I read a book this week called “Why be happy, when you can be normal?” by Jeanette Winterson.
It is an autobiography. Her life, as an adoptee. Given up at 6 weeks old. Raised in an abusive adoptive household.
It was a book that touched on parts of my soul and made me think about everything surrounding my adoption.
Her story is not anything like my story. And yet, it is the same as my story.
The underlying feelings of loss and abandonment showed up in her life as not being able to connect to people because she never felt wanted. For me, those feelings show up as a need to belong to something. Anything. Being part of a group, being included is the opposite of being abandoned in my mind.
I was adopted when I was ten days old. For most of my life, I have never thought that this mattered at all to me. But then I read this book and realized that somewhere in my cells, it mattered. Not consciously, but it mattered. Jeanette writes in the book, “The psyche is much smarter than consciousness allows. We bury things so deep we no longer remember there was anything to bury. Our bodies remember. Our neurotic states remember. But we don’t.” She also writes, “Adoption begins on your own – you are solitary. The baby knows it has been abandoned – I am sure of that.”
These statements hit me like bullets. When I was growing up, I always had loving, caring parents around me. I never felt like I was unwanted. Unlike this author, who was told she was unwanted from a very early age. But, I also never felt like I fit in. Anywhere. I felt like I was always striving to be someone who would be like the other kids, family members, etc. But I never was. I have always felt apart. And if it is true that my body feels this abandonment, I now understand where that feeling comes from. Growing up as an adoptee, you never really see yourself in the people around you. They don’t look like you. They don’t sound like you. And no matter how much they love and care for you, you are never going to look at them and truly see yourself in them.
It is tough for me to admit this to myself. I love my adoptive family. They love me. I don’t want to be feeling these things. I am holding back tears as I write this. But there is a truth to these feelings that I can’t deny. I will be going back to therapy to figure them out. And maybe heal.
The author writes that she is healing. I believe I can too. I can learn to belong with the people who mean the most to me. I love both my adoptive and birth families.
I don’t know what this means going forward. I just know that it does not reflect on anyone around me. It is just me and how I feel. I will work on understanding my feelings. I will become a better version of me (with some therapy help).
I recommend the book on many levels, so even if you are not an adoptee, I think you would gain good insight into the human condition by reading it.
I am sure there will be more in future writings, but for now, this is all I can handle. I wish you love this week, my friends.