Saturday, September 1, 2012

bitter birthmother~

You don't remember what happened. What you remember becomes what happened.  John Green

Self-loathing is an interesting beast. It usually starts with something that happened to us or that we did that we're a bit ashamed of.  Much of what actually happened is forgotten to us, as we're caught up in all of the personal details of our own actions in the situation. Sometimes, none of it was our fault, not one tiny thing (rape victims) and other times, we're a part of a complicated story that we played a major part in. We are not a victim; our choices placed us directly in the circumstances we found ourselves in. The narrative, standing alone, would be lost without us. It just didn't turn out the way we'd planned.
It starts with the realization that we cannot go back. We begin to neurotically replay the details in our heads over and over, a way to deconstruct and contain our anger. We project everything we can onto as many people as possible until we find one that can last: our final target. It is two fold, this target. It is someone else, but deep down: it is us. 
When the thing that happened had a lot to do with our own role in the way things played out, the rage becomes unfathomable. I could've done something different becomes a painful theme in the back of our mind, a theme that eventually buries itself so deeply, all we see is the face of That Other Person, the Other Target. This is better known as scapegoating: placing blame upon someone for the mistakes or wrongdoing of others. It can shape our entire life, after we've found someone or something to blame for Everything That Went Wrong.

MW is not happy. She is beyond all rationale. Her rage, contained and targeted and wrapped around my birthfather for so long, is not just leaking out of her; it is like a beyond-compromised water levee. Breaking and gushing, filling everything around her with her angry poison. She cannot forgive herself or him and so I am her new target. Of course, she is trying to make it appear to be out of concern for me.
I just don't want to see you get hurt. 
I'm worried he's just being nice for now and then he'll just drop the ball. 
But most of the time, she just calls him a Motherfucker.
Well, that's one way to put the truth, I suppose.

Then she continues by questioning every time I can't answer the phone, or email back right away. Or whether or not I am willing to visit her in Shitty Louisiana (her words, not mine) after telling me from the beginning that I can never visit her house because she's too embarrassed. Jealousy and rage do not merely coincidentally go hand-in-hand with paranoia.
I think the saddest part for me is that she's being so obviously manipulative, pulling all of the classic things people do when they hate themselves. Because that is exactly what's going on here. This has nothing to do with M, my birthfather, and how he is just as happy to reconnect with me and everything to do with how angry she is at herself for having no leverage regarding our relationship.
She didn't raise me. She gave me to someone else to do that. I had to remind her of that tiny fact.
I owe neither of them anything. My choice to find them was just that: a choice. A choice I'm happy I made, but a choice made by an adult child who never knew her birthparents, nonetheless.

I would like to believe that someday, this will all come together in some loving, forgiving, redeeming, beautiful way, but I am not so naïve. We're talking about two people who could barely remember each other, but regarding each other have experienced some of the deepest pain and regret of their lives surrounding a choice they both made.
People have been saying to me lately, "Oh my then, aren't you just so glad she gave you up for adoption? Your life turned out so much better---despite the problems in your adoptive upbringing."
Hmmmm. All I have to say to this is, if you know anything about either set of my 'parents', you will realize that I am living proof there is such a thing as nature versus nurture. Oh, the nurturing plays a role, I don't deny that. But after a while, we all find our way to ourselves; we just are who we are. This can be good and bad, no doubt. As Nietzsche said, You will become who you are. And I indeed, turned out to be just that. I am nothing like my adoptive family, and I am nothing like my birthparents. Yes, I have some personality traits from my birthparents, but as far as my interests and dreams and accomplishments and what I fear and don't fear----that's just my nature. By all counts, and this has often been my only comfort in this whole mess: I almost too easily imagine myself retreating to my room or the local library to read and journal, bikeride alone, work at a bookstore, save money for college exactly as I did growing up. And so, just as I looked at my adoptive mother growing up, saying to myself, "This person is crazy. Not well. Not happy. Not balanced.", I would've looked at MW had she kept me and said to myself, "This person is crazy. Not well. Not happy. Not balanced."
There is great comfort in this truth, don't try to take it from me. Sometimes, it is all that keeps me steady regarding this strange journey: that at least I have myself to hold onto. And that the life I've made is a life I've chosen. Rather than the shitty, filled-with-bitterness one MW chose and would've given me, rather than the one filled with unbalanced religiosity that my adoptive parents chose and tried to give me. I found my own way; this is and has always been, a great source of peace and strength to me. I'm not going to let anything change this fact even at this point in my life.

I suppose what I'm trying to say here is that when we hate ourselves, it sucks the life blood right out of us. We break our own spirit. We need no enemies, even as we turn nearly everyone we meet into one, simply because we do the job just fine by ourselves. In the end, even the very thing that can redeem us, all the joy that surrounds it----even that is something we come to despise. Because we think we don't deserve it. So then we think if we could just hold onto it, possess it, really----then maybe no one could take it from us. It would be ours and ours alone. This of course, backfires. Because besides food and water and shelter, people need to be free.
Love does not equal ownership. Love does not result from competition. Love does not come from pity.
It comes from a place where you truly accept what is right before your eyes. As is.
But you can't see Love if you can't accept what is right behind your eyes, right?

1 comment:

  1. Very insightful. I am happy for you-for having the strength and wisdom that you have. For being brave enough to make the choices you've made in your life. This was also beautifully written, as usual :) Thanks for sharing this with us. It reminded me of my brother and brought me to compassion...

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