For most people, it’s easier to look at others and point the finger of blame than it is to be introspective and look at the faults within themselves. Writing this story forces me to look inside myself at every phase of my life and examine my culpability in the things that happened to me. As I look back on my life, I find that it’s easier for me to look at the faults and weaknesses inside me to try to make sense of my life. It’s a pretty humbling experience too.
I know that I had no control over being placed for adoption or the dynamics of my adoptive family before I was born. I know I had no control over my parents moving to total whiteness when I was two years old. I also know and understand that in cannot control how people from my hometown felt about me and how the felt about people of color that they didn’t know. Finally, I could not control how my parents children would treat me.
With all that being said, I could control me and my emotions. The person I was in Rushford was smart and from the outside I was full of energy and life. I was actively involved in my school and community. I attended church on Sunday. I was an honor student (on the honor roll, If not Honor Society ) and an athlete. I had traveled to Europe and was learning two languages. In other words, I was the epitome of the well rounded student. On paper, I had the perfect life.
But beneath the surface was brewing. So many emotions and feelings that were far beyond that of the ordinary teenager. I had started to get preoccupied with death and used alcohol extensively to escape feelings of loneliness and sadness. I was obsessed with my looks and how much my difference kept me from being fully engaged with the normal life of a teenager. And I was extremely materialistic. I wanted to make a lot of money and have a lot of things.
I can give a million and a half reasons why I was the way I was. But bottom line when I look back on that time, I don’t know what to think. I know that as a child, I was the most vulnerable and therefore I can’t really control things from then.
As I grew older, I wish I had more confidence than I did. I wish I could go back and tell the young lady that I was back then to “Hold on , don’t despair.” Like the song by The Five Stairs Steps – “ooh child, things are gonna get easier”. Because as far as the things that vexed me at 18- looks, hair; money; stuff- all of those things came. In abundance.
So I wish that this young lady had focused more on cultivating her positive self image than focused in outside stuff to fill a void. That was a weakness I have learned to overcome in life. Something I am justifiably proud of.
Another part of me that was weakened then and that is stronger now is my determination to use my gifts to.make a difference. Back then I was selfish and self centered- only focused on making money. That has morphed in my life to a life of service. I don’t care about the money as long as I am helping others. I believe that provision is made for those who serve faithfully. So that also means my faith has increased since this age. (That’s not to say it never gets tested, nor that I pass every test!)
But the downer, the parts of me that started to grow then that I have found that still continue to grow or lay quietly under the surface waiting to be rejuvenated. Reading my old journals and remembering what happened sometimes makes certain parts of me resurface. And tell me that there is still work to.be done, still much to over come.
Like wrath. Back then I was the absolute worst at the “get you back” game. The worst meaning, I was the best. I would hold grudges forever. And some people might not even know what they did. I thought about the story I told of the day before graduation and how it came up then. And it.could have been a very bad situation. But as I will write on the next ten years of my life, I can only say, I sharpened that tool extensively. And that is my weakness that I want to say is gone forever, but I admit will come up from time to time.
The vulnerability that I feel I developed at a young age and continue to carry with me that is most prevalent is my guardedness. I have difficulty trusting people. I have difficulty wanting to maintain friendships with people. It’s not that I don’t like people or enjoy their company, I just am always looking for the dark side of them. Maybe I am always looking for rejection. So I stay distant. This I believe keeps me from fully engaging in life and in meaningful relationships. Writing this blog is helping me because I am opening myself up and hopefully will help me tear down some walls.
I cannot write this without glory ing in my greatest accomplishment that I have seen myself overcome from my early ages. Self destruction. I was so self destructive. My lack of inner love and feeling of belonging anywhere made me feel worthless and useless. And I won’t lie, I still fight those feelings today. But I fight them. I don’t let them destroy me or my mind or what I am trying to do with my family. And that’s my greatest weakness overcome from my childhood years.
One other very positive thing that I have always had is a mostly positive outlook. I might get depressed and hate the world around me, but I have always felt that the sun would come out – just like I learned from Annie. And I will always give praise, even in my tears. So faith is very, very important to me.
I know I just gave you a peek at the end of story. But you had to already know that it’s a good one because I am here to tell it. There’s still a lot to come. These next years are what I call a train wreck meets a tornado.