Empty Cereal Box

Views From Inside an Adoptee

May 30, 2006

To Long to Belong

I read a lot of adoption related blogs today and left comments. It feels good to be back. But still, I feel unsettled tonight, out of sorts, even aprehensive and I'm not sure why. Maybe because a thought crossed my mind that all of my life I've borrowed other people's experiences and lives to pretend they are my own, to give myself an identity, sort of. How can I begin to explain how it feels to ride my bike in residential neighborhoods at night and peer longingly into open windows, the homes with their lovely honey-colored rooms, family members accustomed to each other, like when you sit in a well-worn armchair? How can I explain how empty I feel when I realize that some story I want to write always belongs to someone else? There's a little girl somewhere in the picture. Find her. You know that game, Find Waldo?

I read blogs by other adoptees and by first moms and marvel at how strong some have become, how they've transcended their deep aches by doing good for others. I see I'm long overdue to open up and let the chips fall where they may, just open my eyes and see where others are hurting and offer a smile or a flower or a favor without strings. I see how self-protective I've been all of my life. Like walking around in a fetal position, seeing only my own navel. Being empty and fiercely protecting that emptiness. Because it's all I have of myself. Sure, I look "normal" and act "normal." You'd think I'd get over "it" by now because I've been an adult for such a long time. But yeah, there's still that lost little girl inside, like that little ghost you see haunting a graveyard and crying, so mournful it's scary and people run screaming away. I'm not trying to be a drama queen here. I'm trying to write out my truest feelings. I didn't call my blog Empty Cereal Box for nothing.

I see how mature other bloggers are, how they got to the point to be able to see far beyond themselves and I long to be like them (see, there I go again). One thing, though, reading the wonderful, powerful writing of other adoptees and first moms is showing me gently how to come out of my little cocoon soI can begin to heal. And for me, that is a priceless gift given freely. All I have to do is visit and read. It's like being an alcoholic. One day at a time. I'm NOT in control, even though needing so desperately to be in control has always been one of my crazy makers. I guess I just don't feel like I have anything to work with. Tonight I feel like I'm always going to be the one without a chair when they stop the music. I don't know. I guess I'm just feeling a little down tonight, and I'm not sure why.

May 28, 2006

A New Garden

Finally got back home day before yesterdy. A part of me didn't come back, though, the part of me that yearns to stay north where there are so many trees and so much rain that the oxygen seeps into people's brains and makes them kinder, somehow. Okay, maybe I'm just imagining that.

In the coming days and weeks I'll share more photos of my trip, but for now we have to settle back in, unpack, and catch up with all the stuff that slips and slides when you're gone and it goes unattended. You know, bills, housework, pending projects, errands, ad infinitum. With luck tomorrow I'll get back to visiting my wonderful blog pals--Rhonda, Mia, Kim Kim, Mom Seeking Peace, Heatherrainbow, and the rest of you who give me solace and inspiration every day.

Yesterday and today R and I cut and hauled concrete. In the process of hooking up to the sewer, we had to locate the "septic tank" (actually a big hole with an input and outlet that's been in the process of getting clogged for sixty some years, which no living person knew was actually a cesspool--yikes). In order to see what was beneath the cover, over the past weeks and months, we had to cut through five inches of concrete that the former owners had built a koi pond over, along with paving stones and a jacuzzi, tiki lights, jungle plants and the whole shebang for orchestrating huge zydeco parties. That's when they put out a sandwich board sign along the street in front of the house and invited the whole world to drop in.

Needless to say, R and I are rather the quiet types, and we didn't need the Tahitian beach scene. So we donated the koi to a local botanical garden, tore out about three tons of overgrown plants, cut the concrete (what a humongous job that is), hauled it ton by ton in the back of our pickup truck to county recycling, and finally got down to soil.

Now me, I say the soil can finally breathe and become fertile again after sixty years. I try not to think that the garden is going in where all the effluvia went, and when I do, I tell myself that they use human excrement for fertilizer in other countries. So, we'll have a nice organic garden where the Party Scene used to take precedence.

While we cut, dug, groaned, sweated, and ached, I got to thinking, as the concrete came out piece by piece and got stacked ready for hauling, that this effort of ours seems symbolic of a larger impending shift in human consciousness. Don't get me wrong. I'm always ready to say we might not make it as a species, given the odds that face us right now. But the concrete symbolized the old guard, the linear, the rigid institutions, the petroleum economy, the anal, hardcore cruelty that's been killing our souls for so long. The new garden represents (to me) a breaking up of those paradigms, and the hint of new possibilities of things like being kind, helping each other, being accepted for who and what we are instead of always trying to be something we aren't, losing the plastic, the phoney, often hopelessly lost from ourselves and each other (and being an adoptee is really over the top of all of this, right?), open source code and liberated Internet, gift economies, (see more on gift economies here , here , and here, or do a websearch--this subject compels me), among other things.

I've been reading Anne Lamott's book Plan B and realizing we don't have to be perfect. One of my favorite lines from this book is "laughter is carbonated holiness." Although I'm not a Christian, I get a lot from her work because she makes me feel less psychotic by her honesty. In this way she is one of my mentors. She gets me through some of the times when I think I'm going to lose it altogether, even though I know she wasn't adopted.

May 24, 2006

Dread vs. Nature

(Written last night-May 23 ) We left Portland today (below are some photos to give you an idea of some of the magnificent beauty we drove through). I feel dreadful sorrow inside me, an uncried cry as big as the open sea. It's a huge hollowness that burns and terrifies me by its sheer power. It's the feeling I get whenever I must leave my K, like my nmom left me. All I want to do is to cry from that bottomless place of abandonment, that fear of loss that eats away once again. I held back my tears, but even R wiped his eyes as we pulled out onto the highway.

Breathe. Stay in the now, trusting each moment to lead into the next. Right now I'm sitting in a motel room in Weed, CA at the foot of Mt. Shasta. R is watching HBO and I'm sitting next to him on the bed.

I think much of my trepidation is that every once in awhile I remember that K is going to leave for Guatemala on June 6 for seven weeks to do field work for her graduate studies, learning Mayan healing arts for women's health from two elderly women who speak very little English.

I feel dread. I know I must trust, but I still dread. I fear for K's well being. A single young woman, all the fevers-dengue, malaria, and who knows what else; right at the cusp of hurricaine season with global warming making ever-more ferocious storms, all strangers, so far away. We're working on setting up Skype, so that should help with communications. Oh, by the way, I helped her to set up a blog to journal her exepriences. You can click here if you want to read it. I'll also add it to my links.

Why do I always feel terrible that I could be doing so much more for my children? Why do I feel I can never do enough, that I'm a terrible mom? Why do I always fear the worst for them? I try to keep it all inside, but it hurts so much.

Still, on the road it's easier to breathe, to see a larger picture of the Earth and my place in it. Below are some photos I took as we drove from Portland toward Mt. Shasta. All the while this battle goes on inside me. It's metaphorical for adoption to me. The adoption industry vs. mother and child. I read where a certain dictator is planning to sell off to logging industry and developers much of the American wilderness and national forests. Then I stumble across quotes like this:

The way of nature is the cosmic path, infinitely older than the religious paths, which, by comparison are tiny ripples on the river of time. The path of nature is older than time itself. It was here in the creation of the universe and in the symmetry-breaking of the physical forces. It is no human myth or fantasy. It is woven with the warp and weft of biology and quantum mechanics. In it is encapsulated the paradox of conscious existence in a physical universe.-unknown

May 23, 2006


Bouquet from Mom Seeking Peace

Trust gives wings to the soul's flight through pathless awareness of its being.-
John Hogue

This is my last day in Portland. It's been breathtakingly beautiful here and being with my daughter K and her fiancee and having fun every day and night. One of the warmest and most gracious suprises of my visit here was meeting Mom Seeking Peace. She phoned me and we had a wonderful visit sharing our experiences about being affected by adoption--she having given up her son and me having given up my mother. Then she brought her sons with her and handed me a big bouquet of flowers in memory of my nmom, a little bear in honor of the "little girl" still inside me, and a card that expressed things only those affected by adoption could understand. It was a wonderful meeting. It was as if my own nmom, whom I've never met, came by to give a little peace to my heart. I can't explain how warm and thoughtful MSP was and how much it meant to me to meet her.

After she left I visited her blog and realized how much we have to trust the process of life and how the human spirit can be as healing as nature herself. I don't want to go home, yet I know that the only way to live now is to trust.

May 20, 2006


Thought I should check into Empty Cereal Box finally after over a week and see what's going on. I just published everyone's comments to "Grief" and was truly moved. I learn from everyone as it's all a reflection of my own experience. It's as if there are electrical implulses moving through a connected brain when it comes to these feelings we all know so well, that we have in common.

That and this probably doesn't make sense. I'm sitting here in Portland, Oregon in Ryan's basement while everyone is playing pool, drinking beer, playing music at 500 dcbls, dancing like crazy and generally causing major disturbance in the neighborhood. This is K, my daughter's, fiancee's house. And this is a ruckus.

R and I decided we hated San Francisco and decided to drive all the way up to Oregon on a whim, without a map, without a real plan, just taking each day as it came. You wouldn't believe how exquisitely lovely this place called Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park is. I mean it's a RAIN forest. Check out the photos.

Thought I should share some of the beauty.

No, this post isn't about adoption per se, it's about finding a space where being adopted slips down below pain, where you aren't thinking about it or running from it, or sweating it out of your pores, or eating it, drinking it, sleeping in it, stepping in it. For me right at this moment it's a place in primal reality before civilization began to destroy the planet. The grip around my heart and throat has released for the first time since I can remember. I think a lot of it has to do with a beautiful community of adoptees and nmoms and people who care enough to write out their experience online and people who comment on those writings that have begun to break up the horrible frozen waste inside me. So that I'm actually enjoying myself a little here in this body where I live. Someone pinch me. I'm so afraid this sense of lightness is going to go away. Still I know nothing has changed. It's just a fleeting, merciful sense of something-ness

I apologize for not having time to visit other blogs right now, but I'll get back to that as soon as I get back home. I'm not sure when that will be, but I'll make up for my absence, that much I do know.

May 11, 2006


I want, no I need to talk about grief right now. Yeah, that's right. So if you needed something cheerful to read, I apologize. Please click out and I wish you a pleasant day (or evening).

Who doesn't know about the suffocating gray blanket that settles over us when we lose people, pets, even trees to death? (I cried my heart for a whole day out when they cut down an ancient cedar tree on my street earlier this year.) Grief is the heavy blanket that settles over you when someone or something you love dies or leaves. There is a specific event: death or the break-up of a relationship where you realize you're never going to see that being again. That nothing on earth can replace her/his/its unique presence and belovedness. The grief engulfs you with a near unbearable weight. You can't eat, sleep, function. You just want to crawl into a deep, dark womb and pull it in after you. You don't want to deal with daily life or ordinary circumstance. You remain in an echo chamber of loss for some time--sometimes years. You want to die without your beloved's presence. Everything is diminished. Everything loses its colors, even bright spring days fade to shades of cold gray. You think nothing can ever be set right again.

You are allowed to go through a period of time that society calls "mourning." Your reclusive, emotional, erratic, unconsolable behavior is accepted and you are bestowed sympathy and understanding, at least superficially. But you know that you are the one going through this agony and that no one can reach in and console you, no matter how good their intentions. Around others you find yourself trying to "buck up" for their sake. You go through motions, prop up your smile, show gratitude for their concern and sympathy.

But no matter how traumatized you are, time has a way of healing the grief from death. The sharpness begins to soften, the memories begin to fade. You begin to come out of yourself. It's as if a deep wound has begun to scab over. You can begin to laugh a little again. You feel the heavy gray burden begin to lighten and gradually, imperceptibly, life continues as it did before. The snow melts and the river begins to flow again. You discover you no longer need to act as if you're healing. You actually are healing, thanks to loved ones, friends, spirituality, therapy, drugs, whatever was there for you. Now your loved one lives on as a faded memory. Their photos and belongings don't fill you with such an agonized sense of loss any more. You realize that love hasn't disappeared, it has only transformed. You realize life and you have both moved on and you can face new beginnings. You have moved through your grief.

Now, I know from first-hand experience that adoptees, despite brief periods of respite, live in a state of low-level, permanent grief. Everything I described above, only without relief. At birth or at a young age, the adoptee's entire universe, her identity, her sense of self dies. There is no respite. No consolation. No recourse to heal unless she breaks laws or bends spoons with her mind. Her frozen grief will never melt; the dark and empty room will never light up with people to whom she belongs. Often she has no memories or keepsakes to hold. Her entire existence is propped up, manufactured for other people's convenience. Her grief exists far beyond the relationship level. It exists at the cellular, even genetic level. You can't touch that, even if you're a scientist. Her entire existence is defined by and saturated with grief from birth to death. Even if her nfamily was simply awful, it was still her nfamily. Hers. Her anchor, in spite of everything.

People mean well when they speak of healing. "You have to stop wallowing in your misery. You can begin to heal if you really want to," they suggest. To me, that's like telling a gay person they can begin to be straight if they really want to. I write this blog and read and listen to spiritual teachers because I want to heal. I really, really do. My last few posts prove that I have days when it's a joy to be alive. Wish I could write uplifting, spiritual posts every day.
But days like today I want to vanish. Days like today I wish my mother had had an abortion because I feel as if I'm just taking up space. What I feel is beyond self-pity. It's cellular exhaustion and death. It's like a Monsanto death seed. Today is one of those days I can't help being so grim. It's the way I feel.

Every adoptee deals with her own grief and trauma in her own way. Yesterday I read about Masha Allen for the first time on The Daily Bastardette. Masha makes my grief and trauma look like a dish of vanilla pudding. But I too am living in permanent grieving in my own way, in the shadows of a life that died--my own.

Tomorrow we leave for San Francisco for a week, but if I can access wi-fi, I'll try to write more cheeful posts from there.

May 10, 2006

Freedom...Exactly When?

Staying in the Now is really tricky. Sometimes hours go by before I realize I've been off somewhere in Toonsville. Yesterday while I was on my knees scrubbing the bathtub and trying to stay in the eternal, sensual present--the shine of the tub, the sound of the scrub pad, the weight of my body against the side of the tub, the gray day outside, the sparkling clarity of the running water--my mind inevitably drifted back into its habitual seduction and took me into memories of a commercial I've been hearing on the radio. It's about some new bathroom cleaning product that has "scrubbing bubbles" and effortlessly cleans soap scum, mildew, and scale (those dreadful entities that need to be attacked because I've been brainwashed to spend money on "effortlessness" and thereby make chemical corporations richer). The woman at the end of the commercial exclaims, "It's less work, and that makes me happy."

I got to thinking about "less work," and how the path of least resistance has long been the battle cry for us who live in dehumanized industrialized countries. No one wants to get their bodies into the grunt work, because that takes too much time and sweat. And anyway, there are "more important" things to do. Abstractions are like carrots on a stick. I catch myself lumbering after them incessantly. I'd so much rather be "there" than here. Look at the time I can save by using these easy products. Hurry! I know I'm impatient, but damn it, I'm somebody and I have to have it my way now.

It's a constant race for me to get that carrot. But for some reason it's always just beyond my reach. Instead of focusing on what I'm doing, I'm thinking about a million other things. I know this is a cliche for many people who are looking for the Next Big Spiritual Thing. But I myself am really getting sick of my own insanity. Since I began digging and hauling soil, sand, and rocks for our sewer line project, I've had plenty of time to ruminate on these matters. Cows must be so peaceful and gentle because that's all they do all day. They ruminate. They chew their cud over and over, slowly and without a care.

The thing is, what I'm discovering ever-so-slowly is that the most sacred things are the things I take for granted. The things that sustain our very existence on Earth. They include the actual earth itself--the soil, the rocks, water, sand, and air--the sun, the moon, and growing things that are overlooked because of their wise and ancient silence. They are in no hurry. They aren't trying to get anywhere at all. And when I connect myself with them, touch them, smell them, listen to them, I get more in touch with my long-lost, forgotten self. I was wondering when I might begin to see the insanity part like a sheer curtain so the sane part of me could connect with the eternal truths found in these things. These, along with the honest, physical labor are what I shun with such practiced agility. Machines, chemical compounds, and people who live closer to the Earth have done the honest labor for all of us so so long as we can sit back and sip our drinks by the pool. Easy is what we want. What we don't want is to break a sweat. You know, those embarrassing underarm stains? And it hurts to think too hard. It's so much easier to zone out with distractions while all that messiness called Life just rolls on by.

See, I was scrubbing potatoes under the water and it dawned on me that I was going through some meaningless motion with impatience, that the potatoes were just objects. I didn't see them, the patterns on ther skin, their differences, their shapes and textures. No, I was too busy trying to get the grunt work done so I could go do "something else." I wonder how much of the sickness that's killing everything has to do with this mad race to escape elsewhere from who and where we are, this need for luxury and ease, which the industrial revolution has infused into every aspect of our lives. I know I'm contributing to the insanity every time I float off into my abstract thoughts.

What else. Well, I strongly suspect that money ties into all this, and further separates us from our own selves and fr0m each other and the Earth, who takes care of us like a Mother who gives with unconditional love.

I wonder when we will all free ourselves from this bondage of thought we've spun in for so many eons. I often catch myself walking around all gloomy, brooding, pessimistic, snappish, impatient, and filled with despair.

Maybe, just maybe, the metaphor of the photo above is beginning to let loose its frozen grip within us? Maybe soon we will finally begin to melt and pull away from the bondage, to bring our spirits home, a home that has nothing to do with the emptiness we've all been living (hey, you don't have to be an adoptee to have lost your cereal!).

You'll have to excuse me for going on about this. Like you, probably, I'm in the process of needing to work stuff out. It's as if I found this piece of string and I'm following it into a dark room within myself, to the real origins of my own loss and grief, not the obvious ones. To quiet the tape that plays over and over in my head about never knowing who I am except a dark, empty living room in a box. What really caused that grief and loss, know what I mean? I can't help wondering when ease, money, time, separation, impatience, and fear are going to melt away so that things can begin to heal both within myself and in everyone else with whom I share this planet.

May 08, 2006

State of Grace

Another Moleskine moment.

This entire past week has offered me an orgy of gifts. Not the kind with wrapping paper, but gifts to the heart and soul. Human to human. The awakening of our interconnectedness unfolding before my eyes. It must be that it takes a terrifying threat, a push to the brink of extinction to shake us into awareness. To finally open our eyes to what indigenous people have known forever. Everything feels so upside down and twisted, yet somehow new seeds are getting planted anyway. Not seeds you can see, but energy seeds that nourish each other when in proximity, people getting together and without speaking a word knowing, understanding how fucked everything is and how vulnerable we all really are. I save most of this kind of paranoia to vent in my other blog.

In addition to the world situation, anyone who's been reading my blog knows I've been dwelling on my own pain from being an adoptee, thinking that I needed to shake something up, to make people listen to me and hope something would happen, at the same time knowing that unless those people were adopted, it would be like trying to explain the color red to people born blind at birth.

But for some reason this past week, things have been flowing. I seem to find the right book, run into the right person, find the right website, happen to be at the right spot at a certain time and everything falls effortlessly into place. Don't you just love when that happens? I'm going all spiritual on myself these days. But maybe that's what's finally going to melt this granite shell around me, the one that began to grow and harden three days after my birth, the day of my relinquishment.

I'm learning so much on a subtle level from those who visit Empty Cereal Box and leave comments; also I learn from reading their blogs. I must be an artist, I just don't have the confidence to pick up a visual medium and begin to work with it. Maybe my pallet is my heart and the Earth and other human beings are my canvas. I don't know. I feel like I just started kindergarten. I'm coloring now, but most of the color ends up outside the lines. That's okay. I'm not being too coherent here, but my heart feels fuller than it has in, oh, for as far back as I can remember. I've been reading Anne Lamott and listening to Eckhart Tolle's Power of Now, and something is breaking through. Not sure what.

I'm breaking through I'm bending spoons
I'm keeping flowers in full bloom
I'm looking for answers from the great beyond...
Yesterday I met a holy man. He's stick-thin and toothless. His pants, split over his cracked workboots and scrape on the ground in tattered flags. His matted hair and beard probably haven't been washed in six months. He rolls his own cigarettes, carries a six-pack of Miller around on the rack of his bicycle, breathes asthmatically, and punctuates his sentences with phlegmy coughs. Sometimes he visits our nextdoor neighbors, who I never speak to because here in the barrio, being a white woman doesn't give me many points and I get snubbed a lot by Mexicas. They don't understand how much I admire them and their culture, despite the fact that I give them plants to set into their yards when they move in. That's okay too.

R was standing at the curb scratching his head, looking down into the sand-filled hole in the sidewalk he had just cut with a concrete cutter. We'd bought bags of concrete and Quickrete to rebuild the concrete slab of sidewalk to meet the standards of Mr. Fancy Pants Important Inspector from Land Development. See, you're supposed to hire professionals, but we never do that. We always fumble around with projects ourselves, figuring them out as we go, making tons of mistakes and a big mess. When people see the end results, they usually howl with laughter. Like the time we tried to lay our own brick down in the back patio. "You did that? Har har hardy har har! You didn't know what you were doing there did you? You were supposed to do this and this. It would have been so much easier and looked so much better. Dude. This'll never pass inspection. Bla bla bla..."

Quite so. Anyway, R was trying to figure out how to get things up and started with the concrete. Where to put the concrete to mix it, how much water, how fast does it dry, how do you smooth it out, etc. etc. At that moment, the holy man, let's call him Mr. Tom Buddha, stumbled out from the driveway next door pushing his gnarled and oily bicycle ready to weave up the street after several cans of beer and who knows what else had put a toothless grin on his face. Tom Buddha saw R scratching his head, put down his bicycle, got down on his knees and began mixing the concrete, pouring it, directing how to smooth it, how much water, basically taking over the job like a trapeze artist juggling psychotrophic torches and rainbows. R and I watched him move, our mouths agape. He moved with graceful, dance-like motions, with calm certainty and ease. It took both of them about three hours to lay the slab. Then they stood around and talked, swapping tales, making friends, watching concrete dry as Tom Buddha sucked from the Corona R had given him.

Tom Buddha's mind is clear and sharp. His soul is larger than the sky over the city. He knows every homeless person on the avenue by name. He has more stories and jokes to tell than he has beers to open. He lives in a fourteen-foot trailer behind a sagging house two blocks up and near the hillside. I asked him if he was a vet. He said, No because he couldn't get into veterinarian school. He hangs out like a tattered guardian angel. Was here this morning at six o'clock to watch over the concrete slab to make sure it wasn't a graffiti magnet. He asks for little and gives all he has, which doesn't have much to do with material possessions.

The upshot is that Mr. Fancy Pants Inspector swung by around eight this morning, and hopped out of his big white truck ready to throw the book at R for doing a crappy job on the sidewalk. But when he saw the slab his jaw dropped. He shook his head with utter astonishment. The job had passed his white-ass scrutiny. He would sign the encroachment permit. He tore off the pink slip that was as good as his signature, got back in his truck, still in disbelief, and drove off. We had trumped his bureaucracy. Or rather ol' Tom Buddha had thrown a bucket of grace over our all our heads and laughed his toothless grin.

May 05, 2006

Cinco de Mayo

Nature does not know extinction; all it knows is transformation. Everything science has taught me, and continues to teach me, strengthens my belief in the continuity of our spiritual existence after death.--Wernher von Braun.
Thought I'd share a photo of two irises in bloom outside my front door. They bloomed despite the snails gnawing their leaves to shreds. Everything is in bloom and the mockingbird is singing with crazy abandon on the telephone pole. Across the street, Angelina hangs a cage out on her front porch every morning. It holds a canary who sings his heart out all day. All the shrubs and trees are a profusion of multicolored green. Ring-neck doves fly in pairs. Finches splash in the birdbath, little balls of feathers. The cold fog comes and goes like my depression. I have to haul recycling and fill sand today, but I had to stop and write a little before I go.

Yesterday was an incredibly beautiful day. Not the weather, but the beauty of a high I felt inside. If there is a God, He or She somehow broke through my rock-hard cranium. I've been reading Anne Lamott, who is rapidly becoming one of my literary heroines. Anne writes with vast honesty and humor. She writes about small miracles in everyday life. She brings tears to my eyes and humility to my heart (I'm a Leo, after all, so this is no small accomplishment.)
This is how we make important changes--barely, poorly, slowly.
I want to write that on the back of my hand.

And then there's Kim Kim. She also brings tears to my eyes with her simple honesty and sweetness. She is who she is, and when I saw her photo I realized that I looked a lot like her when I was younger. We all have scarred hearts and are doing the best we can.

And then there's N's (my youngest) new boyfriend, J. His arms are covered with jail-black tattoos. At 13 he was beaten up so badly by gang members that he landed in the hospital for something he didn't do. When he got out of the hospital his mother ran over him with the family car. It was an accident, and she was so traumatized that she didn't drive for a year. He escaped with a broken shoulder and twisted back, both permanent damages. Other vehicles have hit him dozens of times, but he lived like a cat with nine-plus lives. He's been arrested for countless misdemeanors and stood up to bad cops and thrown his broken sunglasses at a closed-minded judge, abused by a school security guard, and seen many of his friends die young. His mother has MS and he has ulcers. He is a very old young man. He doesn't even know our family yet, but for the past two days he's shoveled soil back into the trench we dug for the sewer line just because he wanted to help us out. No expectations, no strings. He bought N a $600 necklace with his hard-earned money as a hairdresser and wants to begin his own mobile hairstyling business where he visits the elderly and disabled to cut their hair. He has no time for reading or desk work. He has lived many lives in such a short time and does kind things quietly for strangers. In the few weeks I've know him, already he has melted a good patch of my despair.

I guess we begin to see things when we're ready to see them, even though they've been in front of us all along. Yesterday, for a few fleeting moments, I saw Love in the purest sense of the word. I saw what's truly important, what's behind all the crazy drama, the agony, the sorrow, death, war, lies, greed, hatred, and ugliness. I saw what my heart's been longing to see for so long. I also know that the curtain only raises for me to glimpse it once in a great, great while. But when it does, I feel like I'm staring into infinity, if only for a brief moment. Still, I know that today is another day, and everything changes. But that small respite must have come to teach me something about Love and the part of myself I don't see much of these days.

May 04, 2006

404 Not Found

Huge searchlights are going off in my skull. I don't know what they are pointing to, but I guess they are there to advertise the blimp of depression that floats around inside my brain. I can't say if that blimp is floating around inside or outside of me or if it floats through walls. But here is some of the baggage it carries around:

It's been gray and overcast here for the past week
Both my kids are independent adults, off living their own lives, as they should--empty nest
I have no extended family
My friends don't understand me
My phone's been silent for a month and I don't have much to say to anyone
Ecological disaster is eating everything faster than a plague of locusts
Cretins who run the show look at everything through dollar signs lodged in their irises
Everything is seen in terms of "resources" to be used instead of sacred entities

I recently left a comment on another blog and realized that many things have yet to surface about my feelings as an adoptee. Here are a few realizations:

My life is basically a page that says: "404 Not Found." Death was at the end of my search, and with it a door sealed shut forever. The bad part is that I will forever be fantasizing about my nmother, grasping on any straw that might support my fantasy that she could do no wrong, etc. because I'll never really know the truth.

I stuffed it when my afather died because he was the first to go and it felt like another abandonment. I was devastated. Then I felt nothing when my agrandparents died and nothing when my amother died. I learned how to feel numb. I'm really good at that. At the same time, I know that if anything were to happen to either of my two daughters that I would implode into an infinite wound.

Well, time to get back to my daily routine so I can write a bit and curl up with Anne Lamott. She happens to comfort me like the mother I don't have, only she's just words in a book.

Oh, I almost forgot. I launched a bit sutton today, my second blog. Sutton veers away from the ghastly turmoil of being an adoptee into the screaming part of me that thinks too much about the ghastly political turmoil that's eviscerating our lovely planet.

May 03, 2006

My Petty Life

Well, what I'd rather do is to find a place to sleep. But I have to pay bills, make phone calls, go to the bank, the post office, pick up flea medication for the dog, return some shorts for R, and pick up my new black and pink eyeglasses from the optometrist. When I get home I plan on washing a sinkload of dishes, folding a mountain of clothes, watering my thirsty garden, bathing the dog, and stirring up a mess of dinner, probably steamed cauliflower, broccoli, and carrots and wok some bits of lamb in a hastily invented sauce. I cook on the fly and ad lib like crazy. Now I can go pick lovely herbs from my new garden to toss into anything. Sometimes I just feel so French provincal. Le meu, le purr.

Okay, so you get that I'm a household activist. Whatever. Here I am, sweating being unemployable. There simply aren't enough jobs to go around. That's because the Big Important people have already filled all the slots. See, I think that this entire shipwreck we call the American System of Government is infested with petty little power Napoleons, all of them sucking off the rest of us like lice, taking their cues from the most incompetent administration the White House has ever endured.

[Crackly sound of old newsreel audio]

Well, when the president does it, that means it is not illegal.
--Richard M. Nixon

In other words, anyone who can throw their weight around does. Take Mr. Fancy Pants I'm So Important Inspector who graced us with his presence this morning. He was real sorry to say that R had cut a few tiny lines in the sidewalk beyond the hole with the concrete cutting machine and he wouldn't pass the job.

Last weekend we had cut the sidewalk in order to pour sand and concrete into the gaping hole we made from trying to access the sewer line lateral. The hole wouldn't have had to be a fraction of its size if when the city repaired the sidewalk over the storm drain last year if they hadn't erased the marks that showed where it was. So this Mr. F.P.I. S. Important arrived late because as an engineer, he didn't HAVE A MAP and got lost on our part of town, the poor, poor man with his six-figure income. He would never visit our "underprivileged" part of town unless it was part of his job requirement. It's only about a fucking half mile from the wanna be white house city hall where he works every day of his life behind a big important desk with his embossed business cards and his corners stuffed with rolled blueprints...

If this morning he'd have turned his important head just six inches to the left and perused the existing sidewalk, he would have seen many little cut lines around a sagging fire hydrant, countless structural cracks, and a general drunken unevenness along the entire length of the ancient concrete that's been patched and repatched since at least the late 1800s. But no, WE had a few little extra cut marks. Some people just love to throw their important little power around. Do I seem angry? Whatever gave you that idea?

ANYway, speaking of feeling utterly ineffectual, I finally got over to read some world-famous dooce. I kept putting it off because I knew I'd feel as limp as a smelly dishrag as I oogled her vast aesthetic wit and creativity. Seems she's a household word with her blog that's been entertaining literally millions since 2001, a blog that gets well over 200 c0mments on each post while the rest of us blog scum hunch over our screens, chin in hand, eyes swirling hypnotized vortices, staring at the phrase "0 comments" or "1 comments" or "2 comments" at the end of every post.

Tap*tap*tap: This thing on? The most comments I've had so far from one post was a double diget with a one in the front. Woo woo. But then I didn't graduate valedictorian in English at BYU and never dated actors and didn't marry a web geek. Plus she has that mobile upward professional attitude and sharp appearance and can afford sexy Euro shoes. Do I sound envious or what? But there's hope. I've only had E.C.B. for less than a month. And anyway, I'll bet dooce isn't adopted...see how easy it is to blame everything on that?

May 02, 2006


Geez. I just have to get more exercise, that's all there is to it. Too much blogging is bad for a girl's figure.

My mind is scattered this morning, so I'm afraid I'm not going to be all that coherent. Probably because R and I hauled about seven tons of earth and sand for a solid three days during our continuing chain gang efforts to fill in the huge crevasse made to lay the sewer line. Tomorrow Mr. Inspector Smarty Pants will lean his face down into the abyss and offer his rectally correct opinion on our labor and give us the thumbs up or thumbs down. If the latter, I will be inclined to fling myself into the aforementioned crevasse. I'm surprisingly un-weary this morning despite all that grueling labor, however. I must have come from sturdy peasant stock. But we'll never know, will we?

I just finished breakfast of eggs, toast, and decaf tea. I got off caffeine last year after a life-long addiction that originated when I was around three years old when my a-grandfather used to serve me mugs of milk laced with coffee, his second favorite beverage. His favorite beverage was some brown liquor he kept under the kitchen sink and guzzled in the wee hours while my a-grandmother slept. He also smoked partial cigarettes on the frong porch, stubbed them out, and deposited them in his pants pockets to save for later before going in the house. He smelled like a walking ashtray. Anyway, this unemployed adoptee is now fueled to add another blog entry.

On to another subject, as I read blogs I'm always struck by the need for audience. Everyone wants their fifteen minutes of fame. Everyone craves attention, including me. We all want people to visit our blogs, read them, and make return visits, ideally leaving behind comments as they go, like trails of digital breadcrumbs. I find it interesting how addictive it is to read my traffic stats to determine who from where read what and for how long. I'm thinking how desperately we all need to be noticed, how we long to connect, as I wrote yesterday. It used to be we connected in the marketplace or the plaza. We had huge extended families, and people loved and bickered and aired their laundry face to face in real time and in real places. It's clear that over time we have all been separated to weaken our connections so that we don't rise up en masse against our masters. Here I'm thinking Homeland Security and all of its implications...
[T]he Home Front is something of a fiction and lie, designed, not too subtly, to draw [us] apart, to subvert love in favor of work, abstraction, required pain, bitter death. (Pynchon)

Oh, and allow me to add the enforced poverty that makes young women 1) see themselves as inferior and 2) give up their babies...yeah, and there's that. So, I've been seeing a parallel to this craving for connection to what it feels like [*cat screetch*] EVERY FREAKING DAY OF AN ADOPTEE'S LIFE. Hello.

May 01, 2006

May Day. A Word Part 2

Viva la Huelga! Viva la Raza! I raise a fist in solidarity with the millions of immigrants who risk so much to march in the streets for human dignity. May solidarity and direct action continue for as long as it takes in the name of human rights all over the world.

So, continuing on the subject of this so called "death" idea I wrote about yesterday that has controlled the human mind for so many millennia, here are more of my thoughts. I need to see the reality of my life as a seamless continuum. Until now like most people I've been doing all that I can to avoid the subject, a monstrous denial of the inevitable. But only because it's been steeped in such hideous, ugly fear.

Now I see that I must open my eyes and learn from the natural world. I can watch a seed grow, watch it sprout and continue to add leaves, flowers, roots. But at no point can my consciousness say there is a division between this and that stage of this plant's life (and post-life) process, that this turns into that, in varigated steps. No. I cannot see that. It's one seamless process from seed to sprout to plant to flower to fruit and the withering to produce seed again. Humans aren't plants, but who can say where we really begin and end. In fact, who can say that we do begin and end? Yes, the human race is part of nature too, and it is now in the decay stage. But decay produces seed. There is no death, no end stop, only a witness of life's many seamless transformations. It's all good.

I can see how all plant and animal processes, even planetary processes, are cyclical. As above, so below. Above meaning conscious and below meaning subconscious, I think. I see the entire biosphere, the weather, human psychology, and all life as interconnected, and a models like the Internet is a crude replica at best, but reflects the human longing to connect. The huelga en los campos, en los fabricas, en los residencias today, the incredible solidarity is electric and oh so overdue, this connectedness. It feels as if a dam has finally begun to crack.

A few days ago I came across a passage in Pynchon's Gravity's Rainbow that is so profound. The characters Roger and Jessica (not Rabbit) are dodging the ongoing catastrophe of World War II in London.

If they have not quite seceded from war's state, at least they've found the beginnings of gentle withdrawal...there's never been the space or time to talk about it, and perhaps no need--but both know, clearly, it's better together, snuggled in, than back out in the paper, fires, khaki, steel of the Home Front. That, indeed, the Home Front is something of a fiction and lie, designed, not too subtly, to draw them apart, to subvert love in favor of work, abstraction, required pain, bitter death.
A profound passage to my way of thinking. And I'm also thinking of E.M. Forster's wonderful, continual, gentle nudge to "only connect."