In and out goes the tide…

Yesterday was my birth mother’s birthday. I met her for the first time shortly before she turned 50. She just turned 52. For years, I would have given anything required of me to know that piece of information. Any knowledge about my birth mother held an elusive and seductive power over me for most of my life and I would have willingly paid the price. In many ways, I have.

Two years ago, my birth father and I organized a surprise lunch for her. He told her that he was taking her out to lunch, just the two of them. But, unbeknownst to her, he and I planned for me to be waiting at the restaurant. When she saw me, the look on her face was priceless and she started to cry. I was elated to be able to share a moment like that with the woman I never thought I would know. I keep the memory of that day in my heart.

Last year, when she turned 51, I texted her and said something like: ‘Happy Birthday ___. I hope all is well with you.’ And her response, hours later was: ‘Thanks, kid.’ That text was the first contact I had with her after our major falling out, 7 months prior. From surprise lunches with tears to a vague text….the tide comes in…then it goes out.

My dad used to call me ‘kid’. My heart. It aches.

This year, I didn’t reach out at all. I thought of her the day before her birthday and wondered if I would be able to gather the courage/desire to send another awkward text. Apparently not.

I think about her a lot. I wonder what she’s doing. I wonder if she thinks about me. I fantasize that one day she will reach out and apologize for disappearing and choosing my birth father over me.

I try to hang onto the good memories I have of her – the first time I met her, when she first hugged me and touched my cheek, the day she introduced me to 2 of my brothers and that elated smile when I surprised her. I move forward with the security and peace that comes with knowing (finally) that I have her eyes, her hair, her lips and that for a short time, I had her love.

As much as thinking about her these days makes me sad, I am honestly really grateful for the beautiful pain that comes with having known her. It’s spectacularly complicated but it’s light year better than wondering who she was all those years…34 to be exact. That particular ‘not knowing’ pain was fuel to the fire of my addictions. Never ending fuel.

I miss her. I miss her raspy voice and her no nonsense way of viewing people and their ways. I miss her perspective. I miss the possibility she held. I miss the connection I had with her.

Maybe next year I’ll be able to write about how she and I mended fences and were able to celebrate her 53rd birthday together. Maybe.

 

Shhh…Just let it happen

I wrote the following two paragraphs about a week ago. I was trying to force my way into my next blog post before it was ready to peek out of the soil. Not the way I want these posts to be born. I would prefer for the words to own me for a time and take over. I want them to bloom on their own. I don’t want to think too much about what I’m saying. That’s usually when I do my best work. But when I was writing the following words I was putting a gun to my head and making myself bleed. (Bleeding is what I have been calling my process ever since I started my memoir. When I write about myself I end up being brutally honest with whoever reads this and with myself and I bleed. All over the page. And damn if that doesn’t feel Good.)

‘Right now I am practically forcing myself to finish a glass of wine. I slept very little last night and drank more than I normally do. I had a busy day at work – I take care of other people’s children and essentially their entire lives to bring home self-respect and money – and I am thoroughly exhausted. I want to go to sleep. I want to rest my weary bones and over taxed body. I want my brain to be quiet. Sleep will be the best remedy.

But here I sit, at my trusty laptop, sipping my second giant glass of white. And I don’t even fucking want it. But I cringe at the thought of trying to lay down to sleep without the numbing agent of my precious elixir.’

It’s not good to force things. I never, ever want to feel forced or rushed in my work life, social life, family life or even in traffic. If I’m going 80 in the passing lane on the highway and some ‘need for speed’ fuckbag comes bombing up behind me and starts to tailgate me I will refuse to move over to the right. I will remain and remain in the passing lane until the fuckbag angrily swerves around me to pass on the right. Fine by me. I might even look over, smile and flip him the bird – I will not be rushed. I will not.

So, when I was rushing myself to write something, anything, I knew I had to put down the pain and walk away from it for a time. I started those almost forgotten paragraphs with the voice of my Addict (17 year old self) in charge. She likes attention. In any form. I didn’t let her take over though. And I’m glad because now my Highest Self is at the wheel and I feel the flow, the words are coming. I feel the satisfaction of purging what is in my mind. Somehow typing it all here makes what I have to say feel less shameful.

I drink too much. Sometimes, as seen above, I force myself to drink too much because the agony of sitting alone with myself in an unblurred fashion is too itchy, twitchy and uncomfortable to even consider. So I don’t. I just walk in the door and pour. I don’t give myself time to think. I want my shoulders to come down and blessedly relax and the only guaranteed way to get there is to sip my beloved wine.

I feel I must illustrate that I don’t drink to get drunk. I don’t like being drunk. That feels irresponsible, chaotic and scary. I drink to get floaty, fizzy and tipsy. I drink to let go of the Internal Dialogue that has been judging and criticizing me all the live long day. I drink to disconnect from my reality, just for a short time. That realm feels safer than drunk. I do not give Fuck One when I’m drunk. I think everything is a good idea, everyone is my best friend and that I am invincible.

Drunk is too harsh. Too dangerous. Drunk is when I make even worse decisions than drinking everyday. Drunk is when I go home with strangers. Drunk is when I cry myself to sleep after eating an entire pizza by myself because I ‘need’ something to soak up the alcohol. The morning after being drunk hangovers are the worst in the world. My head feels full of painful, hot liquid and every time I move the liquid moves and I want to die. It takes me a solid 24 hours to overcome that feeling. The hangovers after getting fizzy, tipsy and floaty ain’t no thang. Those I can live through standing on my head. I’m a beast at handling those.

I am beginning to wonder when I am going to start stopping myself from having to ‘handle’ them though. So far it hasn’t happened. I do not want to stop drinking. I like it too much. I enjoy it still…except for when I’m forcing it. That’s when I hate it. That’s when the voice of my Addict (and 17 year old self) won’t take no for an answer. She is incapable of hearing a real ‘NO’. She is spoiled, unruly and incredibly insecure. When she calls the shots I feel powerless. I let her take over far too much. She has never recovered from when Tom died. She never moved out of the home with the angry, drunk ex. She hasn’t even begun to face losing Dad and don’t even attempt to talk to her about adoption or birth parents. Off limits.

When I let her out too much is when I know I really Do have a problem, when I know that something’s gotta give eventually. I know I need to sit down with my Addict (my 17 year old self) and really listen to what she has to say. I have to really let her feel and accept that she may never, ever change. She might simply be stuck. I am starting to realize that I’m the one who has to change. I’m the one who has the power to stop listening when she cries. She deserves my compassion and my understanding, but I can’t keep holding her hand. I might have to let her walk out of my life so she can wreak havoc somewhere else. I might have to let her go so that I can move forward (and away) from all the pain she carries.

I’m getting closer to that point. But today, I still drink.

 

 

No choice

As I mentioned, I am adopted. In 2014 I decided to find my birth parents. I was 34. I found them, met them, fell in love with them and then lost their affections 5 months later. I started writing the story of my life immediately after I met them. I didn’t have a choice. The need to write it was immense. Much like the need to start this blog. Maybe I really am a writer?

I tentatively named my memoir ‘Pandora’s Box’.

I started out with how happy I was to know my biological beginnings – and oh my GOD, was I over the moon to know where my nose came from, to learn that I have FOUR half siblings (!!!) and that my birth parents were always, always, always thinking about me. That was just the tip of the iceberg. I will revisit this topic and talk about it in more posts to come. Don’t you worry.

For now, I just want to share a small excerpt. The beginning of the passage is recalling how I couldn’t save my brother from himself and his inevitable death. Since then, I have always tried to find someone to love who also needs to be saved. Ever the caretaker am I.

I’m nervous about sharing this…but here goes —

‘My mind gave up on trying to reach him at an early age, but my heart. Oh, my heart. She never gave up trying to find someone just like him to love. Relationships. That word carries a lot of weight in anyone’s life. Relationships are complicated. Involved. They take work. Investment. Relationships can be difficult. Beautiful. Fulfilling. Exquisite. They can ruin you. Devastate you. You can completely lose yourself and any sense of who you are in an unhealthy one. Or, you can plant a seed with someone and grow little healthy versions of yourselves that eventually turn into generations of love and memories. It’s always a gamble. A risk.

To commit to someone and say, ‘I am yours, as you are mine, no matter where the course of our lives takes us.’ ‘I am yours’ has fucking consequences. Having someone to call mine has been the biggest thrill of my life. That singularly enveloping notion of ‘belonging’ is my adrenaline rush, my joy, my drug, my biggest challenge, my biggest downfall and my biggest failure. I tend to put far too much energy and emphasis into my relationships. I’m not talking about friendships, or family. I do not mean co-workers, acquaintances or buddies. I’m speaking of boyfriends, potential partners and lovers, all of which have never been able to win me over completely. Not a one. They each ran out of steam in their own way. Blew their load of bullshit all over my gorgeous face. My first boyfriend, with his needy tendencies. The guy in California, with his gaming, physical and emotional absence. The angry alcoholic, with his drinking, anger and mother issues. And finally, my most recent ex, with his immaturity and refusal to grow up. I saw all of these imperfections and flaws. I knew I would be sucked dry by each of them so I was forced to throw in the towel before I was entirely ready to. I certainly loved each of them and they loved me back. The love I shared with each of them just wasn’t enough.

It wasn’t enough because deep down, I really didn’t love myself. I never learned how. I learned many lessons on how to hate myself; not understanding why I couldn’t talk about adoption, not feeling like an important part of my family, hearing my brother belittle me because I didn’t tie my shoes the same way he did, being overweight and finally, at age 15 I was judged 100% on my appearance by someone I thought I was in love with. So, complacent and confused soul that I can be, I continued down the path of least resistance and stayed trapped in my self-hatred. I was too young to see how destructive the easy way would be. And in all honesty, I didn’t think I deserved anything better.’

 

Again and again…thank you for reading.