photo credit: Enokson
I’ve been not writing.
I mean. I’ve been writing. But I’ve been trying so damn hard to make sure my writing is relevant that I may as well be not writing.
I want to write about what it means to be adopted and have no family history and how you can tell that story any way you see fit and it’s still a story and it’s still a place that allows you to leap forward or hold yourself back.
For instance, my story used to be:
“I can do ANYTHING because I don’t have any inkling of any family history that says I can’t.” I used to tell myself that story so often that I tried just about anything once (and sometimes more than once) because you know, I didn’t have a family history of alcoholism, or abuse, or obesity or eating disorders or heart disease, etc. “
My story about doing anything also included becoming the President of the United States, a professional musician and an accomplished journalist and author. (Although with all the birth certificate BS abounding, I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t be able to make the run for President. Yeah. That’s the ONLY reason.)
I didn’t have any family history saying, “We’re farmers, or linesman or miners or lawyers.” I didn’t have any family business that I had to step into and that allowed me the freedom to explore.
Oddly the other side of that story was always, “you better hightail it out of here first, because no matter what, this relationship is going to END. And it’s going to end badly.“ That part of my story kept me on the surface in every relationship in my life (including with my family, friends, colleagues, lovers, husbands and more). In fact, the only relationships I ever poured my heart and soul into were with my pets.
The final part of the story also included relief. I had REASONS I wasn’t like anyone in my family, except my brother, who coincidentally or not was also adopted.
Now my story is less dramatic but no less important.
I can do anything but I need to figure out WHY I want to do it, for me, not because some story says it’s so.
With or without a family history of any disease it’s probably a good idea to pay a little more attention to this vessel I call my body ( apparently I did come with an index card warning that my biological family had a history of high blood pressure, so there’s that).
My story is something that I’m willing to revisit and it’s ever evolving. Because in order to have a story, I have to live it and most of the time, I have to let go of whatever story I was holding onto, white-knuckled, up until this point.
Letting go of the “people will leave and hurt you” story has been hard. Having that story helped me try harder, push more boundaries and build up a tough-but-sweet persona that’s served me well. That story is the reason I pushed the limits, strove for #1, wrote my own rules, and refused to settle for less than in relationships, careers and even my educational pursuits. That story is how I got to be who I am.
That story also lent itself to undue heartache, more than few tattered feelings and a sense of isolation and loneliness that is nearly impossible to explain to anyone who hasn’t lived it.
To this day I am amazed at people who wake every day into their lives believing/knowing that simply being them is enough. That they don’t worry and bemoan every misspoken word, or crossed brow on the faces of their family as a sign that they are no longer lovable or worthy is a constant source of enlightenment.
I’ve heard it said over and over again (and I’ve been known to say it too) “you are already perfect,” yet deep in the soles of my feet I’m not sure what that looks or feels like. Yet, when I watch a teen disagree with her parent and see in both their eyes that it’s all going to be okay I’m flabbergasted. (I feel like a sociologists viewing a never-before tribe of people when I see this!)
Even when I was a teen, and having my own growing pains and arguments, I had an uneasy, queasy feeling in the pit of my stomach that “this will be the time that I have to leave.”
I have friends who insist that this is “normal” and of course I know many people who did, in fact, leave. But none left over a fight about a messy room. (Just to set the record straight, my parents were normal, loving, Ozzie & Harriet type people who raised me in loving home where I didn’t want for much of anything and they never gave me any indication that my love from them was conditional in any way, shape or form. This is MY story, not theirs.)
I created a story that made anything less than perfect (grades, friends, activities, job) a complete failure. In wracking my brain I cannot find any true indicator that this was a story told to me by my parents or grandparents. I watched members of my extended family create all kinds of pain and heartache in the family and yet, they always were welcomed home, and I wondered how that could be – it was so alien to my story.
At the crux of my story is the (manufactured by me) fact that I was born, “less than.” That the act of being conceived started everything in a downward spiral for one (probably) very scared girl and one (maybe) defiant guy. I’ve dug into the story for so long that I can hear the arguments, feel the heaving sobs and ‘remember’ the shouting and the longing and the fear in that household my biological mother shared with her parents and 7 siblings.
I recognize her fear in my own. That this, I, was a major disgrace.
This isn’t mean to be a boo-hoo story.
But it is a story.
This is the way our stories are. They live with us. They are 3-D and they are real and tangible. No amount of cajoling or admonishing or coaching or even therapy changes the story until we’re willing to ask ourselves questions about the story. Until we’re willing to explore the possibility that the story can be turned upside down and retold.
It’s only a story but it also is the framework of our life.
Our stories are meant to be recognized and our stories are meant to grow and change. Unlike fairytales there is not one, rote ending. When you read a story to your kids that begins, “Once upon a time“, you know precisely how it’s going to end and so do your kids after the 15th retelling.
Your life story does not have a rote ending. Not everyone who was born poor ends up a destitute drug addict any more than she ends up ruling the world as a multi-billionaire philanthropist. Our stories’ endings are complete mysteries!
Our stories are meant to help us to evolve and to heal.
So what’s your story?
This is what I’ve been longing to write about. It’s at the heart of everything I do. You can only unearth and implement your purpose when you are willing to revisit your stories. So maybe it is relevant afterall.
How can you change your story?