This picture is symbolic to me in many ways. I have had the plant for around 10 years and it has always lived in the same pot on my deck. When I purchased the plant (cannot remember the name) it was a hybrid of the original species and had the soft beautiful pink flowers the same as the tall one standing out. Over the years genetics has reclaimed its natural state and now the purple flowers predominant with only one or two of the original pink flowers growing each year.
At the same time despite what I just said, I see this picture symbolic of how I feel when it comes to being an adoptee. Never quite fitting in. It doesn’t matter which family. One family opened their home to me, but I was not of them so I was not like them, I was different. In my other family I am part of them but not part of them because I was not raised in their family, I wasn’t kept. I am a member of both and yet not fully either and like the pink flower in the picture I stand out as different from the others. I am part of both but can never be fully either, if that makes any sense.
As an adoptee from my era I was always super-sensitive to societal perceptions. I still am to a certain degree. When I was younger, I tried to conform and go against my nature, while at the same time I have never understood the need to all think the same, act the same, do the same thing, run in groups. People are all different and trying to apply a specific set of requirements on how someone thinks – well that is for those who can’t think independently, I guess.
I just don’t get it, yet at the same time there is the internal debate in my soul of being the good adoptee, daughter, wife, employee, person, that is always questioning my actions or words. But when I look at my actions and words they are not wrong, just different from someone elses views. I can live with that now most of the time, before, I had a hard time with it.
So why did I and still have at times have the need to conform? It definitely isn’t my personality to conform, that’s for sure, age if nothing else has confirmed that. I guess it could be a bit of how I was brought up, but at the same time not really because while I was expected to conform at home to the rules, I was also taught to do my own research and draw my own conclusions on any subject regardless if they were different from the rest of the family. So I am going to chalk it up to just plain old being an adoptee and the automatic assumptions that go along with that still today, and the need to please and to make everyone happy.
Yet as I reflect back I have always rebelled because it wasn’t me. Some rebellions you would never actively see. Little ones like not seeing the ‘raved about’ popular movies or read the best sellers. Something about all the hype turns me off and there is a list of movies and books that everyone else I know has seen or read…me I have no interest. Other rebellions against conformity have happened over the years, but at the same time I usually conformed to keep the peace. I capitulated and married my first husband simply because it was a sin our living together and it bothered mom and dad and I knew how society and their friends viewed it, me being an adoptee whose mother was not married and all. Now I know that after a short while mom and dad wished they had kept their views to themselves, but they chose to speak, and I chose to conform to societal expectations and dictates. I am glad I didn’t with my current husband. We lived together until it was right for us to get married, despite societal expectations and words said to us. I didn’t capitulate. I was older and so much wiser and braver.
Before when planning a garden I would choose the plants to ensure harmony of colors and shapes, always ensuring it would be acceptable to others. Now I choose plants because they make me feel good and I don’t care anymore that the colors clash. I really don’t care despite knowing that red, purple, and pink don’t go together – it makes me happy. I don’t care what the neighbors think.
The same can be said about my voice in speaking my adoption views on what is right and wrong, I am braver now and feel less like bending to what society et al thinks. I will continue to talk about serious, beyond the pale actions that happen today, even though as a society we should have already learned those lessons from history. I will still talk about the abuses and illegal actions of the past that happened in my lifetime, and how versions of those same issues happen today. I still tend to try to temper words too much, but at the same time I am not capitulating, I have my opinions right or wrong and I own them. I also feel wholly entitled to them as I have lived adoption my entire life, and know the impact the losses have on your soul. The losses that I still have no words to describe. The losses I will live with forever and probably never talk about, even to those closest to me.
As long as what I am doing is right for me and is not harming another, and in reality helping even just a few of the next generation of adoptees, then – well it’s okay with me.