Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Happy Birthday, Blog!

Today is this blog's third birthday! I feel like there should be cake. There should always be cake, don't you think? Not just for birthdays but in general. There should always be cake. I would bake one but I tend not to bake, as I live alone and I lack the self-control to keep from eating everything that comes out of the oven. Although if I'm honest, sometimes I don't even turn the oven on. There's no need to lie to myself. I make cookie dough for eating, not for baking.

I digress. Today my blog is three. Birthdays are a good time for self-reflection, aren't they? No? Well, too bad. To answer the question that no one has asked, I have not gone back and read my blog to commemorate the occasion. I tried that last year and had to have an extra session with my therapist to curb the ensuing bout of self-loathing. (I have evolved since placement, and I quite sincerely thank God for that.) A few minutes ago I read through the first two entries of this blog, and I decided that was enough. I don't need to go back. I know where I've been, because I was there. I will occasionally reflect on the dark days of my adoption experience, but only as a means of gauging how far I have come. Going back for more than a moment or two would accomplish nothing. I want to go forward.

I wish I could achieve that sort of psychological clarity in other areas of my life. I like to think that I possess the right mental skill-set to achieve that. Every one of my grade-school report cards mentioned my critical thinking skills (also, that I seemed to be bored a lot). The problem is that I have not yet learned to use my skills for good. I am like a teenage superhero, doing my best to save the world but occasionally using my superpowers for nefarious purposes by accident. While there may not be any comically-nicknamed villains on the streets of Mesa because of my neglect, there are consequences, and they usually involve a tearful existential crisis* in my therapist's office.

Because in addition to being untrustworthy with baked goods, something I know to be absolutely true of myself is that I am a world-class Monday morning quarterback. I don't know of anyone whose second-guessing skills rival mine, although in all fairness, I have had decades of practice. I am the Muhammad Ali of rumination. And I blame my brain.

I blame my brain for a lot of things, because pretty much every problem I've had can be traced (however tangentially) back to my brain. My brain is a jerk. Have you ever seen the scumbag brain meme? Here's my favorite:

When I found that on Pinterest, I laughed for about ten minutes. I was tired. Anyway. I blame my brain because if it didn't remember things so well, I would have less to ruminate on. Of course, my brain doesn't remember everything well, because that would be convenient and useful.

For example: I've been playing the piano since I was Roo's age, and the only song I have ever been able to memorize is "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star." So I have to scan the room before I mention my piano-playing skills. I won't tell anyone that I can play if I'm in a room with a piano, because then they'll want a demonstration, and I'll play my little song, and I can practically hear people think, "Wait, did she say she's been playing since she was three or since she was twenty-three?" It's humiliating. I can play really complicated pieces if I have sheet music, but I'm useless without it.

My brain refuses to remember the notes to a song I have played more than a thousand times, but it will remember conversations word-for-word, and it will remember them for years. This is especially detrimental for someone as socially awkward as I am. I can recall pretty much every stupid thing I've ever said, and the uncomfortable looks on the faces of the people I said them to. I can recall, and my traitorous little brain comes up with other, less-embarrassing things I could have said. Come on, brain! Why can't you come up with better things to say when I can still say them? What good is a snappy comeback three months later?

One of the things I like best about writing, particularly on the computer, is editing. Until I hit "publish," nothing is permanent or fixed. I can take as long as I need to come up with just the right combination of words. For instance, the third paragraph of this post was re-written nine times and I may edit it once more before I publish. I can mull it over, read it out loud to see how it tastes, add and subtract words and phrases and rearrange until it says exactly what I want it to say.**

I can't do that in real life. My car did not come equipped with a flux capacitor.  So while I can remember conversations I've had, and while I can think of how I could fix them, I can't actually go back. Ideally, this knowledge would keep me from constantly editing past conversations. Ideally it would keep me from looking back so desperately and with such agony.

I'm pleased that I've gotten there with adoption. It has taken me nearly all of the past three years to stop looking back and thinking of things I want to edit. For my next trick, I want to stop editing the rest of my life. I don't imagine I can live my life completely without regret. But there's a difference between regretting something, and re-living and editing it at night when you ought to be asleep. I tend to do the latter. Again, I blame my brain.

You know, I would love to say that there is a point to all of the preceding, but I confess I've quite lost track of it. Sheesh. This is embarrassing. Where was I going with all this? Blog birthday, self-reflection, scumbag brain ... hmm.


I think I was explaining why I don't read my own blog. Well, that'll teach me to ask and answer my own questions, won't it?

I meant to self-reflect and talk about how far I've come in three years and I ended up talking about why I should probably be seeing my therapist more often. But you know what? I kind of don't care that I ruminate a lot. Is it really the worst thing in the world? No.

The fact is that I have come really, super far in the past three years. I am a different person entirely. I am a happy person. There was a time when I thought I would never be able to say that about myself, but I'm saying it now and it's true. I am happy. I am happy almost all the time, and sometimes I am really ridiculously happy and people probably want to punch me in the face for it. My life is quite far from perfect, but that feels so unimportant to me. Far from perfect is still pretty rad.***

I'm not where I thought I'd be at this point in my life, and that's not a bad thing. I think I've ended up where I needed to be. I believe that God has a plan for me that's a lot greater than anything I could ever come up with. I know that when I've trusted Him in the past, amazing things have happened. I trust Him now get me where I need to be next.

I'm not the same woman who started blogging three years ago and I wouldn't be her again for anything in the world. It makes me wonder how much more awesome I'm going to be three years from now. I can't wait :)

*I am proud to say that my therapist decided last December that I am a sane, functional adult, and I only see him four or five times a year now, just to check in. I could probably see him less often but I've decided it's good for him to see someone who is happy and doing well, even if it's only seasonally, because I know that his office deals with a lot of sexual deviants, and I feel like he probably needs the occasional mental hand sanitizer to keep from crying himself to sleep at night.

**This doesn't mean that I am proud of everything I have ever written. I think most of this blog is crap. But everything I have posted here was, at one point, exactly what I wanted to say and I felt pretty good about it at the time. Even if I'd never say it now and am now in fact slightly ashamed of having wanted to say it ever.

***Sorry about that. Two weeks ago I caught myself using the word "rad" and I don't know where it came from but it's like a virus. I can't seem to stop using it. I counted a few days ago and I described more than nine different people and things as "really rad." I think I need help.

****I was pretty stupid to say that everything I've posted on my blog was, at the time, exactly what I wanted to say. It's not even true. I'm not happy with the conclusion of this post and no amount of mulling has fixed it. The smart thing to do would be to think about it for a while and come back to this post, but if I don't hit "publish" today the post's point, such as it is, would be moot. What I should have said is that everything I've posted on my blog was good enough at the time.
Also, I feel like I should apologize for the sheer volume of my footnotes today. I'm not going to, but I still feel like I should.


Brittany said...

Happy Birthday Happiest Sad! Oh Jill, you remind me of myself, I say awkward things and later wish I could edit. Or I think of amazingly witty things months later. I am so happy that you are in such a great place. You are totally 'rad,' and a huge inspiration to me.

LDSFS BP Group said...

Jill- I sincerely love your blog and think you're an amazing women!

TTABaby said...

I enjoy your blog and I'm glad it was here when I needed the perspective of a Birthmother. I'm also glad that I'm not the only one that thinks back to stupid things I've said over the course of my 30 years. In the car the other day I hit my forehead and grimaced, my husband wanted to know what was wrong. I tried not to tell him but finally revealed it was a conversation I'd had 20 years ago that I wish I had said something differently. He didn't understand. :) Thank you again for sharing your blog with us!!

Elizabeth said...

Happy blogiversary! Your brain sounds a bit like mine, which is why I also think you're rad, you're relatable! Thanks for sharing with us, I think your blog is really rad too! Seriously though, thanks for blogging, I've learned so much about adoption and life here.