Monday, October 31, 2016
When we think of a home, we think of comfort and safety, a place to rest our head after a long day. But one of the greatest features we all often seek within our home is a warm wood burning fireplace. The delightful smell of wood crackling, popping as embers burn filling the home with a familiar scent we have come to love. It can take us back to happy places while growing up sitting around a roaring fire listening to stories shared by grandparents, family, or just a place to rest and chat with loved ones.
Yet, the fireplace can also be that one object that hide many things in one's life. There have been many people who have told, "In order to actually be done with the weight of worry, the fearful hurting past I want to you toss that "object" into your fireplace so it can no long haunt you. As it burns, it will be destroyed and you will regain your power once again."
The fireplace can be our sanctuary and at the same time it can destroy it one single toss.
Since I had this history of my birth place in Los Angeles, a hospital now torn down and now a home standing there for someone, I was pondering on the thought of how to bring this up with my mom and dad. Any conversation I had with my parents about my adoption was taking a toll on my mom. My thinking was she had to know I was going to ask someday. I guess in her mind what was done is done and I belonged to her and my dad only.
But, I finally decided to face the challenges of bringing this up. The information I had was too shocking for me to keep to myself. So, I got in my car and headed to my mom and dad's house.
Once I was there I carried the conversation as normal. Greeted them with kisses and hugs and just hung out. My good versus evil was battling in my mind. The evil side was screaming, "tell them, get it out in the open, who cares how they feel this is your life not theirs" the good side was tapping on me telling me, "your going to destroy the two people who loves you so much, why must you cause such pain to the one that loves you"
"Mom, dad, can I talk to you both about something, something I found out about myself?"
My dad stopped what he was doing and gazed at me with his piercing blue eyes, my mom was resting on the couch then sitting up also watching me wondering what I was going to say.
My heart was racing, my mind was screaming to shut up and lie to them about something else, my legs were rattling like bones it seemed. My parents were never ones to easily share my feelings with or to try to get them to understand my point of view. In my parents mind, their way was the right way and anything else was nonsense.
"Well, speak up child, say it or forget." my dad insisted.
"Well, I found out some information about the place I was born." there I said it, it was out and in the open. I had either started my very own war or they would want to hear what I have to say.
"Are you still on that kick, are you still insisting on finding something that just isn't there?" asked my mom with pain in her voice.
I was taken by surprise by my mom's words,. "something that just isn't there" what did that mean, why did she say it so matter of fact?
"I'm not going to have this conversation with you now or anytime soon." spatted my mom with venom in her voice. She stomped out of the room up to the second level of the house and then to her room slamming the door so hard it rattled every window in the house.
I didn't know what I was going to expect but I wasn't expecting that. My dad finished his tuna sandwich taking a bite looking out the over sized kitchen windows unsure what to say to me. He was the one I was expecting to have my back, he always had and I needed his support right now more then ever.
"Why is my adoption such a secret with mom, why does she get so pissed about this subject?" I asked painfully. I continued to watch my dad who never shifted his look to me so he could see my pain as well as my moms pain. He just shrugged his shoulders unsure of what to say. Finally at his last bite he cleared his throat tossed back the remaining milk in his glass. "well I guess that she was hoping that our love for you would take precedence in you wanting to know."
Talk about guilt!! Good God!!
"Dad, I have been carrying this around my entire life, I have wanted to know who my birth mom is, it's not to replace her or leave her or hate her, she needs to understand that this is just a piece of my life that is confusing for me. I just want to know, is that a crime to want to know?"
"You better clear that up with her, go make good with your mother do you hear me. Do it now." demanded my dad, "she doesn't need this pain right now, she is already dealing with so much."
"She is, what is she dealing with, what's wrong?"
"It doesn't concern you, leave it alone, but get up off that stool and go talk to her and whatever you say, be gentle to her please."
I made my way to their bedroom door then knocking gently. I tried to turn the nob but it was locked. I continued to knock and knock and finally she opened the door. I could see she had been crying. Her eyes red her face white as a sheet, her shoulders slumped down hard and heavy.
I reached out to hug her, I pressed her into my body, I clenched her tightly whispering how much I loved her and how sorry I was. As I pulled away she still wanted to cling to me, she wasn't ready to let go, she needed to be close to me.
I pulled away once again then taking her by her hand I lead her to the side of bed where we sat. I sighed heavy, so unsure what to say then it finally came to me.
"Mom, you will always be my mom, dad will always be my dad and nothing will ever change that ever. Don't you know that?"
My mom looked at me finally feeling defeated, she finally understood I was not going to let this go until I had some answers. I knew there was some kind of a family secret that she and my dad held between them both.
"When your dad and I learned we could not have kids, it devastated us both for so long. We tried for five years to have kids and well, with each month that came and went, one monthly period after the other, it was just to much for us to bear. So, we turned to adoption it was the only choice left for us to have our family we so much wanted."
I remember taking my mom's hands in mine. I could feel her trembling, I could see her chest racing and still she could not look at me.
"Go on, I want to know."
"Well, when we brought Don home, we knew right away we wanted another baby. Soon we found out that there was a baby girl which was you, that was supposed to go to another family, but they never answered their phone so they turned to us. We were so excited to see you that we got the entire family together and went down and picked you up."
I moved to be closer to my mom reassuring her with my hands squeezing hers. She cleared her throat and continued.
"You see, when a mother who gave her baby up in the sixties, she had six months to change her mind. She would of walked right up to the door of our house with the police and told us she wanted you back. We would be left with no choice but to hand you back. With each phone call or knock at the door., well, I just never answered any of them for fear of losing you."
"So that is the big secret with me, that is what you didn't want me to know?" I asked.
"No," my mom cupped her face in her hands with what seemed to look like embarrassment. She began to cry once again. I pulled her close to me reassuring her it was okay then pulling her back giving room to continue.
"So, then what is the big secret then?"
"We wanted you so badly and being I could never experience actually having children, I took all your birth information, your birth mom's name, where she lived, who she was, all the things you want to know and I tossed it into the fireplace and watched it burn."
"Wait," I said with confusion then turning to anger, "wait, let me get this straight, you took my life, "my life" and tossed it into the fireplace? Anything that had to do with my past and watched it burn? You mean to tell me I can never learn about who I am, my nationality, my life, and you just tossed it into the fireplace so you would believe that I was actually yours?"
I was so disgusted with her not only as a person, but as a mother.
And with one single breath, my life had changed forever right at that very moment.
Sunday, October 30, 2016
Often learning about ourselves can or will be a roller coaster filled with twist and turns we believe we are ready for yet, it can shake the living soul right out of our own body. One of the most eye-opening ways of learning about one's self is being brave enough to ask, "So, how do you see me as a person?"
We may feel we are ready to hear the truth but in reality it can be shocking as if lighting coming from the vast dark sky and bolting right through our very core of our body. It can take you from the place of where you stand and throw you into a direction landing you in a very unfamiliar place.
We as people have or should have always been taught, "love who you are, flourish on what you do best, and the rest will follow"
When my mom learned of my uncle's transgressions sharing of my life as a baby which was so personal to my mom and dad and yet me left with this puzzle of life that seemed to have so many missing pieces. Often when we spend hours trying to piece together a thousand piece puzzle. We see the end is finally near to an end then suddenly you learn there are a few missing pieces.
We search the floor like a trained detective or we look at the family dog wondering if he or she ate the last few pieces. The puzzle will not be complete until we find those missing pieces such as myself.
Because I caused my mom so much grief and pain my heart was beginning to shatter. My loving side wanted to take her in my arms and hold her while begging for her forgiveness, then the evil side of me wanted to yell and shout to the mountain tops demanding answers to something she clearly knew.
As the computer age was growing and finding things on the "Internet" were becoming readily more available, I turned to my birth certificate once again. Pulling it out, I began to search once again for the hospital I was born in. Each of the hundreds of phone number I had found on the internet I found myself with more negative feedback over and over landing me in one dead end after another until finally, this one lady, this one very single elderly lady that had answered the phone told me;
"Rose-Netta Hospital, you were born in Rose-Netta?" I could hear the shock of her voice through the phone. I became increasingly worrisome once again. What was wrong with Rose-Netta and why didn't it exist anymore? My mind turned to the many hospitals in the area that have been standing there brick and mortar for years. I have never ever heard of a hospital shutting down.
"Why does that surprise you when I tell you I was born at Rose-Netta, what's wrong with being born at Rose-Netta?" I asked with both curiosity mixed with fear.
There was this long overwhelming pause from the mysterious woman. I could hear her taking in breaths as beginning to speak and then stopping herself over and over.
"Do you know something about Rose-Netta, why aren't you telling me?"
"I think you need to call the Los Angeles County Historic Records and get some information from there. I believe I am the wrong person to share that information."
The mysterious lady took what little hope I had left and stomped on it as if killing the pestering bug that would not die. My heart just sunk. I was so close and yet so far away from finding anything about me. The black cold and impersonal tunnel of life I had lived in just got colder with each second of my life. I could feel my heart sinking my breathing was short and hollow followed by some heavy sighs.
I could feel my eyes filling of the salty tears about ready to fall. I cleared my throat and decided if I possibly shared my emotions and mystery she might change her mind. As I began to share I could sense the uncomfortable woman on the other end of the phone.
"Stop, please stop," said the strange woman. "Okay, I used to work there in the early sixties, I was a nurse there. Please, do not ask anymore information about this place. This is a place I wish to no longer remember, this is a place that changed my perception of doctors from what I thought was good from bad to evil."
With one swift move there was a dead phone line. The woman who held so many pieces of my life that could possibly answer about my birth was now gone. I didn't hesitate to call her back but all I got was a busy signal.
But hey, I had at least one step in the right direction. I called four-one-one and got the number to the Los Angeles Historic Records and the first man that answered the phone I began sharing what I was looking for. He put me on hold then I talked to another, put on hold again, then another, another hold then finally I got another elderly woman.
"Why do you want information about Rose-Netta?' asked the elderly woman. I could sense the mystery in her tone.
"Because I was born there, I was adopted and I am searching for my birth mom."
"Deary I'm sorry to tell you this but all the information regarding that hospital is no longer available. It was shut down in nineteen-sixty-three because the doctor was not from here. I believe if memory serves me, he came from Princeton, Kentucky. He theory on medical care was very unfortunate.
"Can you please tell me about this place?" I begged and pleaded, "something, anything? I feel as if my entire life is a mystery and I need answers, I need to know where I came from and why my adopted mom and dad don't want me to know."
"I-I-I'm not sure you will want to know honey." stammered the old lady her voice filled with fear and concern.
"I want to know, no, I need to know. Imagine walking your whole life and never knowing where you came from or who your birth mom is or what nationality you are, what makes you, you."
The elderly lady cleared her throat and took in a heavy sigh, "maybe somethings are better left unsaid I am fearful what I know and share can change your perspective even more and make you even more confused then you are now."
"At this point, what do I have lose, at least I have some pieces to that puzzle I have been trying to find."
After a long agonizing pause from the elderly lady, she began her story. "Well, the hospital was a seventeen room hospital. It was a bi-racial hospital meaning he employed bi-racial people of mixed ethnics. But not just people that were employed there, it was for women who were expecting bi-racial babies."
"Go on," I demanded, I was finally getting some answers to where I came from at least.
"Well, I think the hardest is the nightmare stories I have heard from so many that have worked there. The hospital had an electroshock therapy room for women who fought for wanting their babies back after placed in adoption. Women were tortured there and if they fought the system that was in place, they were dragged to this room in the back of the hospital gagged and put onto the chair strapped down to endure rigorous electroshock therapy pain. The other stories I heard was while women where getting shocked they could hear the torturing screams of pain and the smell of burning hair or flesh of skin."
My heart just cracked in agonizing pain wondering if my birth mother had this horrid treatment put upon her. I just sat there stunned, shocked at what this doctor did to so many women who were forced to give up their babies.
"Well, now I know why my adopted mom didn't want to tell me anything about my adoption. That explains so much."
"The last time I checked," began the elderly lady, "and this was some time ago, the hospital has since been torn down due to torture and malpractice and a house was built there. Now it's considered the worst part of Los Angeles to even walk in during the day. At night, you don't even make the attempt the walk there."
"So that explains why I can't find any medical records of any kind. How apropos, my life ended before I even began to live."
With one single breath, my life had changed forever.
Saturday, October 29, 2016
As I have openly shared, there is always that one family member that one can turn to for comfort, for reassurance, for understanding especially when they cannot turn to either parent. Often, talking about such person things can be the hardest for anyone. I for one did not have that family that I could turn to and discuss openhearted feelings or thoughts of confusion.
But, I did have my Uncle Don Brown. I must of been in my early twenties, (a lot of things happen to me in my twenties some good, some bad, and very bad) he was living in Palm Springs and I often called him to get some guidance about life just in general. I remembered that sometime ago he brought up the conversation with my parents regarding my adoption. My mom and dad quickly shut him down and changed the subject and while doing that, my dad asked me to leave the room.
While I was climbing the stairs headed to my room I could hear voices being raised.
"Why do you want to rehash that conversation with her? She is fine not knowing anything right now, besides, I'm not ready to share what I did right after she got home." bellowed my mom with her roaring voice. My dad quickly jumped into the conversation defending my mom.
"Because, she has the right to know." replied my Uncle. I stopped short at the stop of the stairs shocked and amazed that a huge piece of my life was now beginning to become heavy tangled knots such as a young sailor learning to tie knots on a boat.
My head began to spin with confusion, my stomach turned with anger, pain, and now resentment that my life was such a secret. Why do they not want me to know about my life I questioned myself.
"She often calls me and seeks me out for things to talk about and when I asked her why she hasn't spoken to the both of you, well, she just simply tells m that you both would not understand. You have a very confused little girl that is dying to know who she is, where she came from." my uncle said with authority and matter of fact tone to his voice.
I turned to sneak downstairs to the second level of the house slithering into the conversation pit hiding from both my parents and my uncle. My palms began to sweat I was so scared they would of found me and then got even more mad then they were.
I could see my mom from the reflection of the mirror in the dining room. I could see her face filled with bewildered look on her face looking at my uncle then my dad.
"What do you mean she calls you, when does she call you?" My uncle took a swig of his hard liquor and walked closer to my parents then leaning on the counter facing them.
"All the time, she talks to me about things such as sex, boys, drugs, drinking, and just life in general. She tells me that she can't talk to the both of you because all you do is judge and yell at her. By the looks on your faces and the tones in both of your voices, I can see why."
"Get out," my mom shouted, "get the hell out of my house, I am not going to have someone tell me that my daughter cannot talk to me."
At that moment my uncle took his last sip of hard liquor and I just made a mad dash up the stairs to my room as quietly as I could. Once in my room I heard hard stomping feet hitting the tile floors and then a quick abrupt slam of the front door.
My dad stood on the second level of the home then shouting my name followed by his demand to come to the kitchen. I descended down the stairs as if I was headed for the gas chambers to end my life. I imagined someone behind me in a police uniform shouting, "DEAD WOMAN WALKING"
When I got to the kitchen I could see my mom's face. Her eyes swollen from crying, my dad with his look of disappointment and disgust as he glared at me.
"What is this I hear that you call Don Brown and talk to him about personal things?" asked my dad. I shrugged my shoulders fearful to speak. My heart was breaking because I broke my mom's heart. But I had to know the "secret" what was this secret about my life.
"When we are ready to share about your life we will, but in the mean time please stop discussing your adoption with Don Brown" my dad said with such authority and demand in his voice.
The conversation was dropped and nothing was ever discussed about it. From that time since I was maybe thirteen until my early twenties, I lead a life filled with confusion. I went from being confused by maybe sixty-percent to now one-hundred-fifty-one-percent.
When computers were becoming all the rage and seeking things out were just a click and clack away of the fingers on a keyboard, I had a copy of my birth certificate and each time I tried to find the hospital that I was born in, all that ever came up was a used car lot. I called the car lot that was associated with the address and I received this recording, "the number you are trying to reach is no longer in service, please check the number and try again"
I called my uncle once again not caring who I hurt or who's toes I would step on. That was a conversation I was not ready for. He told me that many people went with my parents to pick me up from the hospital. My grandparents, uncles, aunts, and yes, Don Brown. He told me that he saw the woman who gave birth to me. He told me that she was exotic looking almost Hispanic looking. She was tiny in size and all alone in the hospital bed.
So, how did he know that was my birth mom? Well, my uncle Don Brown was a very handsome man. He was a strong chick magnet. Women would flock to him as if he was feeding seagulls at the ocean. He told me that the one nurse that was caring for my mom was in the very next room where my parents were sitting holding me and finishing up their paperwork.
He told me she was maybe in her early twenties as well. She was crying and wanting to hold her baby but the nurse reminded her, "your baby is gone, she is in a new home" my uncle just stood there watching her ache in pain for losing me.
Was this true, did he actually tell me the truth? Did he really meet my birth mom? Only time will tell.
Friday, October 28, 2016
We are all connected to family in some crazy way. While I was growing up I was shocked and dismayed at the fact that some of these people that we label as "FAMILY" could somehow be related to me, not by blood, but by LOVE!
My dad's side of the family was more laid back and easy going. They were never about money or high society, they focused more on family and being a family. My dad's dad, my grandfather is and was the most insightful person that any one can ever have in their lifetime. He was always the one that I loved seeing the most.
The memories I have of him will go until my death. I carry them proudly in my heart as well as my back pocket. No matter where I go, what I do, he is on my mind. He was one that taught me to dance the Waltz while I stood on his feet at seven year old. The smile he would shine down upon me with such admiration and joy was my happy place. Each time I would see him I would run into his arms and he would pick me up and spin me all around while I shouted with excitement. I would then dig into his front pocket of his button down shirt filled with excitement and anticipation wondering what sweet treat he was going to bring me this time. Sometimes it would be mints and other times it would be gum.
I used to tell people I was going to marry my grandpa during those family dinners or small get together's. I would often notice my mom rolling her eyes at my statement and then walking away not with anger but with concern on her face. I was never quite clear on what that meant and when I told many I was going to marry my grandpa no ever corrected me or told me that was an inappropriate thing to do or say.
My uncle and aunt were extended family of my dad, his brother and sister. I was always so close to my aunt Shirley. She was the one I could talk to about my adoption and how it bothered me. I could trust her to never say a word to anyone. She was the light at the top of my boat guiding me through my vast darkness and confusion. She was always so careful with her words and how she spoke to me about being adopted. She always told me how badly my parents wanted children. That was when I learned through secrecy my mom was never able to have kids.
Aunt Shirley shared with me during one of our afternoon walks and talks in her beautiful neighborhood. Homes were perfectly manicured, flowers blooming, neighbors once cared about each once upon a time. As she talked to me she shared how my mom and dad tried for five years right after they were married. My mom became so depressed with each month learning that she was not pregnant.
She continued to tell me that my mom feel into such a deep depression that often my parent fought over who's fault it was. Finally they gave in and decided to adopt. Through her chosen words I could feel my mom's pain, I could feel the love that she had for me and my brother. It made me proud to be with the family I was with.
My mom's side of the family was all about money and power. I was never close to them. Yes, I had the typically grandfathers and grandmothers, uncles, aunt, cousins but there was no grandfather to jump into his arms, there was no grandmother to sit and share my deepest secrets. My Uncle Dean owned two car lots and lived the life of luxury. His mansion sat on the top of the hills in Marina Del Rey located in California. His house had nine bedrooms and eleven bathrooms. Christmas Eve was held at his house and that meant we dressed to impress. My mom would dig out all her diamonds, my dad would dig out his best suit, and my mom would take my brother and I shopping for the best dress and suit for both of us.
It was just a very different vibe with them. No one ever reached out and hugged me or anyone else. Everyone did that Hollywood kiss, you know one, kiss one check then kiss the other check and fill each other's head with lies about how good it was to see them.
The big talk of those family gatherings with the "Stuffy People" was the talk of this one relative, they called her "The Kiss of Death" the rumor was whom ever she kissed to greet them, days later they would die. No matter the age, or who it was, when she entered the room many would shutter at the fact of greeting her. I never knew her real name because my family never told me her name. I only knew her as the lady that would kiss you and then you would die.
I remember very clearly during my earlier age. I was eleven years old when she came to my mom's house. She entered the room wearing all black. She was a puggy woman, short in size, I remember her black hair and the black dress along with black stockings and black shoes. When she smiled there was just evil in her face. My mom's side of the family greeted her with an awkward hello. But I do remember, two family members on my mom's side didn't believe in this tall tale, so my Uncle Jerry walked up and kissed her on her cheek as well as Uncle Ben. Four days later my Uncle Jerry died, then five days later my Uncle Ben died.
Then there is family that will leave you questioning if what they say is actually true. Earlier I wrote about my Uncle Don Brown. Just to clear things up, he was never my uncle. He was actually an old boyfriend of my mothers that had remained in her life as a "good friend" now I don't know about you, but I would be most uncomfortable if I had a husband that continued to be friends with an old girlfriend that he almost married and remain in my life as long as I was married.
But my Uncle Don was there every step of the way through the adoption process of my brother and myself. He used to call me "Nennie, Nennie Num, Num" and my brother he used to tell him "go fly a kite Don" I have always questioned how much he knows. I remember him telling me he was there the day my parents went to pick me up at the hospital. I remember him telling me that the moment he saw me he shared how my mom cried and my dad couldn't wait to hold me.
Many years later I called my Uncle Don, he was the "other family" I could talk to about anything. I began sharing my thoughts on searching for my birth mother. He told me it would kill my mom if I did that. I told him through tears and frustration that I just had to know. That was when he just opened up and blew me away with what he told me.
In one breath, my life had changed
Thursday, October 27, 2016
There have been an extensive amount of people I have spoken to that have said to me, "when my world just seems upside down, I have struggled to turn my thoughts into words for one to understand my feelings."
Have you ever taken a word search puzzle and sat down in a quiet room and searched for letters that will create a word only to find that most of them are spelled backwards? Very often when one feels lost they tend to turn to something of a higher power. But what constitutes a high power? Many feel it is biblical and some feel it is a skilled and very trained therapist or some find comfort within themselves while they desperately seek for those letters that will create some sense of those words that will define how they feel.
Once I learned I was adopted I suddenly saw my family in a different light. I was so young and trying to create those letters that will form words that will then turn into a sentence was so confusing for me. I began to pull away from my family because suddenly what seemed to make sense no longer felt like it did any longer. The family I called "mom and dad" were now mere strangers to me.
I remember hearing my mom cry in pain while my dad consoled her telling her over and over, "she will understand we love her no matter what and we need to help her understand this, it must be scary to suddenly learn that your birth mother just gave you away."
My brother was more accepting of being adopted. It never really seemed to bother him at all. But for me and still I struggle with the letters that create words and those words that will create a sentence for me to define my confusion. But as the years went on I saw the devotion from my mom, the open arms to hug me when I hurt or my dad kissing my boo-boo's. Suddenly I found myself falling in love with this family that wanted me so badly.
Growing up with the family I did was never easy. My father had this high-powered job that consisted of demanding work within each and every court house throughout Southern California. He was responsible for over eleven court houses and often I felt as if we lived in a fish bowl. No matter where we went or what I did, as soon as they heard my name, I heard countless times..."Hey isn't your dad....." I was always known as Mr....... daughter. I was never ever defined as a person but someone's daughter.
We were considered high society which in turn lead to high society dinners. When my mom and dad attended those affairs my mom was dressed to the "nines" as they said back then. She was draped in diamonds from head to toe accompanied with an evening gown that was always perfect for her. My dad of course, wore his tuxedo and together they made a beautiful couple.
For many years I secretly carried those thoughts of wanting to find my birth mother. I would often dream of finding her and confronting her then demanding an answer. I wanted to see who I looked like. As the years crept along, I was changing, growing, and my looks were nothing like my parents. It pained me to see my friends who resembled their mom or dad. I felt like a fish out of water when I was with my family. I cannot begin to share those who never knew of my brother and I being adopted they would gaze at us then my parents, then us, then back at them. I knew what they thinking, "they don't look anything like their parents."
I could feel those burning eyes and secret whispers or thoughts of others bearing down my neck or into my chest which ultimately broke my heart. I began to question if it was just me who felt this way? My brother fit into every conversation, he fit into every crowd and many just wanted to be around him. I of course never felt that way. I always felt like the last egg that made a dozen laying outside of the crate and no one ever put me in to make me feel like the complete dozen.
I always buried my thoughts, fears, and desperately wanting to know who my birth mom was. Every woman I saw no matter where I went I began to wonder, "is she my birth mom, or could it her, or her, or maybe even her."
Growing up through elementary school was even more difficult than I ever imagined. We all know that when we attend school, we have to fill out forms that define who we are. We fill in all the places that we know of yet when it came to the question, "what is your nationality?" I never knew what to mark. I had no clue to what my nationality was. I had no understanding of where I came from so how would I know my nationality? My dad tried telling me, "well, I am what you call Heinz Fifty -Seven, and since your my daughter that would make you are a mix of everything."
Is that supposed to give me clarity of what I am? Really? After being told that my entire childhood I finally told my dad, "that is what you are, I want to know what I am. Remember, I came from someone else. I want to know who I am, what makes me, me. Am I Hispanic, Jewish, Irish, German, what am I?"
Imagine growing up and never knowing your nationality, ever! Everyone else in this huge vast world knows who they are. They know how they got their personality, who they represent, where their temperament came from. They know where they got their green eyes from, their smile from, where they got their laughter from. I was so consumed and jealous by this. It pained me severely to know that I will never know who I am.
So often many people asked me my nationality. Those which were so curious often reveled to me I had resembled someone of a European decent Then I often heard Irish decent. I even heard Hispanic decent. Imagine being in a conversation and someone asking you, "so, what's your ancestry, where does your lineage being?" I was not about to ever tell someone I was a Heinz-Fifty-Seven, that belonged to my father. I wanted my own, I wanted my own identity. I wanted to feel like I belonged to my own nationality.
Yet, for years I could never answer that so, to stop the pain, and stop the confusion of so many I always told them, "I have no idea I was adopted." well you could imagine if you will the look on the people's faces when I told them. It was as if two dinner plates popped out of their eyeballs, "you were, oh my God that's interesting."
From then on I was hammered with countless questions, "wow, that is so very interesting. So do you know who your birth parents are, do you want to find them, don't you want to know why, do you know anything about them?" I suddenly felt like that frog in science class that had been euthanized and then dissected buy a student. I felt as if everyone around me was cutting deep into my pain pulling and tugging at me wanting to know just how I was created.
I often took a heavy sigh and just turned and walked away. I found my self cursing my birth mother with such piss and vinegar for giving me away then I found myself curing my adopted mom taking me home. I never felt like I ever fit in anywhere.
I finally gave in to the multiple questions of others and just made up a nationality. I told so many people that I has French and Hispanic. I figured finally since so many thought I was European decent I might as well be. For ten years when I shared my nationality it never really gave me peace, it never really gave me comfort. I knew I was lying but I so desperately wanted to fit in so much with the people and I figured if I told them this I would fit in.
After ten years of sharing this lie to anyone that asked me, it got old, it got tiring filled with boredom. I was no long able to carry this lie anymore and I found myself surrendering to the fact I will probably never know.
Imagine walking around your whole life never knowing who you are. Never knowing what makes you, you. You find so many that have that sense of belonging that have that knowledge of wisdom of their lineage, they have that step up in life while I just remained at the bottom of the steps. I never had that 'step-up" ever.
So, with my Christmas money I am going to receive, I am finally after fifty-five years of never knowing, I will be taking that DNA test offered to millions of people that seek some peace and comfort in who they are.
Once I do this, in one single breath, my life will forever change.
Wednesday, October 26, 2016
Living in the shadows of my brother was always difficult. I had began to label him as the "Golden Child" in my parents eyes, he could do no wrong. He was the perfect child. He had fallen into the map of life that my mom and dad religiously planned for him. Was I jealous because my insecurity steamed from so many things? Things I never shared with my parents for fear of it causing such pain to them that I felt as a human, it was better off not to be shared.
I learned very early in life that I was adopted. I still remember as if I was that little girl with the countless freckles on my face, my short pixie hair cut, my frail bony body, I even remember the house we lived in. If I close my eyes I can see it in my mind. I remember the placement of the furniture, I remember the smells that came from the house, I even remember the address we had.
I remember going through the devastating earthquake of nineteen-seventy-one that not only changed everything from streets to homes to cars it had now changed everything and everyone's live forever. It was as if Mother Nature felt the need to let the world know she was suffering from PMS and she wanted the world to open up and feel her cramping pain.
It was Sunday morning, I was laying wide awake in bed wondering when my dad was going to get up and start breakfast. The house was dead silent not a sound from anywhere. Suddenly the entire home began shaking so violently. My mom came into my room and grabbed me from the bed and ran dragging me behind. My dad ran into my brother's room doing the very same, dragging him behind as well. I could hear the painful echoing cracks of windows, cabinets falling from the kitchen walls to the floors as they came crashing down. I began to cry for fear of not knowing what was happening.
My mom coddled me and held me tight as I clinched onto her sheer pink nightgown. Her words were strong yet reassuring that all would be okay. I remember that day when everything stopped shaking and we began to pick up our house, neighbors were crossing from house to house helping each other in their homes cleaning whatever was left.
After hours had passed and the cleaning finally came to a halt, all the neighborhood kids I had grown up with, played with since I was a baby, attended the same elementary school we gathered at the curb in front of my house. I remember Kevin the bully of the neighborhood he kept staring at me as if I had something on my face. He kept looking cocking his head side-to-side giving me a feeling of being insecure. Nancy my best friend finally asked him what he was looking at.
"I was just wondering what it feels like to be adopted. You know you don't look anything like your mom and dad right?" said Kevin. I remember asking Kevin what being adopted is and he tells me, "that is when your own parents don't want you so they give you to someone else."
Nancy jumped up into Kevin's face as would a German Shepard guarding his owner. She demanded that he shut up, she yelled at him that he is being mean to me. I suddenly found myself confused, I was wondering why he would ever say something so mean to me so cold and so calculating.
Kevin shoved Nancy to the side and that was when Gary, Nancy's brother jumped up and started fighting Kevin. Blows were taken to both faces and within moments both boys were rolling on the ground while all the boys around were chanting, "FIGHT, FIGHT, FIGHT" my father emerged from the house sprinting towards us to break it up and demanded to know what started the fight.
I just stood there glaring at my dad wondering now who he was. I could feel my stomach rumbling, I could feel my heart in my neck, I could feel my pain becoming more prominent. Both boys just stood there with their ripped shirts and dirty all over their bodies accompanied with bloody noses and lips.
"Why were you boys fighting, what was this about?" demanded my dad. Kevin finally spoke up with his angry grumbling voice pointing at me and telling my dad to ask me. I just turned and went into the house slamming the screen door behind me. As I entered my room I sat on the edge of my bed wondering what that word "adoption" meant. I began to think about my dad's face my mom's face.
My dad is this very tall man with sea blue eyes followed by a very large nose. He has dark brown hair he is tough but at the same time gentle as long as you followed the rules of the house he was happy. My mom constantly was changing the color of her hair. She went from Blonde to Red to Brown, she seemed to never be happy with her looks. But this time, she was a Blonde. I could hear her in their bedroom still cleaning the last bits of this morning's earthquake.
I emerged from my bedroom and went to the kitchen to stand next to my dad who was finishing up the Sunday morning breakfast dishes. He continued to wash then turned to me clearing his throat.
"So, what was that fight about, and did you really start it?" My fingers clinched under the counter so tight I could feel the pressed wood digging into my finger tips. I felt as if I want to pee my pants from fear. My legs began to shake and my heart began to pound so loud I could hear it in my ears.
"Answer me child, did you start that fight?" my dad said even more sternly. Then finally without my brain warning me, I just blurted it out.
"Why don't I look like you, why are you different then me, why do you have brown hair and mom has Blonde hair but I have red hair, why don't I have your big nose?"
My dad turned off the sink water and turned to me. I could see the shock and fear in his eyes, I could see the confusion on his face. He pressed his lips together then clearing his throat.
"What brought this on all of a sudden?' he asked with such fear in his voice as he stammered asking me.
"Is it true, am I really not yours?' I remember suddenly beginning to cry, the tears were flowing uncontrollably with such force. My dad took me into his arms and began to reassure me that I was his, that I will always be his little girl no matter what.
He lead me to the kitchen table sitting down plopping me into his lap and holding me tightly. I melted into the curvature of his big framed body. He kept telling me to relax and take a breath. I saw my brother emerge standing in the kitchen but my dad motioned for him to go away.
I looked onto those kind loving eyes that now appeared sad, they appeared to be cracked and broken. For the first time in my life I no longer saw me when I looked into his eyes. His hands appeared different to me. He was becoming a stranger with each passing second of that morning. Who was this man that wanted me to call him dad and were was my real dad. Why didn't my dad want me, why is this man holding me telling me that he loves me.
"Kevin told me I was adopted, what does that mean, is it true about me?" the entire room fell silent where we sat. I could hear in the distance my mom in her room, my brother in his playing with his toys crashing one into another.
My dad took me into his arms, the arms that once gave me comfort during those nights when I thought a monster was under my bed or my closet. The man that when he came home I would sit on his foot and he would walk all around the house while my giggles filled the room shouting "do it again daddy, do it again."
I remember I pulled away looking at him now a stranger in my life. I wanted to know where my parents were, my real parents. I asked him why they dropped me off at this house. I asked if they came here and just handed me to them. I asked him what they looked like. I asked him where they were I told him I wanted to go find them.
With in one breath....my life had changed
Tuesday, October 25, 2016
|You Want Me to Follow This?|
As i was growing up my mom was trying to map out my life for me. As I shared in my very first post of this blog, my mom wished for me to marry money and stay married to money because in her eyes, it is financial freedom and status in the world that we live in.
Status to my mom is defined by the house we live in, the cars that we drive, how many times we go to the bank and make deposits only to hear the stuffy teller ask you, "which account do you wish to make this deposit to?"
Status to my mom is wearing designer named brand clothing, shopping in the best of the best stores, which I have come to realize that my mom and now my dad are what I call "Label Whores" from their nail clippers to their combs, it is either on their backs or within their homes.
Did they work hard to provide themselves with the best of the best living? Well sure they did. My father who worked every single day of his life with the court system, my mother who worked the family insurance business both titled appropriately for their jobs, made excellent money. But one must remember, when you sell land for millions of dollars, receive in entitlements from the company and then invest in Disney, Ford, well your going to live the good life.
I know that when my mom was planning my map instead of myself, which I really should of done, it was a map that I was never satisfied with. But as I grew older, I could tell that she had my best interest at heart and really wanted me to be successful no matter what I did. As long as I sat behind a huge oak desk with a name plate and title attached to it, people that worked for me and living in a plush high-rise in downtown Los Angeles, and lets not forget, that fancy shamcy car in the carport, she was satisfied.
My brother was one of the chosen one's from God's "Pick of the Litter" you know it was the one that stood out within all those others that stood next to him. He beamed success, he glorified in it. It seemed he was built "Ford Tough" and he could take any ditch, any valley, and rubble and touch it watching take a life form of GOLD.
A great example is, when he was in his early twenties he went to a job interview for one of the biggest computer companies in Northern California. He was living up in Santa Cruz and applied and was granted an interview. While sitting in the receptionist office the receptionist herself began banging on her desktop. He approached her and asked her what the problem was. She shared how her desktop was falling apart and she begged the company to fix it and they never did so my brother offered his services.
Now you must take into account he NEVER attended college, never cracked open a book, never studied one single thing in his life. Taking a hold of the mouse he turned it into GOLD. He clicked, clicked, pointed, clicked, entered some concoction numbers on the computer, clicked enter, the computer restarted and WA-LA it was as if the computer was brand new. The then problems for the receptionist were handled and cared for.
Seconds before he was to enter into human resources, the receptionist turned on her beaten down heels madly heading to the President of this computer company. When she returned, she returned with the President right behind her.
She introduced them both, "Don, this Mr. Wesley, Mr. Wesley I would like to introduce you to the genius that fixed my computer." They exchanged handshakes and my brother was lead to this massive over-sized office filled with family photos, sprawling windows from one end of the room to the next overlooking the beautiful city of Santa Cruz.
Words were exchanged, promises were kept, and before my brother knew it, he was the computer geek that traveled extensively all over world to companies linked within this huge computer company. His job, to fix all computer that had related problems to their hard drive, programming, introducing new programs, taking out non-effective programs that caused companies grief.
He was clearing over six figures and when he bought stock into the company of course it split and he made a bloody fortune. This from a man who never attended computer school, never cracked open a book about computer programming, nope. He was paid to travel first class, ate the best of foods, slept in the best hotels, and to boot, they gave him two-thousand-dollars in spending money to spend on what he wanted. His passport book was stamped, raped, and used in such places like Spain, Germany, Japan, China, Argentina, blah, blah, blah.
So of course during those family and friends get-together dinners with my mom bragging, "Oh my son is just amazing at his job, he is just a super star. Then my daughter, well she is still trying to find herself. I guess the map I proposed to her must of been Pig Latin."
And in one breath...my life forever changed.
So many people say that one breath your life can change. As I heard that growing up, I never thought for a second it would ever refer to myself. I always thought it would refer to someone else. Never in a million years did I ever see my life unraveling such as mine.
I came from a loving home, a mother, a father, and to top it off a brother that I learned to hate while growing up but then later realizing he is an amazing human being. Siblings typically grow up teasing and causing pain to the other and driving parents crazy, Well, my brother and I did just that. We drove my parents not only crazy but we challenged them on the thoughts of why they even had kids.
Yet my life resembled that hand knitted scarf with one piece of yarn missed in those hundreds of interlocking pieces. If one were to pull that one missing interlocking strand of yarn, the entire scarf would begin to come unraveled.
I have been trying to find my path in life for years. My purpose on this earth, what am I supposed to be doing with my life? While in high school so many girls that I either knew or knew of had plans. They knew what they wanted to do and they set out to achieve those goals and they did it style, beauty and grace. Some married money, some were financially successful. I think one of the already crashing moments of my life was when I saw Gigi Tierney at the hotel I worked at.
She, along with four of her close friends, dinned at the cafe I was working in. She shared how she struck it rich in the real estate world, another woman shared how she married money, another shared with such conviction and strength her valedictorian graduation from Western Law now focusing on the laws of domestic violence issues and last but not least, the one woman I envied so much even more than Gigi, she was the president of her very own fortune five hundred company.
There I stood before these women who seemingly had everything all together and I who was living minimum wage paycheck to paycheck struggling financially, going through a divorce so nasty while living in a small low-end apartment. I felt ashamed of my life and when all four of those women felt the need to share their successes, I just wanted to become that Ostrich that buries her head in the sand so not to see their life nor mine.
We have all had those moments in our life from either someone that we knew or someone that we wish we never struck up a conversation with. Society puts such a stigma on what we should be doing instead of focusing on what we are doing. Does money and power actually define who we are? I thought our lives were supposed to be defined by how we treat others, how we are while out in public? Our own successes should be measured by our accomplishments no matter the size or the definition of what they may appear to be.
My mother God bless her soul who still to this day at a great beautiful age of eighty-four, still has a need for lipstick when she walks out of the house, her hair perfect, her clothing pressed and detailed with jewelry, her nails manicured and stunning. Then there is me who is most comfortable at throwing anything on matching or not head out to run errands. Often my hair is tasseled and unruly my eyes resembling a raccoon or my pants wrinkled giving the impression I just pulled them out of the bottom of my dirty clothes or clean hamper.
I never thought in one breath that I would ever blog about my life for the vast world to see once I hit that "Publish Post" key that I pound my story on through my laptop. Never did I ever expect to write about myself nor sound so narcissistic or invite others to my "Petty Party"
Yes, we often do make choices that will reflect us as human beings, some choices may be grand and some may be failures that will haunt us like the skeletons that dangle in our closet that when opened, it is a constant reminder of the choices that we have made. Funny how the successful choices we have made are not the same skeletons that remind of the success we have planned, nope, only the bad choices of those skeletons that hang and frighten us each time.
I came from a family of money, much money. When you come from a family of money the challenges come with it as well. The expectations from others can suffocate one so greatly that no matter how many times you inhale or exhale you just cannot seem to catch up to the expectations. My mother, a woman who I have learned to love, begged for her forgiveness for the pain I have caused her, came from a family of old and new money. Appearance was and still is everything to her. How we dressed as kids, the impression that we must leave when out in the world, how we were supposed to be the happy family of our lives was exhausting. My father on the other hand was the one that was and still is down to earth. He is more realistic to the world of life.
They say that opposites attract and well, whoever coined that phrase was not kidding. How my parents have made it to sixty-one years of marriage blows my mind. My fathers family were farm people growing up and living on a farm. My grandfather that employed African Americans as slaves living on his farm is the complete opposite of my mother. My mother grew up in the rich homes, she had the plush life, she had the fancy cars, the social parties that she attended. Go figure!!
Because my mother came from money, not only did she know how to live with money, she knew how to make money and make money is what she did the best. When my parents married they received a piece of land from Las Vegas during the early fifties. Not sure what to do with it, the uncle that passed this to her told her, "hold on that lil' darlin, some day you will find yourself rich, rich, and very rich"
Fast forward ten years later, my parents received a certified addressed letter from the state of Nevada explaining how they wanted to obtain their land for a casino. They wanted to buy the land. This was before condemnation take place. My parents refused to sell and well, the negotiating games began. First it was one million, then four million, then eight million to purchase this huge piece of land.
Then finally, my mother told the state of Nevada, "Fine you can have it for ten million with fifteen percent residuals from your casino for the next twenty-five years" the documents were signed, my parents received a huge check along with the promise of receiving fifteen percent of profits. Well, my mom didn't stop there. She then turned that ten million and turned to invest half of it into Disney, Ford, you name it, if it was a growing company, she invested. My mom knew when to sell and when to buy.
We went from a small practical home to this huge home, nannies, fancy clothes, country clubs, fancy cars. My life had taken a turn for something that was expected of myself and my brother. Success! That is what defined my mother and she expected us to follow in her shoes. She expected us to be successful in whatever we did. From our homework to our business and personal life. If we failed, then that was our own fault.
The expectations never stopped there. My mother expected me to marry money and she always tried to introduce to me friends who had a son that was destined for success. I remember this one guy Rick he drove a Mercedes at sixteen, lived in the same style home "LARGE" his family was friends with mine. They were also members of the same country club as my parents. They owned sail boats, land, money, and more money. Both set of parents would hold their breath as we dated expecting to announce our engagement at eighteen years old.
Well you can imagine my moms dismay when I told her I broke up with him because he cheated on me. I was even more shocked to learn that she told me to turn my face, not to pay attention to it. She explained to me that it was part of the lifestyle that wealthy people did. She told me to forgive, so I did and he did it again, I forgave, he did it again, I forgave...well you have the jest of this story. Finally I just told Rick to take a flying leap and lose my number. My mom and his mom was devastated that we stopped seeing each other. I think I was more disappointed in my mom's expectations of allowing him to cheat. I began to wonder if my father did that as well.
Did she turn her cheek each time he did something wrong? Did she ignore my fathers short comings? Did she stay married because it was cheaper to stay married? Only she knows.
In one breath, my life changed.