Saturday, January 08, 2011

An interesting challenge

A blogger issued a challenge to other game souls to consider exploring 30 difficult truths, one each day, for 30 days. Since I gave up therapy, it would seem a useful exercise to engage in thoughtful self-evaluation. I am one day behind, so I will talk about the first two truths in this post.

Something I dislike about myself

It's difficult to come up with just one thing, but I regret the times when I retreat into my shell and neglect to return telephone calls and e-mail from friends and family. I am letting them down, I feel terribly ashamed as the days tick by, and then I fall into a spiral of self-loathing that prevents me from contacting them for even longer. I realize that as much as I hate to be ignored by friends, I am far from a paragon in communication myself. I tend to focus on things people I can't have in my life and let the people who really do love me suffer for it. The upside is that in saying this, I can take small steps in trying to change my behavior. Return the call or e-mail. And if I can't, think about why I can't, and set myself goals, one of which would be to ask for forgiveness in those times when I do fail. I am only human after all, and not just human, but adoptee: a half human, half mythical creature who responds very sensitively to (perceived) attacks and interprets discussion as dismissal.

Something I love about myself

I love that I am curious and open to new people, ideas, experiences. I enjoy meeting people, reading books, traveling, hearing others' stories, and finding adventure both in the everyday and in far-flung trips abroad. My education, and in particular my life as a perpetual student, attest to this. I am thrilled to have been to Egypt, sailed on the Nile, and found my favorite sculpted panels on temples I had only seen in books. I love that I went alone to Greece in my early 20's and made a pilgrimage to Epidauros so that I could sit on ancient stone and witness the theater's exquisite acoustics. I sat in the sun and listened to excerpts from Euripides' tragedy Medea whispered in the proscenium as they floated with immediate precision and enunciation to the top rows.

I challenged myself in college and succeeded; spent a year in Cambridge and found a mental zone on brutal morning rowing practices that mitigated the freezing air, icy water; took a ferry to the most far-flung isles of Scotland to be with sheep and sea birds; I never stop finding new things that I am passionate about.       

Part of this admiration of self plays into being courageous, making the first move in relationships, giving all I have to the people I love, and not necessarily giving up when relationships encounter moments of conflict. In my adoptee incarnation, I am proud of myself for refusing to walk away in the face of harsh rejection from my first family--for believing that there was more to be learned and that we could all benefit from learning about each other. I am proud to engage in dialogue with and to support those in my adoption community, whether adoptees, first parents, or aparents, as they struggle to make sense of the tangled webs we live, often fraught with pain and trauma and a multiplicity of experiences. By being well educated and a critical thinker, I am strong. By helping others, I both draw on this strength and ground myself in new adventures with them.

Now if only the breakfast table with my two adorable sons was more of an adventure in good manners and eating than another testosterone whirlwind free-for-all.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      



Von said...

What a wonderful and courageous post! I found things to identify with...the need for down time, curiosity,open to new things, people, challenges.Perhaps like me you are eternally optimistic and if so a bit of testosterone won't bother you for long!Are there benefits to being adoptees do you think and are these they?

ms. marginalia said...

That is an interesting thought, Von. I wonder how much of my personality is hard-wired. My amom says that I have had a sunny personality from the beginning, but also fierce independence, curiosity, and drive for success. Part of it could be that I'm an only child. But almost certainly part of it comes from that search for myself and my roots that began so long ago.

I do think that being adopted makes many of us flexible, or appear to be flexible, with others. I absolutely enjoy meeting other people, and again perhaps that was because I enjoyed hearing people's stories because part of mine was lost? I will think about it.

I always appreciate your insights!

sostinkinhappy said...

"Now if only the breakfast table with my two adorable sons was more of an adventure in good manners and eating than another testosterone whirlwind free-for-all."

Isn't that the truth??? Well, at least for my older boy.