This morning on my way to my second interview for another job (as a self employed sub-contractor music teacher, I need several teaching jobs to make a living) that would be life changing, I heard a song come on my playlist that I had never really paid attention to the lyrics before. Or perhaps some higher power just whispered through me to tune in and connected the dots to what I am currently going through. But the lyrics to this particular song brought me to an awakening, an epiphany, an Oprah a-ha moment. It was as if I had been standing too close to a pointillistic painting all the while and I had finally stepped back and all of the dots coalesced into the full picture.
“Of These Chains”
So here we are at the end now.
I need to leave but I only want to stay with you.
I never asked to be the one to set me free,
Let me take you when I go,
When I go.
I don’t want to do this on my own
On my own,
I’m breaking free, but of these chains,
Oh, let this one remain,
Let me take you when I go.
I can still feel you here now in this cage.
Another piece of you I saved,
Afraid to open up the door to,
Who I was before,
And if I let go of these chains now,
Will I float away? Can I just hold on?
Oh, let me take you when I go,
When I go.
I don’t want to do this on my own,
On my own.
I’m breaking free, but of these chains,
Oh, let this one remain.
Let me take you when I go.
Artist: Josephine Wall
Stealing this one from my husband. Before she was born, this was a poem he wrote to our now 9 year old daughter….They don’t stay tiny very long. Cherish it all.
The waiting, the wanting, for the day,
An arrival in a very special way.
First breath, tiny feet, tiny ears,
Tiny eyes, tiny hands, tiny tears.
Know you will be loved, have no fear,
Because you’re loved even before you’re here.
My entire life has been artificial. I feel like the only real thing in an artificial life that I have been forced to live. The mere premise of adoption seeks to create a seemingly real situation for those whose adoption was based on the birthmother surrendering the child out of shame for having the child out of wedlock at a young age, being persuaded by the religious factions, not having enough money to raise the child, and being adopted by a married couple who struggled to get pregnant and had the money to adopt a child. The idea was to supply a childless couple with a child to help them get over their grief and give them a replacement, and to give the birthmother a way to move on with her life as if the “ugly situation” never occurred. Many adoptive couples even chose not to tell the adoptee that they were even adopted, or told them much later in life. Adoptees call these adoptive parents mom and dad because they are raising them. Even though giving birth to a child certainly doesn’t make a person a parent, raising a child really doesn’t earn them that title either.
My birth certificate is artificial. Yup, that’s right. The only document that is allowed to be legally falsified without any penalties. My legal birth certificate states that I am born to my adoptive parents. My real one is sealed up in New Jersey. Thanks to a new law finally passed in NJ after much deliberation, in 2017 I am finally able to obtain my original birth certificate in the same manner everyone else is. Even though I have already made contact with my birth parents, having that piece of paper will mean alot to me. Knowing that I am finally able to have something other than the artificial farce that I currently have in my.possession will mean alot to me. Even though the original one can only serve as a historical document, that is still important to me. To have proof on paper that the real me exists. When I originally began the process of searching for my birthparents, NJ, the state where I was born, told me they didn’t even have record of me. I had to go to the Florida adoption agency where my adoption was finalized in order to find somewhere that knew of my existence. It may not sound like much, but to see those words in an email, that the State of New Jersey has no record of you….that stings….especially when you have lived a life shrouded in secrets and mystery and lies and cover-ups your entire time on this earth.
I had to act in an artificial manner growing up so as to keep my parents anger at bay. I couldn’t ask too many questions about my birthparents because it was made very clear to me how betrayed they would feel if I ever searched for them. I tried so desperately to fit in to the persona my parents wanted me to be because they made it very clear that who I really was, wasn’t acceptable to them. Any difference in me that they didn’t understand or approve of was berated and attributed to my genetic heritage. Because I ate differently with a knife and fork, I was chided for that being the “English” in me and that was said in a very condescending manner. (Funny side note-though that was what was listed in my adoption papers, that I was German and English; once I found my birthparents I found out I was really German, Swiss, Irish and Welsh….no English in me…so the abusive comments were even based on wrong information and incorrect). I knew from a young age I wasn’t being true to myself and was struggling to find my identity.
Affection felt artificial. My mom forced it upon me. It was for HER benefit not mine. I always felt, from a young age, as though I was there to fulfill her need for love rather than the other way around. She was abused horribly by my witchy grandmother, and for that I do pity her. But I was not her little pawn to do her bidding for love. I should have never been seen as the way to make up for what her mother failed to give her. My parents failed at a lot of things, yet I don’t use my daughter as a means to heal those wounds. She charged me as a young child with a huge responsibility when it was me who had suffered the trauma of being ripped from my birthmother that was pre-verbal, that I could never express even if I tried to, and I would never have been allowed to. I had to keep my feelings to myself so as not to hurt theirs. It was always about them. They saw themselves as the hero who rescued poor little me from a potential life of despair and gave me a wonderful life where they supported me monetarily and showed up at my events. And therefore they were wonderful parents in their own eyes and boasted about it all the time. No one on the outside knew about all the times my dad would come home from work screaming his head off about God knows what and talked about wanting to run the car off the road into a telephone poll and commit suicide. Yup, I remember hearing that one as young as 6 or 7. And I didn’t even remember how much that upset me until I was triggered by that when my step kids were living with me and their good for nothing mother would tell them all the time about how she tried to or wanted to commit suicide and would do it for pity and attention from them whenever they weren’t paying her enough of it or if they had hurt her feelings.over something just to rope them back in. It hurt me to the core to watch another parent do that to kids and then to know that they were on her side and despised me at the time because of all the lies she was telling them about me.
The artificial personalities of my parents in general are something that will be explored in depth throughout this blog. My Dad is such a malignant narcissist it is beyond imagination the kind of stunts he has pulled. He is as fake to the core as they come. He can be one of the most charming people. He literally has everyone fooled except for those who know me personally and have gotten a small glimpse and 2 of my cousins on my mom’s side and the handful of people he has cut out of his life who have dared to go up against him. My husband’s family thought he was great, until my bridal shower happened, and still not even quite then,moreso when my baby shower occurred because that was when my mom sent my sister in law a nasty email and she finally saw it first hand. That was 6 years in to my relationship with my husband. My bridal shower was 3 but that was still only them hearing about it via my husband where it was something that affected them that my parents had done. They are so cunning. But last year when they started to involve my daughter in to their schemes, that’s when I finally started to realize I was not the crazy one. I finally caught my dad flat out in bold faced lies that I was able to confirm. And I was not about to let him start affecting my daughter the way he has affected me. That’s when I laid down the boundaries. That was also a big portion of my depression. Changing the dynamic of my relationship with them. I finally stood up to them in a way I never had before. I told them all about themselves and how much I saw through their games and antics. I told them I was no longer going to play along just to keep the peace the way I had been all along. I wouldn’t be artificial anymore because they have never known the real me. I have always tried so hard to vie for their approval and hid my true self in order to achieve that and still never have, so I am just going to be me, because I am proud of who I am, regardless of what they think of me. This has been a very hard change for me to make.
There is no doubt about it. The mind is amazingly powerful. People have healed themselves from terminal illnesses just from willing it away with the power of their mind. The old adage states that you can do anything you put your mind to. But is the mind reactively the sharpest and strongest of our functions?
It takes parents training their children constantly in the art of “biting the tongue” before children can even come close to being able to sensor their emotions. And if you have a child like mine who has Aspergers, this is exponentially harder as people who have autism often have no filter or take even longer to learn how to implement one. My daughter literally says everything that she thinks. She is a constant babbling brook. She narrates everything she does and thinks. Yet she scored in the 97th percentile on the first ever standardized test that she took last year in both language and spelling and 96th in social science. This is almost 20 percent higher than the rest of her actual class. So her brain is more than developed. Yet she can’t use that brain power to tell herself to keep thoughts inside her head and quiet to save her life. She functions on constant reaction first. This poses a major issue at home when she expresses every single thought out loud, she can come across pretty rude and obnoxious when she is told something she doesn’t want to do or hear. Even with medication, she has a hard time controlling the reaction that her brain has before she speaks.
For me, I have always been overly sensitive. This is based on my incredible high levels of anxiety. It is both genetic and environmental from growing up in a volatile home during childhood. I used to cry EVERY SINGLE DAY OF MY LIFE. I couldn’t help it. Whatever it was that would trigger me that day, I couldn’t hold back the tears no matter how hard I tried. And believe me, many times I tried. I hate how splotchy my face gets when I cry. I look like a red and white cheetah for hours after I have cried. It is utterly embarrassing. I couldn’t begin to start controlling the tears until I finally got on both an anti anxiety med and a beta blocker that was originally prescribed for my migraines but also happened to work amazingly for my anxiety and crying. I have been able to remain a functional human being despite all of the challenges I have faced in life. And so many people who have gone through far less than I have are far less functional than I am. My mind got me through all of that. I self healed. I have only ever seen a therapist for 2 months of my life and that was last year to help me deal with shifting the relationship dynamic with my parents. I handled my life entirely on my own, which is even more amazing. I am adopted which is a trauma in an of itself, I was raised by a father with Narcissistic Personality Disorder and a mother who has multiple psychological issues because she was mentally and physically abused by her mother. My mother was a pill addict for a few years of my life. My father is gay that I uncovered when I was 21 and had to tell my mother and confronted him. They still remain married today despite his 13 year affair with the same man until that boyfriend of his died earlier this year. My father took his own insecurities out on me and my mom because he can’t handle who he is. I raised 2 teenaged stepchildren full time whose addict mother turned them against me which posed some major tensions and issues for several years. My biological daughter was just diagnosed with Aspergers which does not make her defective, but it makes things challenging as a mom. Things have never once been easy for me in my entire life. And I’ve dealt with a of this entirely on my own, through the power of my mind. But when I’m in the heat of the moment, I do not react well. When I feel overwhelmed, I cry. No matter how hard I try not to, my brain can’t stop my reaction from crying.
As a music teacher, I have started to percolate on a very large scale idea that I will eventually be able to put together in to a larger presentation lecture or book and maybe develop a product. But one of the large themes that this is based on is that I have noticed in lessons with my students that the visual input trumps their logic. Regardless of the fact that they can answer immediately after playing something incorrectly and give me the correct answer as to how they should have played it, if there is some inconsistency in the way the music is printed that makes it look visually different than it should logically or than it does normally, they will reactively play it wrong.
There are ways to sharpen the brain and exercises and brain games for many things to advance our logic skills, but the reactivity in some areas, especiqlly the sensory areas, needs some development, if it can ever be overcome. Perhaps our senses reactively are just more powerful. And maybe this is why my brilliant child with Aspergers struggles with sensory input and emotional reactivity. She may be more highly evolved than I am. I have not found that to be out of the realm of possibility, that people with Aspergers actually have more highly developed and advanced brains…food for thought.