Sunday, May 24, 2015

In which I say very little with a lot of words

Long time, no blog.

More than six months, to be exact. I started and abandoned about thirty-seven updates. I read somewhere that a lot of perfectionists eventually outgrow their quirk but I feel like I've just gotten worse. The older I get, the more critical I am of myself and what I write and think and feel.

I've reached the point where I hate and would like to re-write every word of this blog, or maybe just delete it forever. I no longer relate at all to the woman who wrote it. I don't know who she is. She's not me, that's for sure.

Without getting into specifics I'm just going to say that the last 18 months of my life were some of the worst of my life and some things happened to me that should never have happened and I ended up checking out of a lot of things that used to be important to me, blogging among them.

If I don't let myself think about the things that happened I don't feel destroyed by them anymore which I suppose is a sign of personal growth. On the other hand I feel like I'm a lot more bitter and angry than I used to be and I don't like that side of myself. Two years ago I was anxious as hell but I had a little smidgen of hope and things were for the most part under control. Then I met this guy and I one hundred percent believed this was it, this was my guy, and one thing led to another, and the United States dropped two atomic bombs on the sovereign nation of Japan.

No, sorry, I'm channeling Brian Regan.

I digress. It's been a rough road and I'm a little beat-up. But here I am.

Roo will be six this summer. She's wonderful and I'm proud of her and I love her to bits. I will not be writing much about her on this blog anymore. She's getting older and I am fiercely protective of her and her family. She's not my daughter and what people know about her isn't my call. I will be vague. But I will say this: I think the two most important things for a person to be are happy and kind, and Roo is both of those things. She is also brave and feisty and smart and it amazes me that H's and my messed-up DNA produced such a fantastic human being. I credit her parents. They're the best. If I ever grow up I want to be like them.

I want to blog again but I don't know what my focus is going to be. I've thought a lot about why there are so many more long-running adoptive parent blogs than birth parent blogs. I think it's because as a birth mother eventually you've got to sort of move on - not from adoption, necessarily, but from having "birth mother" as the sole focus of your identity. At some point you have to just go do something else.

Personally, I wonder how much longer I can keep saying, "Hey, adoption's great, Roo's great, openness is going well, I'd do this whole thing again in a heartbeat." Because I feel like that's mostly what I've done for years.

I guess as long as people want to hear it I can keep saying it. But I've got other things I want to say; I'm just not sure anyone wants to hear them. I've said before that an unplanned pregnancy isn't a problem, it's the symptom of a problem. I was thinking the other day about how placing a child for adoption screws with you mentally and then I realized, I've always been screwed up mentally; placement just gave me something to blame my dysfunction on.

I'm working through the dysfunction the best I can. Some days are easier than others. Many days lately have been harder. I've been missing my dad like crazy lately. I was watching TV at the gym and there was an ad for breakfast cereal that made my throat fizz up. The commercial showed a man playing catch with his son in their backyard and I thought of something I have not thought of in probably 15 years.

I played softball for 3 or 4 years when I was a kid and to help me improve (I was beyond awful) my dad would play catch with me in our backyard. Once I quit I shoved that memory away and I honestly forgot that we ever played catch, even when I remembered playing softball. But then this Frosted Flakes commercial came on and I thought, I'll never play catch with my dad ever again (even though I haven't done so since probably 1993), and it just about killed me.

Everything I did with my dad is something I'll never do with him again. He's been gone for almost seven years, and every now and then I look around and realize how little of him is left anymore. I hate those moments. That's when I have to look in a mirror and smile, the genuine smile I don't usually show because I don't like the way my nose crinkles or the shape of my mouth and chin. But I give that smile to the mirror and I look at the lines fanning out from the outsides of my eyes. These lines should horrify me; I'm not yet 32 and I have a murder's worth of crow's-feet. But I look at them in the mirror and I think, Oh, there you are, dad. And I miss him maybe an ounce less.

I forgot how cathartic it is to write things down. I should do this more often. Blogging, I don't know how to quit you. Self-criticism, I don't know how to quit you, either.

Frosted Flakes, I don't want to quit you. I'll meet you in the kitchen in five minutes, even though you made me cry.


Cami said...

I love you Jill!

Sandy Callen said...

You've written so openly for so long, and I'm sorry to hear you say you hate the words and almost feel like deleting everything. Even if you aren't the same person you were when you started your blog, it was an intense part of your life that seems to have helped so many people along the way. My role as a birth mother is very different than yours - adoption in 1978 was much different than it is now - but I reunited with my birth son a year ago and the growth of our relationship has been amazing. I stumbled across your blog shortly after M and I connected, and your words and all you went through gripped my heart and gave me perspective. It brought me back to when M was adopted and helped me re-discover thoughts and feelings from back then that I didn't allow to surface for so many years. I believe the rediscovery and perspective have helped me connect with him on a deeper level. You have helped others by your writing, even though you have absolutely no obligation to do so. Thank you.
I'm sorry to hear the past 18 months have been so difficult. You are in my prayers.

Sandy Callen said...

And -- I hope you keep writing. I'd love to know what you want to write about next, and I'm quite sure I'm not the only reader who feels that way. <3

nan said...

Your writing is really great - always a pleasure to read what you have to say. And I do think that there are people who still need to hear what you have to say - when you feel like saying it here in the blogosphere! I also appreciate your fierce protectiveness of Roo's story as she gets older. Wise and loving.

Mother of the Wild Boys said...

I hope you never quit blogging, or writing in some capacity. Even if you create a new blog that is more focused on your full journey (including but not limited to adoption), I will follow you there and read that and feel your feelings and nod my head in recognition. <3 <3 <3

Anonymous said...

It's nice to see you blogging again x

Havi Andersen said...

I too have loved this blog. I'm not a birth mom, an adoptive mom, nor was i adopted--but I have loved learning through your eyes. You write honestly but beautifully, and that's a rare combination. Please, keep writing. You're in my thoughts, Jill. I wish you the best, and I hope that if you begin a new blog, you'll post a link for us.

Kindred Sparrow said...

I'm a birthmother also, and I remember how much adoption, especially open adoption, and issues around unplanned pregnancy were so much a part of my thinking and wondering and studying and reading for years after I placed my son for adoption. I had a shelf of adoption books for years. After several years, the intensity and urgency of those issues faded. Now (28 years later), I still care about the issues, and speak up when the topic comes up, but they have dropped down my list of interests to somewhere in the middle. It seems like a natural thing. I'm sure you will find what you need to say now and in the future. I wish you peace and happiness