A friend wrote me the following:
I sometime wonder if it wouldn’t be better for me to have stayed a blinded adoptee thinking adoption is a wonderful thing helping orphans. My thoughts and feelings were like in a fog, so I didn’t pay attention to my thoughts and feelings. Now the fog lifted, my thoughts are clear, so are my feelings and the hurt and anger are more intense.
I write to her here instead of personally, because maybe it’s of value to others? I too miss the fog. (sigh)
But I also know it wouldn’t be better.
Everywhere I go, everyone I meet, is in one kind of fog or another: blindly ricocheting from situation to situation at every point that resembles some unspeakable trauma. It’s just easier to muddle on that way. But for us adoptees, our fog was almost all-encompassing. We have had to, you and I, carefully assemble our house of cards in order to prevail. And I did it with passion, not recognizing that passion was misspent anger. Over four decades of effort went into that house. And then the house fell down and I almost didn’t live through it, and there’s no desire to build anything that tenuous again. This raw energy that comprises us, it’s the only thing real. Hell, it’s the only thing left.
Like phobics we must be reconditioned and undergo aversion therapy. How many times must someone with fear of heights stand on a dangerous precipice, looking down at the ground far below, before they can accept that they will not fall to their death?
How I wish being turned into an orphan was so simple to address. How I wish we could know that this terror can never be replicated. But it can and it is, over and over again: with every relationship we can be abandoned all over again. There’s nothing irrational about it. We can and will be abandoned again. We really can fall. It’s not something we imagine. It’s not about our free will and never was.
All my life I could not cry (except when angry – so I also worked hard at never being angry – ha! ADDED: Well, that’s not true, of course I could shed tears, but I could not cry about what really bothered me: even my crying was a lie) It detracted from my mission to build a stronger, more love-worthy me. But once a fog has lifted, there can be no pretenses about not being broken or having broken hearts. Or being too strong to be affected by our broken hearts. We must cry. Deeply. Completely.
These days, thoughts of the family who raised/abused me and the family that abandoned me bring sobbing with less and less frequency. With every wave of sadness and despair the body-emptying crying jags and their tears become more impotent and pointless. I stand there ferociously, with my teeth gritted, my fists clenched, my eyes closed and swollen and say, “hit me one more time.” The blows get softer and then dissipate, and with it my anger. The loss of family is becoming history.
These days, when a twinge of sadness hits me I listen to it. I hit replay. I hit replay again and again and again, until I’m bored. And then I file it away and add it to my collection, which has become this calcified and fossilized super structure much stronger than my house of cards ever was. Sounds like my next art project.
The thing that haunts me, however, is the knowledge we are all always truly and existentially alone, despite it being human nature to attempt to transcend that state. I question whether it is possible. The loss of people I allow myself to love who reject me is not something I want to replay.
The fog let me lull myself into believing I wasn’t alone. I do miss that.
But it is better — at least I tell myself it is better. Maybe not for me, but for others. Because I can’t help other people going through this if I don’t recognize there is a problem. And the ignorance of the fog also made me vulnerable: dangerously, soul crushingly vulnerable. And helping others, ultimately, benefits me.
No human being should ever be put in this position. We must live to save, to bear testimony and witness that cuts through this fog, which provides the smokescreen perpetuating this crime perpetrated upon the weak and innocent.
Let the pain and anger hit me again and again. Inure me to its suffering so I can rise up stronger in defense of those that can’t defend themselves. And even if I can’t take back what was stolen from me, I can at least try to begin an authentic life that is unquestionably mine.
4 thoughts on “on missing the fog”
It is such a profound thing for a human being to suffer, and yet such a great leap for those of us that didn’t experience it to understand.
As much loss as I’ve known, even as a child, it took me years, an adopted sibling and the desire to understand what I did when I adopted myself to finally accept it.
We owe you so much for taking this on.
I’m speechless Ed. I hope my story is of some comfort to you and thank you for all your supportive comments.
I wish I had some words to express how meaningful this post is. None seem right, however, so I will just say thank you very much.
It’s my pleasure, Margie.
I’ve been very pleased lately that these posts are not a labor – they just kind of pop into my head and I rush to jot them down and then sometimes I go back and clean up a spelling error or add a word to finish an incomplete thought, but for the most part it’s like an invisible hand that is writing.
It seems like my masticating is through and this stuff just falls out fully formed now.
And then I read those words, “I can at least try to begin an authentic life that is unquestionably mine,” and it hits me like it wasn’t me that wrote it. And I think, “Authentic. Life. Never had. But yeah, I can now, thanks to this process.”
So it’s really weird, but in this way it’s so very meaningful to me as well, my inner self telling my outer self that everything’s going to be all right.