This post started out in my head being about my new car, then I changed my mind because I didn't want to write an advertorial for Mazda. Then it morphed into a post about my mother in law who is responsible for my new car, but I couldn't get that to come out right. I wanted to thank her for giving us the means to buy a new car and to say how much I missed her since she passed away. I guess I've done that now and it didn't take a whole blog post to do it in. I then thought I'd write about a place I used to visit on Mt Glorious where I would sit and think, way back when I was trying to work out who I was. But, then I didn't really know what to say about that. Who I thought I was or wanted to be thirteen years ago is really not that relevant to the right now.
So here I am with a blank blog page, some random thoughts and still no idea. I've been reading a lot of really moving blog posts lately about people going through some really tough times. There's Tiff and Ivy at My Three Ring Circus and Kim and Oscar at All Consuming. There is also the amazing Eden at Edenland who has recently been to the famine in Niger, Africa and is now going through a whole lot of realisations that will most likely change life as she currently knows it.
As fate would have it, I was just directed to another blog post via Twitter written by Cate Bolt. Generally I don't think Cate and I are particularly alike, she is far more philanthropic than I am. However, today I felt like Cate was speaking for me. I felt my words spilling onto her blog page. I wanted to scoop those words up and throw them on this blank page.
I too am adopted. I too am not a fan of adoption. I too struggle with who I am. When I look back at my life I feel like I've always been trying to "find" myself. Give myself a true identity. There are specific times where I can pinpoint going through a "phase" of wanting to work out who I was. I've recently been going through such a phase and I have come to the realisation that it is time to start being who I am right now, instead of pontificating over who I might be or might have been.
I am who I am. Just me. Imperfect and perfect all rolled into one. I get things right and I also make mistakes. Sometimes I make monumental mistakes. But throughout it all I am still me. Over the years I change, I evolve, I grow, but I don't think this happens because I consciously sit and plan it. Change happens because of circumstances ... life. It is what it is. I am who I am.
I wrote a post a few weeks ago about belonging and put down my feeling of not belonging to being adopted. So many people commented and emailed me saying they felt the same way and they weren't adopted. It was enlightening for me to see that we all struggle with belonging, even if we always have belonged somewhere and with someone.
After I read Cate's post I also wanted to write that the reason I can't "find myself" is because I'm adopted. Because being adopted meant I never was myself. I don't know who I am. But the funny thing was, as I started to write these words I realised this is not what I think anymore. The words no longer rang true. When I read Cate's blog I was nodding and saying "yes, yes, yes" in my head. However, over the last little while I've come to the conclusion that this is not necessarily the case and as I wrote the words down it really hit home just how much.
I've spent most of my life blaming the fact that I'm adopted on why I feel disconnected from people. Why I've never belonged anywhere. If I take a long honest look back over my life I have always belonged somewhere. Not necessarily with my adoptive family, in fact mostly not with them. Not with my birth mother, how could I belong to her when I was never really hers? However I have still belonged. I've always belonged somewhere. There has always been a person or persons who have been there for me. Someone who has my back. A friend or a family to take me in as one of theirs. Never, ever have I been totally alone.
Yet, if you asked me about the time I left my husband I would tell you how totally alone I was. No one cared. I was an island. It was just me. The reality is, it wasn't like this at all. I had a fabulous circle of friends who held my hand throughout that first awful year. No matter what, they were there for me. There was never a time I was totally alone. Yet in my mind I was alone because I didn't have a family.
I have a family now. I have my two boys and a wonderful husband. I have two beautiful step daughters. I even have a dog. I have extended family. I belong somewhere, yet up until recently, I have still felt the need to "find" myself. I've always blamed this need on being adopted.
I do believe there is a certain disconnect from being adopted that others can never understand. I personally don't understand the love children have for their parents as I've never had this type of love. Of course I feel it in reverse for my boys so I have a better understanding than I used to. I sometimes feel cheated that I don't have the bond that many of my friends have with their parents, but I know many people who were brought up by their biological parents who don't have a close relationship with them either.
What I have learned in recent times is the disconnect I feel doesn't give me an excuse to feel sorry for myself and it doesn't mean I've been cheated of love and belonging. It just means I'm different. We are all different. There is no longer a standard "normal".
Getting older doesn't just mean grey hair and incontinence pads ... it means getting comfortable in our own skin. It means blaming our circumstances and other people less and taking full responsibility for our own happiness. A life well lived doesn't depend on where we originally came from, it depends on where we've been and who we've shared it with.