Phew! What a year! Here we are again and its another year about to end and boy has it been quite something. As always at this time of year I get reflective and the closer to my Birthday, just a little bit down. However, it passes as always but it still gets me when I least expect it.
Don’t get me wrong, it is not serious enough for me to wallow but I need my space, the thoughts in my head need clarity to leave a clean slate for the coming year.
Some months back I told you how I see the space in my head as a dusty old attic room, bathed in dappled light through a grimy window. Remember? Well nothing much has changed in that respect although the minimal contents of the space, covered by dust sheets have changed. Been moved around , dusted off and in some cases been brought back down from the loft to regain prominence in my world.
You see the bulk of baggage has been cleared away…just in time to fill the space with more? Maybe, time will tell.
Earlier in the Autumn I embarked on a new adventure to seek out a half sister who on the face of it helped me judge how well I had conducted my role as an Adoptee in this world of mixed metaphors and messages telling me exactly how and what to think about the whole process. I have always been mindful of how lucky (and even spoilt) I may have been growing up in a large extended, but close knit and very loving family. Even if certain mannerisms and emotional communication skills were alien to my own. Finding this Half sister was a three year long debate inside my heart. Will I regret opening this new Pandora’s box? Will she hate me ? Will I hate her? Will we bond instantly or dislike each other intently? Well the only way to find out was to take the risk. As I said, having sat on the address for some 3 years it wasn’t something I exactly rushed into was it?
..In fact I have wondered recently if friendships lost over the years were ones that were stagnant long before I walked away . As is my way I give many chances to those who I fall out of love with way later than my head accepts the fact. You know how it is? the ‘We go way back’ or ‘We know each other too well because of shared experiences and past private jokes!
Much of the excuses we make for these people are based on these statements when in fact they are utter bullshit. We allow ourselves to be used, treated badly and in some cases with loathing and yet we persevere out of almost a sense of duty? Guilty as charged your honour! I do not regret deciding to remove sources of personal pain to myself by people who frankly should have known better. I’ve promised myself that 2017 is the year I stop accepting that shit.
I am aware reading my own sentiments that I am guilty of taking people for granted on occasion but what I don’t do is treat anyone in a way I would not accept myself. If I do I am mortified if I am made aware of it so for me its a case of ‘Do as you would be done by’ That’s how I was raised and that’s how it should be. End of.
So I introduced myself to my half sister by mail and she replied by email immediately. This point needs to be noted, you will understand why later on… I was, as I said, excited and delighted to connect with this person . We shared DNA. Shared a history of time in the same womb. Share a Birth Mother. Time would tell if that meant anything more than biology or was it simply science. We already had a connection via various social media platforms. I admit to being at an advantage over her as I added her knowing who she was -she accepted without knowing who I was.
So three years passed with no communication between us via these portals or otherwise and she remained a stranger in cyber space.
After a few letters were exchanged, sharing life experience and historical facts we fell instep in a comfortable and amicable way. Almost Sisterly? Well not really but as far as it felt we understood one another. I never sought out to find a sister, I love my siblings and siblings are those we grow up with , not those who happen to share genetics. I wont share her life and her highs and lows as she is a fiercely private person. Yes Really? Begs the question why she was on Social Media? but hey ….it seems this was an oversight and she remains bitterly miffed that I approached her ‘secretly ‘ and a bollocking after a few months was my awakening to the fact…
So I shared her life for a few months, down to internet dating (her not me!) , gym visits, and stories of her working life etc. All was and is great to hear , in order to piece together the persona that until now has been a 2 dimensional image on a screen. After a few months we hit a bump in the road. You see what I had never done was build up a fantasy of how my life might have been had I not been adopted. I never even had a vision of my Birth Mother in my head. Oh, of course, don’t misunderstand me, of course as I moved from the wrong target to the next, I had an image in my mind then. However, it was never a life long promise of what she would or wouldn’t look like or be when I found her. Furthermore I never underestimated the sacrifice my BM made in handing me over to strangers and walking away. I knew how much that must have cut her deeply, especially since having my own child.
This is a fundamental difference between me and my half sister. I am guilty of making several stupid and misguided assumptions on her part and if it were worth working out how, I would apologise to her for this. You see I am a sorted, settled and happy grown up. She is by all accounts very much the opposite. Without going into detail she is determined to ‘start afresh’ and escape what she deems to be a crap life. I have every blessing I could ever need. I am well loved, love well and laugh lots with amazing people who fill my life with colour and light. These people make me grateful for the life my BM allowed me to have when she entrusted strangers to raise her little girl back in 1969. I know how lucky I am ..how my cup runneth over and all that! However, I am not immune to also knowing how this is not always the case for those in a similar position . Adoption is a gamble ..its either gonna go well or its not. There is very little in between. Almost as if you have to accept that it is actually black or white in its success. Nothing grey about it.
I learned that in fact my half sister clearly had such a fantasy and as she got to know me she also got to know a few home truths. Unaware the truths I had been afforded by our BM, she had not. Suffice it to say, had she made more effort to learn her own truth, ie not discarded our BM at the first sign of her rose tinted glasses needing a polish ….then she may have been more settled in her belief that she did in fact live on the right grass as it was decidedly greener after all….
So I was to go some way, unwittingly to burst the bubble of Fairy tale that floated around her like a balloon resisting floating off into the sky…Sadly one simple conversation lead to a near meltdown on her part…the very suggestion that life with our BM would actually have been more than a bit hard, possible dangerous or worse . Through no fault of hers…by her own admission we were far better off being adopted and I knew this already, having heard it loud and clear. Sadly my Half sister did not and took my honesty as damning of our BM which is a nonsense. Given she was in fact the one who paid to have her traced, met her by accident and then turned away and fled for the hills faster that Julie Andrews in the Sound of freakin’ Music!
Made me proper cross I don’t mind saying. The pure unadulterated hypocrisy of her. How dare she suggest that I , who has a relationship with the woman who gave us life and respect her for doing the right thing for both of us. I had promised not to discuss either party with each other (to myself anyway) and broke this promise at this point. So incensed was I that my Half sister had given me a mouthful suggesting I was dissing our BM and that our life could have been just as lovely as long as there was love? I get that but it is not as simple as that …I held back from telling her exactly why I know we would both have had a miserable existence , none of which would have been down to my own genetic makeup..thankfully! Wasn’t for me to enlighten her which is why I made contact with our BM then , perhaps for reassurance or maybe clarification . She had made me doubt myself for a split second, that soon passed , as soon as I spoke to our BM.
She agreed with me than it seemed maybe all in the life of my Half sister had not been quite as rosy as she had hoped for her. I left the conversation knowing that actually my assumption we shared a similar upbringing was incorrect and also quite naive. How do you apologise to someone for their upbringing not being as lovely as your own? You cant and don’t.
Then , and again, I was verbally battered into accepting her issue over the fact OUR BM had given me her address without her express permission. She had said she was going to write and tell her how annoyed she was about this, until I diffused this idea by explaining she had in fact already shown her displeasure in all that the woman was by her Dear John letter some years back. She backed down then. Well she would herself have learned my address too had she not dropped her like a hot brick at the first stage of reunion. Just saying!
I constantly reassure our BM that the issues are not with her, but with the daughter who she guaranteed a far better life. Sad but true, and we pull no punches in our discussions surrounding how we owe her nothing but gratitude for her sacrifice. Therefore I seriously resented being ‘pulled for slating our BM’ as this is simply untrue. This gentle woman, is living with hidden secrets from many of her own kin, is forced to accept that we are out there living a life she has all but missed due to her own choices.
So we hit this skid and the messages and easy banter became more infrequent and more forced. After a short while I asked her what was up and her response showed an immaturity that surprised me. She sounded resigned in the realisation we were early days in our relationship and felt dismayed that we already disagreed with each other . ‘It happens’ I explained and was totally normal. Wasn’t it? Seemed unacceptable to her . Really? Seemed we were not allowed to agree to disagree. OK then, so be it. I have neither the energy nor the inclination to argue with her. We are strangers and I accept that as we grew up on opposite ends of the country we see things differently. However I am not prepared to take a verbal battering for knowing facts she didn’t want to hear or for expressing honestly as I always have and will do. What is she hiding? How the hell do I know? In fact I don’t want to know . I don’t have the right to know either even if I wanted to. We are not siblings, we share genes, not history. End of. My full brother is not a sibling. We shared the same DNA. End of. Genetics does not make any of us siblings. End Of!!
Right so we move forward- stop start-stop start to the point her blowing hot and cold with me gets on my wick big time. I back off and eventually we communicate on the phone to clear the air. All is OK but different from the comfortable chit chat of before.
Having hurriedly made a plan to meet, out of a sense of urgency only due to her travel plans for early next year. We had purchased rail tickets and put the date in our diary. I was feeling increasingly unsure about meeting someone clearly so changeable. Could ruin my Christmas…already had last years marred by the behaviour of someone I loved dearly so I was damned if it was going to be a repeat this year.
We had discussed Christmas and talked about gifts , more jokingly than real but nevertheless it was an open forum for token gift ideas…..eventually I asked if courier or post was easier given her shift patterns. Well….I was told in no uncertain terms that neither would suit and not to send anything Thanks very much! WTF have I done now? Someone recently pointed out to me that the fact I asked was a kindness in itself as I was thinking of making life easier for HER in order to receive it and not trek to a main post office to collect. So much for that huh!?!:-/
So I respond with ‘ Pardon me?? Whats up ? That’s just rude? I get an A4 diatribe about how it was putting pressure on her having to respond and blah blah …her thoughts being that actually I wanted more from her than I actually did..Jeez I wanted to send her a coaster and a key ring??? Not a freakin’ Blood Diamond!?
Have to add, I did send it anyway, no one else I could give it to, or even want to, so I send it. How very dare I, right? Well, have not received so much as text to confirm it arrived safely. Again, just rude!:-/
Obviously I took a while to realise this was her tactic to run for those proverbial hills as she was getting involved ! Exactly as she did with our BM! Well, for me the hills extend their welcome to her as I cant deal with the histrionics of a grown woman. So I suggested she needn’t worry as it was just a token, no pressure to reciprocate etc. Then it happened. The Grudge talk. Apparently my adding her on social media was (again) out of line and didn’t sit well with her (after 5 months of discussion) Oh and I could have been a serial killer stalker (but I’m not) BUT I could have been..(Yeh, but I’m not) ..yes but what if I were? ..BUT I’M FUCKING NOT!!!! And so it went on….and on….and on…
In the end I apologised AGAIN (for what, I still don’t quite know) If I had unsettled her, but by now we all know I am NOT a serial killer stalker or any sort of threat to her life in any way.
Not good enough to apologise. I just didn’t get it and it annoyed her….the fact was, unless I felt her ‘pain’ I was un-forgiven for this heinous misdemeanour and coupled with me bursting her bubble of fantasy about how life could have been, it lay between us like a dark mist.
Apparently she cannot communicate using instant message or email and only likes to write using notepad and pen..fine so why reply to my initial hand written letter by email? That’s just messed up…Nothing made sense. Bottom line is She struggles to communicate. I don’t. Well she certainly struggles if anyone is open and honest with her anyway. Sadly I cannot help her with that can I?
I knew enough about her upbringing to know it had issues I simply didn’t share and maybe, just maybe, my seemingly sorted life pretty much pissed her off? Either way I don’t think life has been totally plain sailing for either of us. Both raised by white families but characteristics we don’t share have perhaps determined how we have turned out.
I agreed we both needed to take a step back and a breather and maybe in the New Year could think about how to progress. Or not? So after my anger subsided that night I sent a message to say I was sorry things had turned out this way and wished her well for her future plans and to have a lovely Christmas etc….I also said I did not regret connecting with her . (To my mind I dont regret it but I think I have learned enough and am happy to step back into the shadows on this one for now)
Next morning her reply was full of contrition (NOT apology for her behaviour you understand) She asked if I might write to update her on my life plans etc (?) and how happy she was I was settled etc…all very nice and dare I say it normal? Fact is I had witnessed two distinct personalities in one person in just 24 hours? Hmmmm…*steps backwards….I should be running up the Hills myself but knowing my luck my ‘Hills’ will have Eyes! Ha!
So I am again seeking closure and said Lets see how we feel in New Year but for me I think I already know…I’m done with two faced folk in my life and having painfully closed the door on someone recently, who prefers to reconvene friendship with someone who until recently was the butt of her own jibes and drop me for being..? well for being me…so I was and I am damned, if I was going to let a near stranger treat me in the same way. I will undoubtedly keep in touch from a distance and happily communicate from time to time but that time will be precious spare next year so I am afraid a zero tolerance of Bullshit resumed and I am happy in the knowledge I still only possess the one face!:-)
Guess the point is for me 2017 will be a year of discovery…yes MORE I hear you say…but reality is I will need all my resolve, strength and humour to see me through the next Chapter of my Journey or life….so I cannot drag wounded casualties off their own battlefields and onto mine.
I am blessed with amazing family and friends and a general relationship housekeeping in 2016 leaves me content that life is going to be as fabulous as always going forward….next Chapter in 2017 will have no room for the fainthearted so buckle up people, its gonna get pretty bumpy!!
Love is like any other selfless gift ….Love …we can give it, we can receive it, we can make it. Don’t take it for granted. Accept it with grace. Love is a priceless gift ….Black Sheep
Lots of Love and Happy Christmas to you all....here’s to an exciting and entertaining New Year
Much love Black Sheep