Saturday, November 10, 2012

in response: you just say it~

Dear M,

Perhaps you are right---that I'm too sensitive. My sensitivity has gotten me where I'm at in life, though. I'd prefer it over the alternative. 
I'm not trying to upset you or freak you out or seem like I am merely trying to be difficult for the sake of being difficult. 
I just don't know how to process a lot of this. Let's clarify something---the elephant in the room, so to speak (do you know what that phrase means? It is perfect for this): You and I have lived very different lives. In every.single.regard. Period. End of story. Hilariously, we still have a lot in common. But we also have a chasm between us in some regards. 
I don't resent you. Or your lifestyle. Or your money. Some people would. Some people do. I've just never been a jealous or greedy or selfish person. Your life is your own, as is mine. Yes, I'm a good person---there's a difference between "nice" and "good", by the way. If I was just saying all the things I've been saying to you these last months to be "nice" I'd have stopped playing that 'game' when you started offering me money and lavish gifts and trips and flowers---and now flipping $10,000. I'd have merely taken it. But I've worked to be a truly good person. This is not a show for you; to get you to approve of me, to like me for me. This is who I am. And this relationship with you means more to me than I think you realize. It's also harder than you realize, I think, now that our lifestyle differences have surfaced.
In the past, I've done case management for the poor. I've walked through the Kibera Slum---the world's largest----I actually know people who live on less than a dollar a day. My background is [somewhat] academic, yes---for the sake of my sanity, but also my desire to actually apply that knowledge in a tangible way. Can you try and see why I'm "too sensitive", then? This is why I'm having a hard time accepting such things from you, after the kind of life I've led. The kind of life I chose. I'm still having a hard time wrapping my head around the mere fact that we're related---let alone that you're my birthfather. Let alone that you are...who you are. 
And by the way, we are not friends. And we are most certainly not, as you said, like friends who have known each other our whole lives and have been there for each other. Sure, we're "friendly". But we're not 'friends'. I know what you were trying to say, though. What I'm trying to say though is that we can't just pick up where we left off. Where we left off was when I was a zygote and you were 22, sowing some wild oats. But that doesn't change the fact that you're my birthfather and I'm your 32 year old birthdaughter. Awkward, to say the least. Navigable? I hope so. Listen, I'm doing the best I can with this whole thing. I'm not going to go psycho on you. Ever. Like I told you in my first email to you: I'm a happy, stable, educated, "normal" person. But I do feel like I don't know how to navigate some of this terrain, so to speak. Especially all the emotional baggage that comes with it. Are you surprised? Are you not overwhelmed in the least? 

Saturday, November 3, 2012

the fucking money~

I wish I could be elegant and articulate here, but I can't be. There's no other way to put this:
he's a very wealthy man. And we're not talking a couple of extra bucks.
Am I bragging as I write this? No, no I am not. In fact, my face is flushing bright red as I type. A bit out of embarrassment, a bit out of shame, and a bit out of...strangely enough:  rage. 
I think I just feel so cliché, you know? 'Wealthy foreigner impregnates trashy party girl'. Bleh. Oh, by the way, I was that zygote.

When I first got into contact with him and he found out I had type 1 diabetes, he wanted to send me to John Hopkins University Hospital to get a check up to make sure I "had everything I needed." I still remember his words, All paid for by me, of course. I thanked him and reassured that while I appreciated his superbly generous offer, I indeed had everything I needed and also took very good care of my disease; often lauded by my doctors as being the best type 1 diabetic they know.

When I turned 32, he said to me, For once, will you let me do things my way? I told him that the greatest gift he could've given me was not rejecting my contact and that building a relationship with him was my birthday gift. So he finagled my address and sent me 3 dozen white roses instead.

When my town got hit by Hurricane Sandy, he called me nearly everyday; you could practically hear him wringing his hands on the other end of the phone he was so worried.

Or is it guilt?

Is that what's really going on here, M? Do you feel guilty and you're trying to buy it off? Is that why I'm so angry whenever you offer me money?
Because my impoverished neighbor's lower level apartment got destroyed. My house is destroyed is the exact phrase he used, M. But my belongings, safely residing above the 5 foot ocean-meets-the-bay-flood, are intact. I can't live there though because the rest of the house is so damaged below ours it's not safe to stay in.
So we're stuck. Money is tight when you can't move twice in less than a year. But I'm not as stuck as my poor neighbor.

I can never say anything is even remotely financially difficult when talking to him because of reasons I don't think I need to explain to you at this point.
But I slipped the other day on the phone and you know what happened? He asked me if he could help me just this once. I told him, my body sliding down the wall and thumping onto the laundromat linoleum, I'm really backed into a corner here, M. So he asked me to think about it.
The next day, he sends me an email asking me why I hadn't yet sent him my account information. Because he wants to deposit ten thousand dollars into it. 
Ten fucking thousand dollars. More if you need it, of course. 
Oh, of course.

I once dated a guy who was very kind and generous.  One day when we were talking, I mentioned that I thought something was wrong with one of the tires on my car, that perhaps it was too bald? He checked it out for me and without my knowledge went to the car shop to have it looked at because the tire made him nervous. He had them put on four new tires.
I was so overwhelmed and somewhat embarrassed that I made him tell me at least half the amount so I could repay him. I think he lied about the half because I barely paid him anything. Years later, after we broke up, we were still friends and I told him, You need to be careful someone doesn't date you just to use you. He laughed at me and said,  I only ever did things like that for you. You were the only girl I ever trusted. Funny that we still didn't work out.

What on earth does that story have to do with M? I'm not sure, but some of the feelings, at least for me, are the same. Shame, perhaps? Over-the-top assistance that feels too on the sly? Savior complexes? Guilt-complexes? Male-female dynamic complexes? Father-daughter complexes?
Never-met-each other-Father-Daughter complexes?
Yes, I have yet to meet my birthfather and he's already trying to keep me from sinking. I want to scream at him sometimes, I kept myself from sinking for 32 years! Don't even try to buy me a boat now!

Ya, people say, but he's your father. He just wants to help. Even if he's merely trying to make up for lost time. And I will then tell you that any adoptee will tell you that it's a hell of a lot more complicated than that.
I don't want his fucking money. We haven't even met yet. I believe in my heart he means well, but his money feels dirty to me right now.

And, while I'm never sure if I can believe half the stories my birthmother tells me anymore, this one takes the cake: upon reuniting, she told me he offered her $10, 000 if she'd have an abortion.
All paid for by me, of course. 

Oh, of course.