Empty Cereal Box

Views From Inside an Adoptee

October 22, 2006

Yeah! Sweet Chestnut

It's probably not a good idea to post blogs when I'm feeling low, but the last two entries I did anyway, since everything isn't always roses and chocolates. It's the truth about my life, so there it is. When I feel that low, I stay away from posting on other blogs, since I don't want to leave a trail of tears wherever I go. That's just not cool.

Then yesterday at the local organic grocery store I wandered into the natural remedy section and discovered that they had put Bach Flower Remedies on sale through the end of the month. I've had some good results with these remedies in the past, but since they are so quiet and subtle, I usually don't think about them until I see them somewhere. I studied the book the store keeps nearby that describes each of the 38 remedies, how they interact with our emotional states, how they change stress and negativity into positive and calm outlooks. To the Red Chestnut and Aspen that I'd been taking on an irregular basis, I decided to add Sweet Chestnut, to see what would happen.

After you choose which flower essence(s) most fit(s) your emotional symptom picture, what you can do is to either take two drops (they seem just like water) by mouth or add four drops of as many essences as fit your symptom picture to 30 ml of water. You can take four drops as many times a day as necessary to allevieate whatever symptoms you need to calm. I did this and after only two doses, my deep sense of despair lifted and I actually feel more normal now. These essences don't cover up things, they help the mind-body system to release and heal the old past stress and painful memories. Now at least I can sit and meditate with a lighter heart. Today I don't have that heavy weight of depression bearing down on my center. I actually feel "normal," whatever that means. It's as though my cellular structure opened up and started to breathe again.

I'm not a professional therapist, so I can't say where/when this depression began or what caused it. All I know is that for as long as I can remember, I've always felt temporary. I've always obsessed about my true origins. I've always felt alone and often on the edge of despair. I imagine other adoptees know what I'm saying. I don't know if other adotpees go through such tenacious depression, and if they do, what they do about it. But I firmly believe that these are soul scars and that no amount of therapy can heal the origin of the wound. It can only attempt to make us feel better about ourselves so that we can function in the world we've been given.

When you can't afford health insurance and you are unemployable like I am, therapy is out of the question anyway. I don't think self medication is the answer when it comes to drugs. But Bach Flower Remedies aren't drugs. They are essences of plants and they are unaffected by other medicines nor do they interfere with other medicines. Whenever I choose the correct remedy, I feel like a new person. I can't recommend them highly enough to anyone willing to give them a try.

Also, exercise has a great effect of release. I love to ride my bicycle along the Springwater Trail on the east shore of the Willamette River here in Portland. I snapped a few photos the other day that I thought I'd share here.

This is a shot of Portland, Southwest, the downtown area, across the Willamette River, which flows from south to north, that divides the city in half. Then a street called Burnside, which runs east and west, divides it into quarters. So everything is mapped out accordingly: Southwest, Northwest, Southeast, and Northeast. There's also plain North, too, near the Columbia River, which creates the border with Washington.

This is looking up at Ross Island Bridge. Eleven bridges connect the west side of Portland with the east side. This is why people call it Bridgetown. But it's also called Stumptown (because once all the trees were cut down to build the city, all that was left were stumps); also called Beantown (coffee is king here along with microbreweries); also called P-town; also called Rose City because roses grow everywhere. I'll write more about this city from time to time in future posts.

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October 20, 2006


Okay. I had to get that stuff off my chest in my last post. I didn't mean to be so grim. Guess I'm just feeling really down lately. I hear people talk about craving connection with other people. They say that's one of the biggest cravings of most human beings. I wonder if the Internet is providing some of that connection or if it's actually causing more disconnect. Virtual connection? Jury's still out on that, I think. Face-to-face is the only satisfying connection there is, for me at least. There's nothing that can substitute for it. Just like nothing can substitute for going out into nature or being friends with a real dog or cat, etc.

My older daughter is planning her wedding for next summer. There are five billion things to do, and nothing is cheap. She may go to Greece on her honeymoon. I wish both my girls a long and joyful life. I looked at a photo of my younger daughter the other day. I nearly fell over when I saw how much she looks like my natural mother (I never met her. I only have two blurry snapshots of her and a large black and white taken a few years before she died). I couldn't take my eyes off her smile and her eyes. I told her once that she was her grandmother who came back to challenge me and keep me from doing stupid things. She rolled her eyes and said, "Whatever, Mom." No one understands how much I need to make some connection somewhere, to make some sense out of my life. That's okay. I can't expect anyone to understand.

Guess I'm still down. I guess I'd better go take some St. John's Wort. Or get drunk. Or both.


October 16, 2006

Letting Off Some Steam

This weekend I felt so down that I had to vent in my journal. Not down from anything that's been happening in my present life. But down in the usual historic sense of being an adoptee. Writing in my journal is the only therapy I can afford besides this blog.

I want to share an excerpt of what I wrote just because I think it's important not to keep feelings private when you feel so completely alone, even surrounded by others close in your life. I think that wherever connections can be made, it's a good thing. I mean, when adoptees read each others' blogs, we connect--speaking for myself, probably the only connection as an adoptee I'll ever find in this world.

Maybe everyone, adopted or not, feels some of these things. All I know is that this is one of those knotty venting days. I know, I know. There's a difference between scratching your ass and tearing a hole in it. But everyone needs to vent once and awhile. The deal is, I need to do it today. Tomorrow is another day.

For some reason the struggle to express my inner world overwhelms me. My entire life has been an exile. Because my exile began at birth, I experience permanent separation as further proof that I am without merit, insubstantial, and rootless. The inability to express my inner world often overwhelms me. I apologize a lot. I haven't yet realized how useless it is to apologize for every little thing because I feel I'm only taking up space. Every thought that enters my head, everything I do is tinged with both lack of self and a relentless rage. Every thought/action begins with insecurity (hesitation, uncertainty, tentativeness and temporary-ness that fade into outright invisibility, the non-existence of non-connection) and ends in guilt.

My head/heart/soul floats unmoored, has never felt at home, at ease, secure, connected; has never known confidence, and twists with permanent anxiety. The image of a hanged person twisting alone in the wind comes to mind. Anxiety is the only permanent home I've ever known. Nothing substantial or visible, but life-long. Anxiety is what has always fueled my existence. Imagine a tree without roots. Its anxiety is forever that it will fall over, its lack of tree-ness final.

I've always been convinced that people throughout my life whom I regarded as friends or lovers, even the only blood family I have--my two daughters--will abandon me sooner or later, forever. This sense of abandonment is the only certainty I carry with me on my journey through life. I envy everyone who knows who they are, where they came from, their roots, blood, and history, regardless of how much dysfunction or brutality they have experienced. How can that be? I think that even in abuse and brutality, knowing who you are gives you some ground on which to stand, some substance from which to operate, to defend yourself because you can say, "Hey, this is the unbroken line of my connection to myself because I belong here, because I have roots. I can punch back from solid being." On the other hand, I doubt anyone would ever say "I'd trade this abuse for the emptiness of not knowing who I am."

Such loss means that this raw, invisible wound that I will carry within me will never heal as long as I live. My mother could have been a miserable, rotten human being for all I know. But at least I would have had the chance to know her and to make my own decision about staying in her life or not. At least I'd have known that I came from someone, from somewhere instead of simply appearing out of a black hole. Instead I was handed to surrogate parents without any of my own information and without my permission.

Even though both sets of parents are now dead, the middle-man third-party state denies me access to this information as if I am forever frozen as a child. An absolute social contract written in titanium. Who are they protecting? "We just can't have adoptees going out to go "find" our natural parents and wreak all kinds of havoc and open untold cans of animosity." No, there's something far more sinister going on here. It has to do with corporate enterprise, as we all know. Has to do with lucrative exchange that keeps the wealthy satisfied. Dirty little secret among a million dirty little secrets that surround adoption.

Okay, I know there are adoptees and foster kids (and even kids in their natural families) far worse off than I am, but that knowledge doesn't mitigate my sense of irreversible loss one iota.

It doesn't ease the loss of the most sacred and sovereign possession a person can own: one's sense of self. With this divisive social contract, the idea that adoptees were adopted becomes more important than the fact that they were born. Conveniently forgotten is the fact that adoptees have only have one mother: the mother who gave birth to them. Surrogate parents can be the kindest people in the world, but they are still surrogate. Meaning, they can never replace what has been lost. There is NO ONE who can set things right again, no matter how much love or money adoptive parents throw at their new possession.

This raw, invisible wound that I will carry within me to my death will never heal. My mother could have been a miserably rotten human being for all I know. But at least I would have had the chance to know her and to make my own decision about being in her life or not. At least I would have known where the hell I came from. Instead I was handed to surrogate parents without any of my own information (surrogate information and lies filled the slots) and without my permission.

And even though both sets of parents are now dead, the state denies me access to this information. I am forever frozen as a child in the eyes of the state, which is forever and convinced (conveniently) that I am going to go "find" my natural parents and wreak all kinds of havoc and open untold cans of misery. Fortunately, I took the initiative (a sick person can only stand being sick for so long) and "found" what was left of my natural family--outside this divisive, irreversible social contract, this corporate-government enterprise, outside what I'm "supposed" to know because this law seals all records forever. The whole thing stinks beyond imagination.


October 12, 2006

Dulling the Pain

Okay, finally got back to blogging here again. Thank all of you for the welcome back. It's deeply gratifying to know that there's a community here among adoptees, first moms, and others who understand. Forgive me, but I'm a bit rusty and it's going to take awhile to get back into the flow of things. I'm drinking a bottle of Bridgeport Brewing Co.'s India Pale Ale--one of the many microbrews made at local breweries here in Portland. It soothes the constant, gnawing lonely emptiness (for lack of a better description) that characterizes my life. I have never liked alcohol, but lately I'm beginning to appreciate its effects. Basically, all it takes is one bottle or glass and the ache settles down so I can write a little.

It's been a long struggle to get any traction in my new "home" here in Portland. I could write pages about the adjustments involved to moving to a new state, but after all this blog is about what it's like to be an adoptee. It's a given that being an adoptee affects every single part of my life, even the most miniscule detail. I will get into details over the next few weeks.

Any adoptee will understand what I mean when I say that I've always felt unwanted by god and everyone on earth, that I'll never be good enough for anything. Intellectually I undestand why I feel this way, but when push comes to shove, intellect doesn't help anything at all. When you don't feel wanted, when you feel unrelated and unconnected to anyone or anything, it tends to make you want to drink copious amounts of alcohol to dull the sharp edges of reality. It's not a matter of not facing things or being in denial. On the contrary, it's an existential problem that supercedes even nihilism, if that's possible. I can't say if Sartre or Camus were adopted or not, but they come closest to describing the feeling of utter nothing-ness inside.

Maybe being a adopted is a personality defect. Maybe it's just human nature to be so lonely, as if instead of a person all I feel inside is an abyss. Maybe, just maybe, being an adoptee reflects the reality of our existence: that we are just passing through here and nothing is permanant.

It turns out that my brother must have been drinking a little himself the night that he was so friendly a couple of months ago. I emailed him several times and called him, as he encouraged me to do, but he only returned two emails and no phone calls. I just feel a big, painful shrug about it all. How could I expect him to be interested in me after all these years of not even knowing I existed? I know he had a horrible life up until he was about thirteen years old, so he bears his own scars. He also has a family and a full life, so I can't expect him to jump into my life any more than he would allow me to jump into his. I feel depressed about it, especially after he had been so enthusiastic about our relationship that one night before I moved north. Oh well. You get to expect this sort of thing. The pain only comes when you get your hopes up.


October 02, 2006

Hello Again Everyone

Finally. After nearly two months I've returned to blog at Empty Cereal Box. I have a great deal to write about and a great many blogs to catch up on, to read what everyone has been doing and experiencing.

I even have a place to live here in my new city Portland, at least for the time being. I decided it was time to get back to exchanging thoughts with other adoptees and natural moms because days like today, when I feel the full effects of being homeless all of my life, of not ever feeling at Home even in the midst of my husband and children, I get so down that I can't imagine facing another day. I read Rilke and I can breathe again for awhile. Or I stumble across passages in books or lines in movies, like "When nothing is certain, everything is possible," and I get a tiny glimmer of a door that could have been open. How can I express my longing to be Elsewhere?

At any rate, I'm back to pour it out onto the page, for what it's worth, here in Portland where I'm hitting the wall of my own self. It's getting too late to write much tonight, but I'll be back online tomorrow to dive in again. I feel so distant right now, from everyone, from myself, from everything I once knew. A big part of my heart still reaches out toward other adoptees here in the blogosphere, about the only place where I feel understood. Also, Momseekingpeace has sent me an email asking where I am, so it's time to be here again. See you tomorrow.