From the Outside Looking In....
The past few days have been interesting to say the least.
Perhaps this is the continuing of my story.
As an adult adoptee I am trying to make connections with my birth family. Early on in this search things were not good, but lets just move on from that.
I met my little sister. She is 16. She has her smarts about her and I am so glad for that.
She wants to goto Uni and study to be a Psychologist. I am really happy for her.
Ever since I briefly met her 6 years ago I have been wondering how she is and how she is going. She was a little brown haired girl playing on a scooter caught up in a family melodrama. I kept tabs on her through our brother. But for other disjointed reasons he was not always in the picture in her home life. Things were really confusing for her then. She was too young to understand what was going on and things were not openly explained to her. She didn't even know my real name.
I had 16 years of her life to catch up with, she had 40 something years of mine.
Here I am, her oldest long lost sister. I am old enough to be her mother and then some. Looking across from her at the table I kept trying to work out if there were any similarities. From looking I couldn't see, but later when we took 'selfies' of our meeting I could then see it. I never thought I looked like our birth mother, but she thinks I do. I don't even really know how I look, from all the looking there is not much seeing.
It was really, really strange trying to describe who I was to her.
How do we perceive ourselves? I thought about it, how would I describe myself? I haven't had to do this before. I can relay the physical things but what about the other things. From the outside looking in, who am I?
I remember a letter my best friend gave me when I got married. She wrote a speech just incase. But I have never been a fan of speeches so she slipped it to me a few days later when we caught up for coffee.
She said I was loyal.
Other people say I am generous.
Many say creative.
Lately people thank me and tell me how inspirational I am. This is something I am adjusting to. I have never seen myself in this way. I just do what I do. I don't follow anyone but my own nose and see where it takes me. I am lucky that way, I have been called a leader because of that.
Other words have been 'strong' and 'brave', again, this is from the outside in.
I am adjusting to the fact that others see things I don't.
She knows bits of my life via our brother. He had this knack of always ringing me when I was overseas. 'Sorry dude, can't chat i'm in LA, this call will cost us a fortune'.
She asked me where I had travelled and what was the best place I have been. I run my own business and I love it, I made it up from this idea I had and followed it through and it grew. I felt pompous telling her these things. It's not until you are asked that you sometimes struggle to come up with the answers. I didn't want to sound like some sort of arrogant twat. But gee, its hard to slot 5 descriptives of yourself in, try it, not easy.
But here are some other things that are easier... I have a temper and I don't tolerate fools well. I will give you three goes then you are out. If you are stupid enough to cross me you are dead to me for life. I can rant and rave and be very black and white on some issues then just as irritating can be very grey. I am reclusive and a tad antisocial. I can argue points to the death and don't let up. I have darkness that sometimes out weighs the light. I can be a real complicated shit sometimes. My mum reminds me about my bad points quite often but has said I have 'calmed down' in recent years.
So why is it that we can describe the not so good things about ourselves but we struggle to come up with the good things?
So I am still trying to join the dots of my life, of who I am and my identity. So far none of the birth family on my biological mothers side I have met I can relate major parallels to. There is no one in there that has the same creative drive that I do. So the splinter keeps gnawing at me. That it could be my father. Are there other brothers and sisters? Who knows.
One of the things my sister said which I thought was very profound about this whole situation is that everyone would be far better off if our mother just told the truth about everything. No more lies and no more secrets. I agree. It would be easier and a relief for all of us. But that is for her to work out and come to terms with...As I do exist. I'm not an accident to be brushed under the carpet and forgotten about.
But the longer this goes on the less chance I have of finding things out. We have just recently found out that our biological grandmother has been admitted to a nursing home with dementia. She is the only other person who knows who my father is. She falsified my birth records and holds much of the puzzle pieces but will not talk. Now she might not even remember. And if she does, he might not still be alive.
I view all of this situation like a house top strippy quilt. There is the centre square of me and there are all these strips of fabric going around and around creating this bigger and bigger square of this fabric of life. Some are dark, some are light. Some pieces are found others are given to me. Its all joined but it can be equally as disjointed. On polar opposites of the same piece. As we grow we add to this fabric like the rings of a tree. I tend to view many situations like a quilt. A life that is layers sandwiched together. One of stitches holding fragile things together. Saving and finishing. Salvaging and creating a new purpose. Life keeps exponentially growing outwards from the centre and each experience, cut, scar, hurt, joy or happiness is a new patch.
House Top Quilt with Multiple Borders Alabama, 1940s Cotton 86 x 67 in. Collection of Corrine Riley