So I’m not bitter anymore. I’ve isolated what makes me angry, for my specific adoption scenario, and isolated what outrages me about the system in general, and organized all my issues into neat little cubbies — what can realistically be addressed, what is mute, what is history to be archived, and what is progressive for me personally. I’ve reduced the anger which feeds the parasite, and kept only what can be managed. What is not so neat is what my restructuring has done to my relationships.
If you notice, some of the people who used to comment here are conspicuously absent. And another one bit the dust yesterday. It seems that things go better with anger, that righteous anger makes any action excusable, and that it’s a brotherhood whose allegiance can not be questioned.
I’m sorry. I question. Because it clearly does not work. I don’t wanna do war no more. I don’t want to help the bloodied kill themselves, and I don’t want to kill their enemies. I want to be neutral and instead of counting my losses, start counting my blessings. And I can do this and STILL be a voice for change, because many (not all) of the things bitter angry adoptees are destroying themselves over (slow or quick death) are valid points! Maybe I’m naive, but shouldn’t that be possible? Only it’s really freaking hard, as everyone wants to know “which side are you on, anyway?” And if it’s no side, then it means it’s not OUR side.
A lonely place to be.
It’s because I’m dense and somewhat socially retarded that I lose/screw-up/destroy these relationships. It’s also because the time it takes for weighty issues to gestate reasonable conclusions in my slow as molasses brain is not in sync with my intensity, passion, or work ethic. So, despite exhaustive research I tend to barrel forward full speed ahead prior to spending the time to do the field research and get the full spectrum of information. I’m impetuous. Like Buckminster Fuller, I want to be a verb. I’m also attracted to people who I recognize, and that’s bad because what I too often fail to realize is that what I recognize first is my own dysfunctions (past and current) in others. But it takes time to recognize that attractive is not necessarily good for you or them. I also have this horrible penchant for “fixing” things (that’s why I’ve always volunteered) and sparing people the pain of repeating the same mistakes I have. I am guilty of stirring the pot and intervening. Because that’s what I wish for myself. Honest and forthright reflection. Action in addition to words.
Now, whereas that can be seen as abusive, even when done out of a general concern that everyone not just survives but has quality lives, when it comes to matters of psychic distress to the degree a life is in danger, then it is at that point where I no longer apologize. So boo to my critics.
So when I entered into this adoptee activist mode, I was raw meat and ready to have my anger directed at the most satisfactory, expedient and damaging target. I recognized this had potential for warping me, so I chose to work on a positive message, and that message was one of female empowerment. This is why I chose the group I did, because of their work with moms who’d lost their children or wanted to keep their children, and because I was inspired by their energy and what (I thought) they were accomplishing. But in the background, as I threw myself into action, my anger was given a steady diet of bitter pills. A lot of these arguments appealed to my emotions, but the degree of bile was sometimes/often shocking, coming from such sweet visages. Until at some point the voices in my ear ceased to make sense, especially as I began to see they resembled the very things they were fighting against. Yet even when the “something’s not right here” inkling became a loud scream my momentum kept me in a straight line. Even as I realized maybe there was a better way, and as I watched their personal lives erode, I ignored my reservations. And not until I realized I was in a negative vortex and at its center was only destruction did I eject myself. I left a message to the center of the vortex: Go get help. Save yourself. (not appreciated)
So, to be fair, that’s my m.o. To explore deeply, get disillusioned, and then reject. But this time is different. This time instead of becoming disgusted and jaded, I’ve begun to compare notes and read playbooks from people who are NOT like me, who manage their energies, expectations, and priorities, who act carefully, and who value excellence in their relationships and care about themselves and their children. Children. Not just considering them, but being responsible for them in ALL ways, really changes the equation: in terms of self, in terms of time, in terms of ego, in terms of wounds, in terms of what is love.
Or, hopefully, I am becoming more like them.
I think coming to Korea has forced me to grow up a lot. Of course there’s still a long ways to go, but my prayer is that with each black hair I drop, the new white one replacing it is full of wisdom and grace.
8 thoughts on “Being Swedish is hard”
Most of my focus these days is on
– upcoming Korean Adoptees for Fair Records Access (facebook group) website
– Transracialeyes.com , which is really taking off
and sometimes on
– adopted-abused.com – the recent stats verify there was a need for this:
This week: 15,198
This month: 27,311
This year: 237,389
All time: 1,773,421
I think I can semi-retire to a maintenance level only after the other website is launched, and look forward to a fresh start in the near future.
transracial eyes in awesome. i like seeing your words work in both locations.
You know, don’t you, that you’re one of the people who’s playbooks inspire me!
I love your last line and would like to quote it. Growing up is hard. I know I’m not doing it so gracefully at 45. Your blog is interesting. Thanks for writing.
Oh thanks! You don’t have to ask permission to quote – and I’ll bet I’m not the first person to have said that.
I’ve never thought of you as angry myself. Thoughtful and capable of incredible insight. I’d describe it as your having a good eye. To borrow from photography.
Aww, thanks, Ed.
I wish I could see clearer sooner!