Definitions of self

In spite of this problem (my struggles with addiction), I deeply and profoundly love, respect and accept myself.’

It was suggested to me by my therapist to repeat this mantra to myself out loud. She stressed the importance of saying it out loud. By using my mouth to shape the words and actually hear my voice saying the statement, she hoped that something would click so that maybe, just maybe the meaning will stick in my mind and I will believe it.

I have trouble accepting myself. I think a good portion of my ‘stuckness’ around self-acceptance comes from being adopted. I never felt connected to my family while I was growing up. I always wondered where I came from and who made me. However, my parents didn’t use the word ‘adoption’ and they never asked me how I felt about it. I took their lack of openness as shame. I thought they were embarrassed that they had to adopt me. I followed their lead and never spoke about it either. I felt ashamed that I wasn’t truly theirs and I never learned how to talk about it because we didn’t have a dialogue.

I adopted ‘adoption’ as a form of protection. If I kept myself apart by being ‘adopted’ then the confusion and emptiness I felt about my parents’ assumed shame wouldn’t hurt as much. I would think to myself, ‘no one understands me, it must be because I’m adopted.’ Within that word I was safe. Underneath that label I was able to drift away and not feel anything because I had a built-in excuse. I would think, ‘I’m adopted, you’ll never understand who I am or how I feel.’

But now that I’m an adult, I actually found a dialogue about adoption with my mother (and oh my God was I wrong about her feeling ashamed of me. As far as she is concerned, I have always simply and completely been hers) and with that came the ability and courage to actually find my birth parents. I met them. I spent time with them. I met 2 of my 4 half siblings. I hugged my birth mother and my birth father. I engaged with them. I learned from them and discovered with them. Then I lost them to each other (I’ll get into the belly of that beast at some point down the road, I promise). And now, I don’t have anything left to protect myself with. I don’t have the armor I’ve always worn with some sort of backwards pride because ‘adopted’ doesn’t really apply anymore. Sure, that’s how I started my life, but it will not be how I continue or end it.

Now I’m wondering how I’m going to define myself as I move forward. I’m not the tragically lost ‘adopted’ girl anymore. I’ve grown up. I’ve evolved and I am a woman, standing on my own two feet in spite of all the problems that afflict me. I am stumbling, but I’m still fucking walking forward. I’m still excited for my future. I still feel joy and hope in my heart when I think about what my life will look like when I deeply and profoundly love, respect and accept myself (and when I fully immerse myself in recovery). As of today that love, respect and acceptance is not bone deep. And that’s ok. I’m not perfect, but I do love myself. I just need to allow some more healing around that particular area.

With every passing day it gets easier.

With every post that flows out of me like water it gets more clear that in writing in this candid, revealing fashion, I am doing nothing but loving myself.

I deeply and profoundly love, respect and accept myself.


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