Mary Gauthier On Late Starts, Transcending Trauma, and Her Searing Song Cycle. A very moving interview worth reading in its entirety. It also has a video of her performing one of her songs worth watching. A snippet from the first page.
Q: A lot of people use drugs and alcohol to fuel the creative process, but you had to get clean before you could write a song.
A: Because I was using it as self-medication. I was trying to extinguish the emotions. I was trying to put the fire out inside of me because there was a pain in me that I could not cope with. It wasn’t a party, it wasn’t fun, it wasn’t let’s get together and laugh and joke. It was dark. As it turned out, over the years creating sober I finally found my way to what the source of the hurt was, and of course it was that on the day I was born my mother gave me away. Rationally, anybody could have said that. The therapist said it for years, that you’ve got to look at this adoption trauma. And I thought, come on, that’s just too obvious, it’s not that. There’s something else. It just didn’t register, until it did.
A reality for many adoptees is the denial factor that we were impacted. A factor many of us never actually delve into fully until we are adults, long after we have moved out of the parental home, married or not, children or not, careers established, or still looking for the path. There is no rhyme or reason when we start delving into it indepth – it just happens when it is supposed to or perhaps when we are strong enough to really go there. I do think more awareness at a young age can help mitigate the impact it can have later in life.
I do worry for the current and future generations of adoptees, especially for those adoptees whose mothers had a real choice, instead of simply other choices that really weren’t choices at all. I think those whose mothers chose adoption willingly, may have far more challenges ahead of them, as there is no good reason to justify the need to be adopted. Having a real reason to me makes it easier to accept. I hope I am wrong, but don’t think so, and perhaps I why I am so troubled when I see campaigns to bring back domestic adoption like I noted yesterday. I wonder if those who push to bring back infant domestic adoption to the volume it in my era, have any real regard for the person they advocate to be given away. I doubt they have given it more than a passing thought, and instead looked for studies that don’t show the reality for the individual person most impacted and instead justify the majority are fine. The studies that do not look at the entire picture of being an adoptee over the course of a lifetime, because that certainly would provide a different picture.
I’m reading Steve Jobs biography and of course I am reading it through my adopted lens. The impact of being adopted on him shows up in many of the interviews the author had with some of his closest friends, and also seems to also have been part what drove him in the various paths he took. Of course this is all pure speculation on my part, but I also believe that the two specific groups that co-opted his story when he passed away will not put his biography on the required reading list to promote their causes. For that I am glad, because I cannot imagine he would approve of being used as a poster child for adoption. Certainly his parents were incredibly important to him, but that has absolutely nothing to do with any feelings he had related to being adopted. That is what some non-adopted fail to see, and perhaps the biggest stumbling block to understanding between us. Perhaps the disconnect goes further in that many can’t deal with contradictory feelings about a subject, and instead choose denial because it is the safe and easy way out. Who knows…
Anyway, my final notes are to include a couple of youtube videos – but apparently wordpress is in the process of changing how to include videos, so can only provide the urls – please go listen.
The first is two other adoptees who are musicians, DMC and Sarah McLachlan performing Just Like Me, which has is based on Cats in the Cradle by Harry Chapin, one of my very favorite musicians of all time and you can see him performing it here.