Thursday, February 27, 2014
I want to be bitter, I want to hate, I want to be angry......
"Either be a sheep or be a wolf...just wear it" RM
Often in this blog I dance on the line between sharing too much of my personal life and sharing what I feel others can benefit from reading. I don't always get the dance right, especially when it involves other people, and I apologize now if anyone involved feels this was too much sharing. But when I started this blog I had one goal, share the parts of my life that I have struggled with, that have helped me grow, and that I think others can find comfort in, merely by hearing they are not alone. And after a lot of soul searching this fits all those! So here goes.
The last seven days have been some of the most emotional of my life (and for those that know my history that is hard to accomplish). My life is never boring and often out does those bizarre "made for tv" movies. More than once I have looked at what goes on and thought 'if someone else told me this story I would question if they were making it up'. But it's all true....it is my life, and I try to embrace that.
If I had to sum up the last week there is no better phrase I could use than the title of this blog..."Totally Predictable Unpredictability". The crazy is expected even though it still hits me from left field, especially when it comes to family.
For those of you who have been following my blog since the beginning, much of the history behind this story is in previous posts. But I thought a summary was in order for those who haven't or who haven't kept a flowchart *smile*.
I am 43 years old, I grew up in a home with a mother, a father, and a younger brother and sister. Our home was less than happy on a good day and down right abusive on a normal day. But for the first 14 or so years of my life I thought were your average abusive, dysfunction family. To the outside world we put on great facades, at home we lived in hell and it was what it was. Then when I was around 14 I stumbled across a cassette tape that would change my world forever. My father had recorded some of his most deep dark secrets....previous marriages and families, children out of wedlock, a name change (or two as I now believe). I kept that knowledge to myself for a long long time, but also kept my eyes open. I found a will with previous children's names, I found out his true age (he was 30 years older than my mother). Despite me asking both my parents for answers they never gave them. Many secrets and lies went to his grave with my father in 1997.
Through all that time, and even into my early adulthood I blamed my father solely for everything. He was the monster. And he was don't get me wrong. But I saw my mom as more a patsy, a victim by choice. As far as I could see, she did nothing per se wrong, but she never had the backbone to stand up and make things right either. She preferred to be seen by everyone as the victim, the one to pity, she still embraces that role.
Thinking back maybe this is why I struggle so much when people want to feel bad for me, to show my sympathy or pity. I hated how she relished that role and I avoid it. I want people in my life to know what is going on with me, to understand what I am going through, for me to not be alone it, to have support. But the minute that turns to pity or sympathy I find myself running away, hiding what is going on to try to prevent that. Even when the sympathy is valid or warranted, it makes me feel too close to who I don't want to be, even. But that is another blog for another day. Back to the warped history lesson...
My view of who was responsible for our lives being the way they were changed drastically in 1991. I learned that year that I had an older sister (4 years old than me who my parents had had while my dad was still married to someone else, that they had opted to put up for adoption. Julie finding us opened up more questions than answers about both my parents. But over time I made peace with it, mistakes happen, we make decisions in life. My strongest morals tell me no one is perfect, but what matters is when we make a mistake we stand up, take responsibility for it and try to make it right as best we can. Neither of my parents had this same moral leaning. But even that I came to terms with. I thought.
I have always kept looking to try to find the children my father had with previous marriages and women before my mother (there may be many of them the more I learn) as much to try to understand my own past as anything. And I have always expected that one of them might find us, especially in the age of Ancestory.com. But I hadn't expected what went on this week.
Somewhat accidentally (via FB) last Saturday I asked my brother I grew up with, Thom, who someone on his FB page was. Thinking I knew the answer already he told me this was our brother, from both our parents. Born between Julie and I, while my parents were still not yet married. Once again put up for adoption. Predictable Predictability! Part of me was shocked, part of me thought "another day in our family".
Since then I have gone through EVERY emotion in the book. At this point, a week in I am emotionally exhausted, I feel very empty and drained. Learning about Greg has been a blessing, he is the kind of person I would love to know even if we weren't related. Smart, Sarcastic, Blunt. I have only known him a week, but have to say so far he seems the most like me of any of my siblings, well the ones I know about. But it has also come with a lot of knowledge that has been hard emotionally. Greg has also been on the hunt for information about my mother and father. He has helped me find some puzzle pieces I couldn't. And he has given me an ally in continuing the search. But the answers I have gotten have been hard. Learning that my mother fabricated lies as well as my father, learning my mother refuses to step up and acknowledge her choices, learning that my father's secrets and lies go even deeper than I knew. Finding the name of one of his other potential children (now deceased). Another sister. It has left me very very tired and drained. I have gotten through little this week besides work (thank god I a great at my job and can do that in the worst of times). I feel very empty and adrift over it all.
I will not soften any of what I feel, I find my parents' behaviors morally vile. They are not people I would want to know if I wasnt related to them. They are no one I would ever want to be. Yes I get it, I didn't walk in their shoes, I cant understand what they went through, but despite that I morally can not condone their lies, and that today they do not take responsibility for their actions....to go back to the quote I opened with, that they wont wear it. And that I can not be ok with or forgive. I can forgive their actions, or at least make peace with what they did, it is what it is, but their lack of ownership is not something I can set aside. It is too core to how I see the world.
And I want to hate them both! I want to be angry at them! I want to be bitter! Logically it is the emotion I feel like I should feel. Part of me thinks if I was there this tired and empty would go away. But I can't go there. I can't hate them for the lives they treated with total disregard, because I have seen the impact of those lives. And there is no way I can say those lives shouldn't have happened, and to hate my father's inability to control himself and all the children that resulted (at least 10 or 11 if not more) would require me to say that.
In finding out about Greg this week, I also got to talk to his adoptive mother. A sweet amazing lady who loves him with all her heart. He has a wife and children who adore him. He served our country for decades, he serves now as a minister. How can I say any of that is wrong. Julie has 3 children, she works in a nursing home, she helps those in need. How can I say that is wrong. The obituary I saw for the possible sister said she was a teacher, she had a family. She changed lives. To hate how she came into the world would mean I have to say the world would have been better off and I can't say that. Even for me and Thom and Candi (that grew up with my parents). We have people who loves us, we have made a difference. We have all had amazing lives despite my parents...there is no way I can say that it would have been better if it hadn't happened. And bitterness would mean all of us, those I know about and those I don't, were mistakes that shouldn't have happened, that we are part of their evil and lies and secrets. I can't do that to any of us.
That has been the big life lesson for me in the last week. The lesson my life always seems to come back to, EVERYTHING, good, bad, right, wrong, evil or magical. It is all for a reason. That we may never understand it, we may not like it, it may hurt, it may cause tears, it make break our hearts. But it is still for a reason, it still has good in it. And it is our choice which we choose to see. I cant hate my parents, because to hate those of us that are the result is giving in to their patterns, and I will never be that person!
Welcome to the family Greg, watch out for Fridays and Cats *smile*