Writing helps me. It’s always helped me. I write lists because I can’t remember to do things any other way. I write emails instead of call because I tend to trip over my words. And I blog because it’s my way of muddling through my emotions, as complicated and as dysfunctional as they can be. That’s why I began From IF to When back in 2008. Blogging seemed cheaper and easier than therapy.
I moved over to this site earlier this year, rather than stay in my old place, because my old place didn’t feel like me anymore. I had grown uncomfortable with the exposure and the expectations. Yet, I still needed to blog. I need a space where I could “let it all out.” If I’m being truthful, I haven’t quite felt comfortable here yet, either. Not 100%, and I think I’ve finally figured out why.
It has nothing to do with space. Instead, it has everything to do with me.
There are parts of my life that I will never be able to post about. It’s not for lack of needing to write about them or wanting to wade through my feelings. Instead, it’s because I can’t. It’s because, first a foremost, I’m a mom and I have to protect my child. I can’t bring myself to put everything out there for the world to read, just because it makes me feel better to type it out on the screen. I know plenty of moms who DO put a lot out there, and that’s okay. That’s their choice. It’s simply not an option for me — because as important, if not more so, is my responsibility to protect her story.
When you have a biological child, your child’s story is your story, too. You are free and comfortable to share it and fully embrace the emotions you feel about it. This isn’t to suggest that embracing and sharing your feelings about raising a biological child is easier. It’s just different. When you adopt your child, there is another emotional layer. It’s a layer of understanding that not ALL of your story is your child’s, and vice versa. For me, at this moment, it’s a level of discomfort or guilt when certain emotions surface.
What do I mean by that?
In my last post, I wrote that I couldn’t feel anger. Technically, yes, I can feel angry. I do feel angry. However, it’s a matter of where that anger is directed — whether it’s the people involved or the situation — that creates this cloud of uncertainty and confusion. Do I want to feel anger at the people? Yes. I do. In many ways, it’s easier to feel angry at someONE than someTHING. But being angry at someONE crosses a fuzzy line in adoption. There are rules. Boundaries. Best practices. It’s a delicate dance that I am constantly engaged in, separating the person with the problem.
If it sounds confusing, it is. (Sometimes I wonder if there is anything about adoption that isn’t confusing or complicated.) I knew it was this complicated before we even started the process. I knew that there would be many of these moments over the years where at least one of us would struggle to make sense of what we were thinking and feeling. That said, I’m not complaining about feeling unsure about expressing my emotions. At least I am feeling something. That’s good. I think if I felt nothing, it would mean that I didn’t care. There are times when I feel numb, for sure, but it doesn’t come from lack of caring. It often comes from trying to shelter myself from what, deep down, I’m truly trying to process.
I guess I wish that I could put down what I’m working through in my head, in this space, because untangling it within the confines of my brain makes it that much more difficult and time consuming. Unfortunately, blogging in-depth about it can’t be my outlet.
Or maybe it can. It just has to be as vague and complex as what I’ve just written.