The holidays are hard for so many of us out in this world. Doesn’t suicide skyrocket around Christmas and New Years?
There is a reason for that.
Have you wondered why around the holidays, people decide that life is not worth living….or they have had enough….or they are tired of being….lonely…the L word that no one wants to admit or really talk about.
I remember me between the ages of 22 and 28, just feeling extremely lonely. And here is the thing, I was surrounded by people who professed to love me….unconditionally….only if I smiled and pretended everything was alright….all the time.
I was lonely and yet, I was not alone at all.
I preferred to be alone….than lonely.
During these trying times, adoptees like myself find themselves wedged between what is and what may have been.
Adoptees are forced to…once again…choose sides.
“Do I smile and laugh with my adoptive family or do I reach out to my blood?…..”
Oh the agony that seems to cut like a sharp knife…once that knife is deep enough, all it takes is one comment of “Be thankful” or “Weren’t they saints for taking you in…”…as if we chose this life…to feel it twist back and forth….jam…jam jam.
It’s as if we raised our hand one day and said “pick me…i’d like t spend a portion of my life in an orphanage or group home…”
But we are reminded of it every day….but even more on holidays because pagan Holidays such as Christmas…..and Easter…..those are holidays we are supposed to be together with family.
Did you know that most international adoptees have fake birthdays?
So during these birthdays, our hearts are torn between honoring what the legal team gave us and wishing to know when we actually entered the world…how much we weighted…were we short or long…was our head covered with hair or did it grow in slowly….were we wrinkly…..did we cry?
Crying is the first sign of life and health when a baby is born….and yet, in the orphanage we learn that crying makes us even more invisible…lumped into the “over there” group of kids.
And no one comes to us.
No one cares.
We learn to self-soothe and what once was a symbol of health and life, became a nuisance….and a secret.
We had to hide when we were sad….soiled, sick, angry, tired….hungry.
Crying got us nowhere.
So we cry now. We cry all the time….not for something physical….but for a listening ear….a minute of time and space.
We cry because we don’t have answers. We cry because we now have answers. We cry because we are hurt, pained, confused, tired. We cry because we need the world to know and remember that we ARE ALIVE.
But these days, these holidays that society has created to make people feel like they have to buy shit upon shit and even more shit to show they love someone….
These “family” times we have missed out on.
This “suck it up” you were a baby when you were adopted mentality.
One more family photo of me pretending I fit in…..when in reality….they don’t fit in with me because they are not part of me….they are a completely different puzzle than the one I am working on.
The Holidays drain us and make us want to sleep for days, weeks…months…years….maybe even forever.
We force ourselves out because that is what our loved ones want….that is what the children need to see….that is what our extended family expects….we live and move and have our being because after all…..we were not aborted.
But maybe that is exactly what should have happened….maybe I should not have been born in the first place. My biological sister blames me for my mother’s death…..had I not been born….she would not have suffered the way she did….to her death.
Maybe not existing is what would have made her life easier…better…more gratifying…worth….LIVING.
I can’t help but wonder what life would have been like had I been raised by my biological family…..who cares what the white people think….or what their expert brains and statistics would have shown….who cares if I had become pregnant at 16 or younger….who cares really….I would have been raised by people who genuinely cared for me….I would have been loved….I would have been part of my culture…fitting in as a full blown Haitian.
Why can’t the holidays be like any other day? Why must we celebrate birthdays, and Christmas, and Easter, and thanksgiving…and valentines…Why set aside a day where people who do not have what they should, end up feeling lonely…..and even alone?
When I was raising 4 girls on my own, they would all go home to their families on the holidays and though I was physically alone….I was so happy because I could sleep. I didn’t have the hustle and bustle of work….or caring for the children..I could do my own thing. We would do a small gifts and stockings night before they went off to be with their families….I had no one to go to and that was fine. I would fall asleep around 8pm watching 48 hr mystery…but then at around 12:00am I would wake up in sweats….and tears.
Not only was I physically alone, but I was lonely. I had those thoughts in my head that it would be better to not be around. Tears came down my face at the speed of just-fueled race cars. And I cried so hard.
Then I would go down to the fridge and get a Presidente beer…..and drink it and cry some more. I drank a lot back then. I never admitted it until now actually.
Now that I think about it….I may have been a functioning alcoholic but I’m not sure what that entails. I’d have to google that shit.
But I drank a lot before I found my wife. Every day after work, I would have a beer or two, or three and I would just sit and cry and drink. And the kids who were living in the home with me would wonder why I was crying, or sad.
The youngest asked me one day while I was sitting on the front door steps with a beer in hand…”porque lloras?” My answer was to just draw her closer to me….hug her….and tell her I didn’t really know.
I didn’t have the vocabulary to explain the pain and emptiness and loneliness I felt….even while she sat there accompanying me….I felt so void of life…..
And then she asked me if I wanted another beer…and I gladly obliged.
Cigarettes became part of a bad habit for me too. I was not a fan of the taste…but it calmed me down a bit. I didn’t own many packs…but just enough to feel like the smell alone would soothe my aching soul….I loved the mint menthol. It quieted my sobs….like in the orphanage.
The kids couldn’t help me….it was not their job to do so. My APs were pointless….blaming me at different stages of my life for my own adoption. Why would I EVER go to them for anything?
I was truly at a point of no return..but I still had a purpose to some degree. My goal was to help these families raise their kids….get them healthy to return. I secretly couldn’t wait for the weekends because it meant that I had peace and quiet and I could be in my own thoughts.
My tears were a sign of me crying for help but since I mainly cried them when I was alone, no one knew the inner turmoil and suffering I went through on a daily basis.
I felt I could share my pain with no one.
But things have started to turn around and though I can’t stand holdays, or birthdays….or anything that celebrates family…I have an amazing wife who listens and truly cares unconditionally.
I have two sisters who I feel love me unconditionally…we have been through so many ups and downs but oddly enough, they have stuck by me….one lives on the West Coast in the USA and the other one lives in Latin America.
I feel they are making an effort to hear my pain. To listen. Their experience being raised in the same family is so different from mine….many of the things I have voiced, they can’t even conceive of….but they listen….they don’t have to agree….but they listen.
And because of them….because of my wife…because of the teen I am currently raising…..I will keep crying out because it’s a sign that I am healthy and alive.