff your bottom, da da da da, fluff your bottom, fluff your little bottom". Stay tuned...by the end of this post, I figured out how he got this song.    

Every so often something will happen in every day life that starts a post brewing in my mind, and the only way I can stop thinking about it is by getting it out in writing.
Today was such a day.

Even though I'm ONLY (lol) in my early 40's I fit in VERY well with a wonderful group of ladies I exercise with every Tuesday & Thursday at a "Senior Fitness" class at the local city park complex. Although these ladies range in age from 50-something to 80-something, I can BARELY keep up with them. And the aerobics instructor is amazing. She truly cares about her class and works hard to help us increase in strength and flexibility. She is so upbeat, and makes everyone aspire to her positive attitude and cheerfulness, just by being there.

I love this class, not just for the way it helps make me stronger and relieves my stiffness, aches, and pains (now I'm sounding pathetic, I know), but also because I'm surrounded by a room full of "Mothers" who just love it that I join them and am trying to get in shape (notice I said 'trying'). They have kind of "adopted" me as their own. I have to admit I like it. It feels good to surround myself with their years, sweet caring, and wisdom. And I feel much more at home than in a class full of 20's and 30-somethings that make me feel more like a grandma than a mom.

Today we got a special treat of working out on bosu's. I'd never heard of such a thing, but quickly realized what a challenge they are. They look like those big round exercise balls, but cut in half and with a flat bottom on the floor, so you can use them to step up and down on. But as one cute little 70 year old said when she got up on it today, "I don't feel very stable on this!" ~ it is a workout just to balance on this squishy, shifting air-filled mound. We were all sweating by the end of the hour just trying to balance and hold ourselves together on these things. Fun, fun! lol

I had to laugh at the thought this afternoon as I was driving my son to his appointment and multi-tasking as usual. With one hand, I grabbed my lipstick & pulled down the mirror; twisted the lipstick out too far ~ and as soon as it touched my lips, half of it broke off and landed somewhere between my legs in the seat. I tried to "feel for it" and not bring attention to myself from the drivers all around, but it was to no avail. I still couldn't find the thing. So my next move was to use the new Bosu technique I had just learned earlier this morning to save my rear from getting lipstick smeared everywhere, and lifted my glut's as fast as possible! Talk about feeling funny, attempting to pull in at the next turn-off in that position, opening the door and exiting the car! All the while, my son is freaking out in the backseat yelling, "WHAT'S WRONG MOMMY, WHAT'S WRONG???" in somewhat of a panic. All I could do was laugh, so that put us both in a giggling fit. So funny! Can't wait to tell my aerobics teacher how glad I am for strong glut's!

Anyway, back to my story. I was actually kind of excited to go to my son's social group today because I was feeling a little ornery from an experience I had earlier in the day. You see, all the Mom's of the kids sit around and talk while waiting for the class to end, and I have learned quite a bit over the last few weeks just sitting and listening. I am quieter than most of the Moms in this little group (as is true about every "group" I'm in) mostly because I was a little discouraged because Andrew is not quite as far along in his skills as the other kids and sometimes I feel like I have very little in common with other Mom's anyway, so it makes it hard. I mean most Mom's don't have kids who weighed a pound at birth and all that goes a long with that. But that is life.

Even before I became a Mom, I felt "different" anyway. People don't realize how being adopted affects a person their whole lives through. It affects our life story, our family dynamics and history, and hence, not only our close relationships, but even just normal "chit-chat" with people we meet on a daily basis. So I'm used to it.

What I've realized over the years is that my reality makes others very uncomfortable. So if I share my true self with others, it causes great discomfort for those around me. And therefore, I usually choose to keep quiet or focus on others rather than myself. But that truly does get old the older you get, and you yearn for realness and the ability to share and be embraced for the person you really are. It is lonely.

So today was one of those days I decided to be courageous and actually share alittle bit of my real self with the ladies from my exercise group. We had all gone to eat lunch together after class to "get to know each other better" and after months of exercising and laughing and having fun with these women, I felt comfortable enough that I wanted to risk sharing more of myself in order to have authentic friendships. But as usual, I may have been wrong in doing it.  I guess I won't really know until I see their reactions the next few weeks. But I left second-guessing myself as usual.

The discussion took place between myself and two other women left at my table and it was toward the end of our time together anyway. So that may be part of why the one lady, especially, got up and left pretty quickly. She seemed to get pretty jittery and nervous and I felt sorry for her. She is the lady I usually exercise by, and we have always seemed to "hit it off" in conversation. We both enjoy writing and art and talk about it frequently at class. So I guess that is why I felt bad that she seemed so ready to leave right after the discussion went the way of adoption search and reunion.

I mean she had been the one to ask me about my education, what I did and what I would like to do in the future. So I shared...I am interested in adoption reform. I got the usual blank looks, and then had to explain it of course. Blah, blah, blah...adopted as a baby, found my "birth family" (hate that word, but how else will people know what you're freaking talking about?), and am passionate about the psychology of adoption.

"Did you actually enjoy meeting these people?" she asked in a defensive tone.
"Yes I did, and I believe it was a tremendous help to building my identity as an adult."

That's when she started looking disheveled and nervous and said, "Well, I need to get out of here" and excused herself. Quick goodbyes. Ouch. The lady left at the table with me changed the subject too. Thank God it was at the end of lunch or I don't know how it would have felt. Sheesh. I'm still reeling a bit.

So out to the car I go to pick up my son from school and had to call an adoptee friend of mine to try to calm myself. Only another adoptee can understand sometimes. Literally.

By the time for "social group" I was ready. I had decided that if I survived one adoption conversation today, I could go at it again, by goodness. Out of five kids in the social group, two of the kids are adopted. I've sat through several weeks now listening to adoption "stories" as a silent observer. Chomping at the bit sometimes to speak up, but not daring. Not to be rude or anything. Just to share my own adoption "story". Adoptees have stories too, you know. And I've mainly just wanted to share some good resources with these people. They need 'em! (ie., "Twenty Things Adopted Kids Wish" ~ why haven't most adoptive parents heard about these anyway? It's an interesting question to ponder.)

Sometimes when I suffer through awkward moments in every day life brought on by adoption, I just get downright ornery and decide it's about time others feel uncomfortable instead of me. But darn it, the one day I'm revved up and ready for the challenge, adoption was not mentioned once! lol I'm always kicking myself for waiting too long and missing my chance. I should have spoken up weeks ago when it was the flavor of the day and offered my own connection to the fluff bottom topic of adoption. (My new word for it ~ "rainbow farts & fluff bottoms", thanks to the creative songs of my only son and blood-relative).

*I just figured out he probably came up with that song after watching Mommy's "glut" trick earlier. 

I guess my point is, being adopted is lonely.
There are countless examples I could share. They happen every single day actually, in some way or another. But it is just something I deal with as an adoptee. Like the awesome women's conference I went to this past weekend, where several Mother/Daughter pairs were reminders of the fact my own Mother and I lost that precious connection and time together. I sometimes just feel downright motherless. I know that sounds harsh. But it is true. It doesn't negate the fact my Mom (adoptive) and I love each other very much. But watching other Mothers and Daughters brings pain because they look, sound and act so much alike. They share the same likes and dislikes. They just belong together. They usually don't experience such a big age difference either. And they don't walk around the huge pink elephant of adoption in the middle of everything.

The lie that love is all that is needed. The lie that there is no loss (when it is staring them both in the face). The lie that even birth certificates declare as "normal" what is not. The lie that misinforms and causes life-long misunderstanding and isolation.

Yes, I so want to speak up during the plethora of adoption stories I seem to encounter so often in my daily life. My heart aches for the adoptees being discussed as if voiceless. Because they are. I am.

That is why I love blogging. It is a safe place to dismantle the uneasiness of being adopted in a world where adoption is idolized instead of understood. A very uneasy world indeed.

Case in point: Below is a picture at my wedding. That is my first father walking me down the aisle (he walked me half-way down, symbolizing to me the new relationship we were blessed to begin). Notice the women on the first row. For several years, I literally could not look at this photograph because of the pain it triggered. It was easier to hide it away, like the feelings I also stuffed instead of faced. The pain on their faces is so real.

(First is my Mom (adoptive), then Nanny (adoptive), and my Great-Grandmother and Grandmother by birth, who I had just been reunited with. My maternal (birth) Grandmother and Aunt were sitting a few rows behind. My first mother passed away at the age of 32, while also searching for me).

It hurts to see such pain surrounding my very existence, my life, my story, and my "family". But it is reality for the adopted. No wonder adoptee's silently struggle through their birthdays, their "gotcha" days; through every day for that matter.   

And by the way, let us not forget to "fluff our bottoms" ie. kick a.. (however you may want to take that). lol

As my beloved Nanny used to say, "might as well laugh to keep from crying!" : )


Von said...

Hi, so much to say and maybe this isn't the place, in your comment box.I understand, I'm in your boat so know what you're saying and feel the feelings.
It is time for us to speak up, to speak to each other and for some of you who don't have your rights to get them.
May I suggest your group friend may have been a relinquishing mother or have someone in her family who is, daughter maybe.
We've all experienced the trauma of removal, we can work on it, learn to live with it but the scars never go away.It's time others knew that and they too stopped playing out 'the adoption story'.
Drop by sometime, keep in touch and good luck.Keep speaking out!

maybe said...

I had the same thought as Von...the woman in your group could be connected to an adoption in some way. This was a great post, as always!

a Tonggu Momma said...

Thank you so much for sharing more of yourself with this post. And I, too, wish more adoptive parents knew about resources that they SHOULD know about. "20 Things" is just the tip of the iceberg.

About the woman from your group... I had the same thought as Von. She must be connected to adoption in some way.

*Peach* said...

Thank you all. I went to exercise yesterday and things were fine. Although I didn't get to talk to the lady I usually exercise by, so time will tell. I just hope she is ok and it won't affect our friendship.

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Frizzy and Bird said...

I want you to know how much I appreciate your honesty. I REALLY DO! There are no words...

Thank you