Reversal P.2

POW·ER /pou(ə)r/: the ability to do something or
act in a particular way

When one is in complete and full control of their mind and their body, they become invincible. Personal power is one of the greatest tools we as human beings have been gifted with. However, it is also one of the easiest things we own to give away and happens much too often.

I have been asked so many times why I am choosing to dissolve my adoption and remove my adoptive families name from my birth certificate. I have been scorned for not being thankful enough to them for taking me in when I was about to age out and asked what they did for me to hate them so much. I have been told that though some thought I was healing this is a clear sign that I’m not, that RAD is still a prevelant and life controling diagnosis in my life. And so to sum it all up and set it all straight, me doing this is about my personal power.

My entire life I’ve lived under people who have taken my power and replaced it with fear. I’ve allowed others to tell me who I should/shouldn’t like. I’ve let others tell me that I’m worthless and that I need to be a specific person who does specific things and acts a specific way. Up until the last few years, I didn’t even know I could have my own power. I thought that life was meant to be controlled by someone else. I was sure that if I didn’t find someone to make those decisions for me, I wouldn’t be ok.

Present day, I am working on claiming my power. I am learning to become who I want to be and who more perfectly aligns with my soul. As I work towards full personal power, I realize that my bio family wasn’t ok. Every person in that family thrived on other peoples failure and pain. I realize that with the personal power that I’m obtaining, I can release the desire to feed on others pain and despiration. And as I move forward, I realize that when I chose to be adopted I was seeking someone to continue taking my power. I found that. I found a family that wanted me to be a part of their family and to be a someone. They thrived on that too. They continue to thrive on that as they try to make decisions for me and belittle me. Until I asked them for a reversal, they were still discouraging me from persuing a life outside of the church…something I’d done 7 years ago. I sought someone to control me and they did just that. I gave them my power, and they kept it.

So, I’m choosing reversal because I have the power to finally decide for myself what is or isn’t good for me. I get to choose whether or not those who fail to empower me, in a positive way, stay in my life. It is unfortunate for them as they were doing the best they knew how. But they weren’t able to empower me. They chose to continue to thrive on my failures. It doesn’t take away from the good things they did for me and the love that they did show me. It doesn’t mean that I’m ungrateful for them and for the step forward they gave me in life. It simply means that I am no longer giving my power away to those who thrive off of it. It means that I choose to let go of the anger that they couldn’t empower me, and that we aren’t each otehrs people. I get to learn to empower myself. I’m starting fresh. I’m learning to create myself.

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Reversal P.1

Life’s busy. I am currently seeking an attorney or an adoption agency to help me complete an adoption reversal. There are so many factors that have gone into this decision and many long nights working through the “but what if’s” and “is it worth it’s?” I’ve written many pro-con lists and benefit-risk lists and it’s all come down to this decision, 100%.

Let me explain. My adoptive family is not a bad family. They are not bad people. They are good people with a good, strong family unit. Nearly 7 years ago, they brought me into that family by standing in front of a judge, despite the many warnings not to, and swore to be my family forever. 6 years ago, they sent me to school and 4 ½ years ago they asked me to never return home with the threat that I’d be institutionalized if I did.

While in their home, I did not connect with them but instead did what I knew how to and shut down. I shut them out because living in a family that I didn’t understand was just too big. To them my shut down looked like a lack of trying, disrespectful, and me not wanting to be a part of the family. That was hard for them and they shut down too. Things got bad and we all said some really hurtful things to which I was no longer allowed to talk to anyone in the family, for weeks. I shut down more, until I left for school and they were contemplating dissolving the adoption.

Fast forward a year and I’d moved to the other side of the country to work a job I was not fit for. Multiple times I reached out to them to ask them for help and to explain that I couldn’t do this job for fear of the people involved. I reached out because I knew that if I didn’t leave, I would become violent and I was unwilling to do that. Eventually I stopped reaching out for their help and quit the job and an hour later received the call to never return home or I’d be institutionalized. That they would not have someone in their family who has thoughts of hurting anyone and that I needed serious help; they were done.

Fast forward 4 ½ years later and here I am, sitting in my own apartment, 3 years into school with 2 jobs and doing really well. I’ve advocated for myself and for my healing for the past 7 years without their help. As a minor I looked for months for a residential that would take me and help me learn to manage what trauma still remained only to be turned away and told it was too late. I’ve moved to a new state where I’ve managed to find 5 people to help me walk through the trauma and hard times. I’ve worked everyday for 4 years to get rid of the demons that are inside of me and have learned in that time how to work within a family. I’ve done all of this without the help of my adoptive family. The little help I have asked for has been denied with the answer, “we did it, so can you.” All the while they continue to support their other adult child through his medical/mental health and schooling. When I succeed, their response is surprise. In the past 4 years, I have visited them twice on my own accord while they’ve yet to even offer a trip. All the while, they travel the same 14 hours to watch their other son play his sports. They don’t call, text or email and neither do I.

The one thing that has stuck out most from all of my adoptive mom and my conversations is her telling me that it’s not her job to help me through my darkness, that is what I have a therapist for. That she adopted a daughter to have a friend, a daughter, not this. As I left my hometown last month, I realized that statement has never rung truer, that now that I’ve worked through some of my biggest darkness’s she wants to jump back into a relationship. Now that the hard work is done, she’s ready to be in my life. But I can’t. I didn’t get adopted to have a friend. I got adopted because I needed a family that would stick with me through everything. Who would support me through my life and be there when I needed people to celebrate my accomplishments or grieve my failures. I got adopted because I needed a mom to teach me how to become a woman and a father to teach me the value of work and caring. Together, teaching me compassion, love, sorrow, and responsibility. I’ve learned those things in the last 4 years, but it wasn’t from them. They are good people, but they are not my people, and because of that, I’m reversing my adoption.

Processing Trauma

Before I start anything…I wanted to thank Nancy, over at Ordinary Miracles, for having me guest post. It was quite the experience!  I had planned to write about a dream I had but saved it for this blog…because it’s really more personal than what I did write.

Sometimes, I do wish that my brain worked in a different way…a more typical way. I am able to use so many of my past experiences as a driving force for my future, but there are times that those same past experiences get in the way of my daily life. Last week was one of those weeks. These next few months hold key to a lot of trauma and my body holds like a ticking time bomb. I never know when something is going to come up…but last Monday/Tuesday I struck gold. I had one of the most horrifying dreams I have ever had (and I have them almost nightly)… Here’s a short bit, just to give you an idea:

A few days prior, there had been a small bombing but the police had yet to catch the culprit. The town decided to carry on as usual and went about their daily doings. So, a few nights after the bombing, Bailey, Becca and I decided to go to a community event where there were candles and people and we were just going to meditate/talk. I was sitting on one side of the circle and Bailey and Becca on the other. We had both electrical and regular candles and all of a sudden all the electrical ones went out…I, out of fear, ran to Bailey and sat on her lap. Only a few seconds later the rest of the candles blew out and everyone started to get a little tense. I started panicking, clinging to Bailey and screaming out for her—as if she were my mom—and crying. A few seconds later and a bomb went off, completely exploding everyone including Becca and badly injuring Bailey.  I went to Bailey and clung to her when a second bomb went off and she exploded…with me holding her.

I woke up crying. I rarely wake up crying. I have come so accustomed to bad dreams that I still toss and turn and freak out in my sleep…but I don’t wake up doing it. I woke up and EVERYTHING around me was as it was in the dream. Exploded body parts everywhere. I didn’t know what to do or where to go. I no longer sleep in Bailey’s room so I couldn’t just roll over and wake her. I wasn’t sure if either Bailey or Becca was okay. So, I did the logical thing and went and lay by Bailey’s door until she woke up and then curled into her arms, sobbing when she did..later crawling into her lap and crying again…and I texted Becca. They were both fine.

This is how my brain process things of today…current events. It takes the traumas of my past and combines them with whatever trauma the world is having.  It took my massive fear of both Becca and Bailey leaving and combined it with the Boston bombing; and for each traumatic event that has plastered the news, I have had a dream relevant including the people who are closest to me.

The hardest part about my brain processing this way is that it feels SO real, and when I wake up my world stays the same as in my dreams. Another hard part is that to those who don’t know me or understand me, they see me as a person with no feelings because I don’t process what has happened right then. Sometimes it takes weeks, sometimes months.  And so when things like the Twin Towers, Virginia Tech, Aurora Shootings, or the Boston Bombing happened, I seemed so desensitized that those that can’t understand me I am made out to be an unemotional, manipulative, insensitive, uncaring person. These are people like my adoptive parents, my foster parents, and the therapists that have all dx’d me with alphabet soup–the people who are unwilling to recognize that it just takes time for my body and brain to process things. Sometimes it’s just taking that time to notice that when I’m not sleeping, I’m not sleeping because processing these things is just too scary and there was never anyone there to let me know things were still okay. But that it doesn’t make me an insensitive nor uncaring person. We are all on our own journey and we all process our journeys separately…and no ones journey should hold them liable of being insensitive because they don’t process in the present time.

Silly Stress Sunday(s) #1

Okay, as promised, I’m going to post some funny (or what I think is funny) things that I, or the people in my life, have done in the past week (this week I’ll go back further, just to do a catch up) due to stress… Stress makes you stupid, and in my case the stupid is a soft blanket to land on during my overwhelmed/stressful times, because I have learned to laugh at it–most of the time.

  • A little back story: We have a friend here for the weekend who was adopted from Romania. He’s super sweet and funny and I have to say I’ve never been so okay having a new guest, especially guy guest, over. He fits right in with Zhanna and I…I think Bailey has wondered what got herself into a few times! 😀

So, Friday I had to present one of m finals for school as well as speak at an adoption conference in the afternoon. I hadn’t had more than 3 hours of sleep in more than 72 hours..and I was extremely overwhelmed and filled with anxiety. On the way home, Bailey, Zhanna, Constantin, and I were talking and all of the sudden I just kinda asked, “what language do Romanians speak?”

Zhanna, Constantin, and I were playing a new game on the wii. The game required us to collect these sock things, as a gnome. Not going to lie, it was fun…we laughed for like an hour and a half straight. Anyway the game was kind of hard and if you didn’t time it right, the gnome would die and make funny sounds… I just blurted, “When people die, does it really sound like this? Because if so, that’s kinda creepy” (had to be there moment.)

  • Change of topics. Now we’re headed to therapy land. My therapist rocks..just saying. She’s the first therapist I’ve EVER had that actually understands me and WANTS to understand me. Typically we play…but one day we decided to draw. While we were drawing, Leslie asked me a ton of hard questions about my mom and all of the yucky stuff that happened. They were super personal but my mind was so occupied on the drawing that I didn’t realize that I was actually talking about and she kept asking…

After therapy, Bailey always asks how it went. Usually I give the same answer, because usually it’s the same–it goes well and is “fun” but emotional. This particular day we had talked about a LOT of deep deep stuff so I was shut down. When Bailey asked how it was my response was, “Leslie asks a LOT of questions.”

Another week, I brought in Mr. Slammy (medicine ball used to get anger out) and we were using it as part of our play. I drew a face on it and said that it was Zheila. The ball is fat and Leslie started slamming it. She was like, “this is my dad and his big fat head. *instert another slam* This is carrie and her big fat head*Instert another slam* and this…” and as she was slamming, I just kinda blurted out, “Maybe all mean people are fat heads?”

  • Last for the night because I’m exhausted. My speech gets all wacky and I can’t talk straight when I get stressed or overwhelmed and shut down. 

The other night Bailey was getting ready for bed and when I was trying to talk to her I asked, “Are you going to teeth your brush?” (yes, happens often)

While giving my talk at the adoption conference this week, I was talking about Crazy town vs Normal town thinking (irrational/rational)… I didn’t know how to explain Crazy town thinking in a way that wouldn’t sound mean towards my bio/adoptive families so I just left it at telling them that it’s irrational vs rational. Later on in the talk, though, someone asked about caseworkers. My response was telling them to care…and then I gave the story about my first foster home and the stupid worker I had. When I told them that she told me to be thankful for living with a spanish family they all started laughing…and out of nowhere, I just blurted, “You DO get crazy town”

Okay…that’s enough for tonight. I’m exhausted. I wish that I could remember more right now, because they happen on a daily basis, but I’ve only slept like 8-9 hours in the last 4 days. So, goodnight y’all! Look for this again next week…hopefully! 🙂

A “Has-Been” and “Once-Was”

Well..I see that I didn’t exactly stick to my, “keepin it real–silly style” plan! HEHE, oops, sorry about that! But really, I will start one, it’s just a matter of time. School ends this week, for the summer, and I am bound to have loads of time on my hands to actually write down the moments in which stress debilitates my brain!

Okay, but really…time to get to the nitty-gritty. I’ve had something on my mind for a little while that’s been kind of bugging me. Well a few things, but this in particular has really stuck to its guns and made a home in my head. In 2 days I will be speaking at a conference directed mainly towards adoptive parents and professionals, and again next week. I applied a few months ago and was asked if I would be one of the closing speakers. I was really excited to finally have the opportunity to discuss adoption with adoptive parents because I feel like many adoptive parents, and professionals especially, could greatly benefit from talking with and getting advice from adoptees.But the closer it gets, the less excited I am. Instead…I’m starting to dread it. I’m not ready. I’m not equipped. My mind takes off in a million directions and reminds me of all the reasons I really shouldn’t do this:  I’m not even an adoptee. I’m a “has-been”, a “once was”. My final adoption didn’t work out, and neither did any of the ones before it. So, how can I go to this conference and speak for adoptees if I am merely a “once-was”? How can I portray and speak the voice of the many adopted children, world-wide, if I am no longer one of them? Does this equate to a person who overcame cancer, speaking in behalf of all those fighting against it? Do I have that privilege? because the truth is, my battle was lost. I didn’t win the battle of becoming a part of a family. Doesn’t that make me an impostor, posing for those who really need a voice? Do I tell them straight forward that all of my adoptions failed? That I was not wanted enough to be fought for? Do I inform them that the possibilities of their children being like me are not slim, and that they shouldn’t give up? How do I explain to them the things that I want them to know and still be completely honest with who I am and where I am coming from because The truth is…my adoptions sucked. I’m not going to lie, I was, and still am, a pretty difficult person. I like things my way and at my pace and I regress often, but am more than willing to learn your ways too. I am funny and intelligent, but I have the attitude of spitting bull. I was full of anger and hate for the things that haunted me and the little support and understanding I was getting…and my adoptives couldn’t help me through that nor handle where I was coming from.  I, as a whole, was completely outside their scope of parenting abilities and so they gave up. They sent me away and told me to never come back. So what do I tell those parents who are coming to this conference for advice and learning material on their children? Do I discuss with them the things that are working now? The things that Becca and Bailey have provided me with in fighting for me, even though they are not my family? Because those are the things that have helped. Those are the things that would have provided the families I had with the connection we were all seeking. Do I allow them into my world? Into the world of a “has-been”, a “once-was”…and show them what real love, unconditional love can do for their children? Because I don’t want to go in as an impostor, filling their minds with the voice of their children…only to be known as a “once-was”.

I miss my mommy

Something about my mom’s voice is so soothing. I miss it so much. I know that she has done so many things wrong, so many things to hurt me, but there is a piece of me that longs for her in times like this. It’s a longing so deep no one can fill it, not even Bailey. I have a few clips from my childhood and tonight I couldn’t watch it enough. I haven’t watched it in a really long time but it was like I never quite watching it to begin with. The goofy voices of my family, the dysfunction of the togetherness, the monotony of the tones all seemed so soothing. The lure to engage but lack of ability, the chaos, the distance of connection all seemed so familiar and in an instant it all seemed so real, like it was happening right here. And for a moment, I felt a piece of complex simplicity run back into my life. My whole reality diminished and once again I was in my Nana’s kitchen singing her a song. I was standing in the corner for something I didn’t do, my mom and dad were fighting and then asking who we’d rather live with, my mom was screaming at me and then pushing me into the wall, splitting my lip.  I wasn’t 21 anymore. I was in the midst of chaos and it felt good. It was so real. Then reality kicked in; that’s not my life anymore. My comfort should not depend on the anger in my mom’s voice or the goofiness of her high. It should come from the love and support that is surrounding me where I am, but sometimes it’s not enough. It is appreciated, and most of the time welcomed, but there are times when there is a void so deep that the love that surrounds me can’t reach. When that happens, I don’t know what to do! I fight. I refuse the love I do get from Bailey and Zhanna and sulk in my misery wishing my own mom was here to love me. I deny the affection of all who offer because I don’t like the way it feels. A part of me needs to be in the chaos of the past. A part of me strives for normalcy and healthiness but the other part refuses to allow the links of my past to diminish.

What is love anyway? So many times I have asked not only myself, but a multitude of people, this question. What is it? What does it look like? How do you know when someone truly loves you? The idea of love alone nauseate’s me. It sends my head into a tornado of old memories, but to actually feel it and talk about it brings about a whole new sensation. A sensation that I don’t know how to explain. It’s one of confusion, doubt, comfort, anxiety, jitteryness, and so much more. Something so inexplicable its frustrating. On my birthday I was struggling with the idea of love. I wasn’t really sure that the people surrounding me were doing the things they were unconditionally or with underlying reward/punishment. I wasn’t really sure if the love that was being poured on to me was sincere or forced. I was struggling with the fact that my mom was nowhere to be found; that on MY special day she still refused to acknowledge me. During Bailey and my nightly routine, I casually asked her if she believes my mom loves me. Her answer was both intriguing and very thought-provoking. She turned the question back and asked what my mom viewed love as; how she perceived it. My mom was born to an early teen mom and her dad ran off before she was born. My Nana {grandma} remarried to my Papa. According to my mom, she and Papa had a great relationship, but from stories I’ve heard, I doubt it. When my mom was a young teenager she spun out of control and started doing drugs, her life was based around her boyfriends. She sought love through men, and still does. If you look at love from that standpoint, my mom loved me more than words could describe. God forbid it all be sane; it makes sense. If I stick myself in my mom’s shoes and look at love the way she does, for even a sliver of a second, I can see the love and pride she has towards me. I can feel the intensity of hope and desire that is so deeply rooted in her. And though I know that this type of love is so wrong, it all makes perfect sense. My mom sought love through men, she turned to them to make her feel better, therefore she showed me love through men. She let those men do the things they did to me not because she despised me and hated me, but because she wanted me to know that she loved me. Twisted, I know. But it all makes perfect sense to me. So, what is love? Does it have a set definition? Does one person love more than the other just because they love differently? Does my mom love me any less than my adoptive mom or Bailey? I believe love is an interpretation of met needs. A child who is raised in a family where his or her needs are met, and met unconditionally, is more likely to show the type of love that is portrayed in society as acceptable. However, a child who is raised in a family where needs are neglected and abuse ensues is more likely to show the type of love that my mom did–just not necessarily to the same extreme. Love to me, growing up,was shown through abuse. Though I had a rough childhood I never once doubted, like I do now, if my parents loved me. The attention they showed me through sex and violence equalled love. When there was abandonment and neglect, I craved the attention more than any drug imaginable. The attention I was getting, when my mom and dad were hurting me, was like a druggy’s cocaine. I wanted to know I was loved. Let me clarify, I did not like the sex. I didn’t like the beating. I didn’t like the ugly name calling. I liked the idea that finally I was being paid attention to; finally someone loved me. I went through withdrawals when I was removed from my moms care. Still to this day, I sometimes crave the feeling of a hand balled, hammering my side. Yes, even with the natural love I am given by Bailey, Zhanna, and all the other amazing people in my life. Sometimes the love they show me doesn’t meet the intensity of the love my mom once showed me and I start to question if it’s really love. It is. It’s just a different kind. It’s unconditional and free. It’s kind and gentle. It doesn’t allow violence or disrespect. It offers hope and enlightenment that I once didn’t know. It’s just as strong as the love my mom holds for me. It’s just as sincere as my mom’s love. But its a different love. So, again I ask, what is love? Was my mom wrong for loving me through men? Was she wrong for not knowing what soft love, unconditional, tender love is? Is Bailey wrong for loving me like family? What about Zhanna? Just because they love tenderly, does that make them better than my mom? Love is love…no matter how it’s portrayed, but Love is not always equal. Some love is damaging and some love is rewarding. The love that is damaging is something different, something much more complex. It is something that I have no name for, so I settle for the simplicity of rigidity, fear, condition and complexity–and regress to call it love anyway, for the lack of better wording. Love is love no matter what. Love is LOVE.

Lost Comfort

All I really have to say tonight is that this economy sucks, and I think I finally understand why I’ve never allowed myself to like things! I’m not really sure people who are set in their steady careers, or are not at the mark they can get a job, really get it. I’m lucky, I have a super supportive group of people who encourage me in my endeavors and comfort me in my sorrows. This past week I found out I am losing my job. It took a few days for it to really sink in, but it’s now hitting me hard. I have searched and applied to probably 35+ jobs in the past four days. It’s either not enough experience because everywhere wants at least a years worth or I don’t have a degree. SO FRUSTRATING! The past few days of work have been pretty strenuous. I haven’t wanted to go or to do anything work related. It’s hard because I’ve finally started enjoying going to work. When I first started, the days were long and I’d count down the hours until I was able to go home. I didn’t really fit in. I kinda felt like the green thumb in a thistle bush! As the months, well weeks, went by things just became part of life. I started enjoying work, I looked forward to going and hanging out with my coworkers. Now, I wake up in the morning asking what crazy stories I’m going to stumble upon at work that day. I do belong. I don’t exactly feel like the green thumb any more. I’ve learned to settle myself more.  This seems to happen frequently. I finally start to like something, or feel settled with it, and then BAM it’s gone. Bailey thinks part of it is a subconscious negativity pushing the good away. Maybe, maybe not! I’m not really sure what it is, but it seems to never fail. Examples? My first foster home. At first, I despised living there. I went through a major rebellious “I don’t care what you say cuz you’re not my mom” stage. I asked my caseworker, multiple times, to move me–only to be rejected. During my time there, my foster-sister and I bonded rather tightly; still to this day we remain like sisters. I was settled and enjoying my life the way it was. Soon after I got the call that I would be moving. I would receive a “new family” and be leaving my sister and foster parents behind. I was devastated. Next, all of my adoptive families! The first: I only had the idea to get used to. Once the idea was pleasant and comforting, the adoption failed. My second: living there and finally becoming comfortable and then their daughter decided to “adopt” me. My third, their daughter, was probably the most epic failed-adoption out of all of them. Weeks before finalization I was asked to pack my stuff and leave–then was sent back to the second adoptive family to have the process, of settling and then someone else asking to adopt me, happen all over again. All of these places I lost right after I finally started to enjoy and feel comfortable. My final adoptive family lasted longer but ended the same. We had some major rough spots but after the while I did live there I started to belong, then they shipped me off to school. It’s like my pattern of life. Bailey often asks me why I am so negative and the more I think about it, the more I believe this is why. I don’t want to lose the things I truly do like. I don’t want the cycle to continue, but I don’t know how to stop it. So now the question is, do I let this recent loss get me down and turn me bitter or do I keep my head high and continue learning to settle and like things. Most likely the second, but the first is quite tempting!

Understanding vs Expectation

Today, I am going to take the opportunity to talk about my adoptive mom and dad. I don’t do this often because I worry about misconstruing a word or putting a bad taste on their tongue. This post is going to be about them, however, it’s not going to be about bashing them or naming the things that I hate about them. A few years back, when I was first adopted, my adoptive mom asked me what I expected or wanted from them. She wanted to know what I expected of her, as a mother. At the time I didn’t have an answer because I didn’t know what to expect of anyone. I didn’t have the greatest examples growing up so I think I expected her to hurt me, just like everyone else. I think I expected her to love me the same way my mom showed me love: abuse, neglect, and fear. Honestly, I still don’t really know what to expect because I know that once I do start expecting things of people I disappoint myself. This question keeps running though my head, what do I expect of my adoptive parents, because I have the same question for them: what do you expect of me? Right now I am going to take a minute and instead of answer what I expect from them as my parents, I am going to twist the question into: what do I want, or wish for, them to understand about me. In this I find expectation. It’s not a deep yearning type of expectation but rather a quiet calm yearning of truth. My brain doesn’t function like a typical 20 year-old. From the time I was little, I was subject to things that most people will never endure causing the wiring in my brain to not connect correctly. Most neurotypical, aka normal, 20-year-olds are capable of adulthood all on their own. They like to go out with friends, to party, they do well in school, and are easily regulated. Due to the trauma I endured, I struggle with that. I have a hard time successfully functioning at the same level as a “normal” 20-year-old. Regulating is something that sometimes I don’t know how to do alone and does take me a few hours. Too much stimulation can throw me overboard. I believe that when they adopted me they truly thought they were adopting a “normal” 17-year-old rather than a trauma-ridden little girl. The wires in my brain needed–and still need–rewiring in order to function neurotypically. I wish that they could understand that. I wish that they could understand the difference between logic and emotion. I know so much about the disorders I have. I could probably give you a run-down better than most therapists could. I’ve done my research, so yes, logically I know the things that I need to do to change the things in my life that aren’t working. When I was first Dx’d with RAD I did research, I know what caused it and all that mumbo-jumbo! The problem is: even though I know those things, the symptoms I have, when I am emotionally unstable the logical part of my brain turns to mush. It’s like when you study for hours so you can pass a test, you go in to take the test and all the sudden everything you just studied is suddenly erased from your memory. I know that I push people away and logically I know that is not okay, but emotionally I haven’t learned to allow them to come close. It’s not natural for me. I have to work at a conscious and subconscious level just to politely talk to someone I feel unsafe around. It’s hard. So even though I know all these things are wrong logically, emotionally I haven’t learned to do otherwise. My adoptive parents, as do many others, believe that because I know all of this stuff logically and can speak so wisely of my disorders that I can just fix it. But I can’t–not over night. It will take time to learn that it’s okay not to live in fear. I am working every day towards a balance of the logic and emotion of myself. Eventually, my logic and emotion will work together. I wish my adoptive parents could truly understand this. I wish that they could understand, and not take personally, that I do have a family other than them. I know that throughout the adoption I have let my adoptive mom know that I already have a mom, and I do, that she will never replace. I’ve said it out of anger and revenge…but it’s something that is real to me. My mom raised me for over half of my life, despite the lack of truly mothering. She was the first person, and last, that I called mom. She may have hurt me, but I still love her and she will still be mom. I know that it’s really hard on my adoptive mom to hear that I have a mom, for me to call my mom my “real mom”. I know that my adoptive mom wants more than anything to be what my mom couldn’t, but she can’t. She can love me and support me as a parent should, but she will never replace what I lost when I lost my mom. She will never fill the missing pieces that my mom took with her. For me that’s okay. I wish that they understood how important my real family is to me. It’s not a personal attack against them. I don’t just decide to yearn for my real family to spite my adoptive one. I can care for both at the same time, but to one it looks more like a defensive attack to not attach. I really wish they understood that that’s not the case. I wish that they could see how hard I really work. I wish they understood that it’s okay to go backwards, in fact, it’s almost crucial as a part of healing to do so. One of the most beneficial things to my healing thus far has been rocking. Bailey often rocks me, in a rocking chair, at night and helps me to calm my system. I know I’m not two or three but that was an important developmental stage that I missed. So even though I’m 20, regressing back to infancy or toddler-hood has proved itself miraculous in my healing. Too many parents, including mine, are too afraid to allow this. I wish they would understand that it could lead to tremendous healing. These are the things that I wish they understood and I think to some degree they do. I just wish they understood at a much deeper, emotional level. I know that my adoptive parents love me. I know that the choices they have made were done out of some from of love. They are not malicious, harmful parents. They are parents who have done the best they can. They are traditional parents, but they love me. They are great parents. We struggle, I’m not going to lie. I believe that there is a mutual misunderstanding that creates a barrier. Maybe now instead of parents asking us what we expect of them, it would be more effective to ask what we wish they understood.

Poppycock and Pinwheels

Today, I filled a little red balloon with all my hate, with all my anger, with all my fears. Today, I released that balloon and watched it drift away driven by the helium induced high sure to rid me of my pain. Yesterday, I bought a wand {you know, the magical kind} and wished all the sorrow gone. Monday, I dug a hole, and in that hole was placed the simplest of notes, which read: once the hole be filled so shall my angst be free. And Tuesday, I let someone else imagine my anxiety being put into a gun safe, into a container, so that I could be free from my suffering. Tomorrow, I refuse. I refuse to believe that these poppycock remedies will cure me of my grief…because they wont. They haven’t. I’ve tried these things for many years, to no avail, and each time I’m disappointed that once again my life has not been cured. Life is not simple, healing is not easy. Both take work, determination, and courage. So many therapists believe that there is a cure-all that ends-all to life and trauma. I’m here to tell you: there’s not. I’m sorry. It’s the truth. It’s a fact. The main link between every therapist I have ever had has been: if I you had a magic wand and could change the past, what would you change? After answering they’d continue on to tell me how things were now different and that part of my life was magically better because the “magic wand” said so. I’m sorry, it wasn’t. In fact, for the moment being, it was actually a bit worse. Believing that a magic wand could cure my past and bring my mom back used to give me false hope. I used to believe that someone, somewhere, really did have a magic wand and all these “magic wand therapist’s” were right. I’ve also had therapist tell me to use the other remedies: the balloon, the hole in the ground, the container, the box, etc, to cure my sadness, my longing, my hurt. I encourage you, if a therapist gives you one of these remedies, ask how it’s worked for them. {respectfully} None of these things have worked, for me. By all means if they work for you, all the power to ya, but please share in the success and wealth. My point is, your pain doesn’t just disappear. It doesn’t just fly away with the balloon or bury itself with the note in the ground. You can’t imaginarily lock it in a container. It just doesn’t work that way. Getting rid of pain–to heal–takes work. It takes courage, tenacity, strength, will power, and the desire to change. Honestly, healing and ridding myself of past pains and struggles is, and has been, the hardest thing I have ever done, and I hope will ever do, in my life. I have worked my tail end off for the last two years to be where I am today, to allow someone to love me {to some small extent, anyway}. I have a long way to go, and I know this, but I also know that it isn’t going to happen by releasing a balloon or digging a hole. If it were going to happen through magical wands and containers I would be healed, have a forever family, and be a loving, intellectual 20-year-old who loves life. But I’m not and that’s reality. Reality has hit me so hard, recently, showing me that these things take time and patience; that healing doesn’t happen over night. It’s hard for me. There are many days I wish the magic wand were real and I could just wish my life to perfection. So many days I wish that I could just be normal and not have to deal with all the after effects of trauma, but I’m not and I do! It’s reality, right now! The other day my current therapist asked me and Bailey one thing we appreciated about the other, Bailey’s response really took me by surprise because it made me realize not only does healing take time but it also takes help. Part of her response was that I had helped her realize that you can’t heal yourself alone because you can’t see yourself in reality. I get sick, a lot! Most of the time the first thing Bailey asks me is if it is emotional or physical {meaning: are you shoving your life down so you don’t have to feel it or are you sick with the flu, like everyone else} and then we figure it out. The day that my therapist came over I was texting back and forth with Bailey and she told me she wasn’t feeling good. Out of instinct, and repetition, I asked her if it was emotional or physical. At that moment she realized that it was emotional and immediately fixed it. The other part of her response to my therapists question, in helping me realize you can’t heal alone, was she told me that she needed someone to help her out in those times when she couldn’t see reality. {not exact words} That has been a lot of my struggle. I see very black and white a lot of the time so it’s all or nothing. It’s the poppycock remedies or no healing at all. I haven’t allowed myself help. I have felt so alone in my healing process, though surrounded by great support, for the last two years. Well, really my whole life…but more so the last two years. I reach out and then deny the help I long for. But what Bailey said made me realize that I can’t do it alone, and unfortunately, I can’t do it with magic either. I have to work. I have to do the dirty, grimy stuff before I can get to the shine. I get to learn to feel, to breathe, to live for the first time in my life and as scared as I am, I’m excited. I’m terrified, more than words can describe, but I know that if I work past this and get rid of all my angries and hurts, I can be happy and truly live. I know that I can’t do this with the release of a balloon or the fullness of an imaginary container. There is only one way to rid myself of this “crap”, productively…and that is to work through it and allow the help that’s needed. And same to you. Don’t choose the magical, easy way out. Don’t choose drugs. Choose to heal.