I turn 40 on Sunday. That’s hard to believe.
It’s something I’ve struggled to understand. I don’t feel 40. I don’t look 40. I certainly don’t act 40. But, then again, how is one really supposed to feel, look or act at 40, or any age for that matter?
To be honest, I feel like I’ve been trying to fill in blanks about my story for my entire life.
What I Do Know
I was a preemie. How early? I really don’t know, to be honest. I’ve heard weeks and even months. How small? My adopted mom always told me I was about a pound, and the doctors said I wouldn’t last the next 24 hours. She had a way for embellishing, I think:
When did I come home? I don’t know. Who did I call “mom” and “dad” first? I don’t know. When did I take my first steps? I don’t know.
There are things from my past, my own story, I feel like I should know. But I don’t. They’re a mystery to me. I just want the truth of my story. To know how I fit in. I just don’t know if I’ll ever have the answers I seek.
A Long Time to Reflect
I’ve had a long time to reflect on the last 40 years. Try and put the puzzle pieces together. It’s just sometimes I think they were never meant to fit. I’m just this missing piece, fallen to the floor, unwanted, discarded.
I want to know why my birth father wanted nothing to do with me. I want to know how he could start a family of his own. I want to know if he ever thinks of me and what I’ve become.
I occasionally Google him from time-to-time. See that he still lives in the hometown I grew up in. I know my half-sister went to the same elementary school I did. There was the street I was never allowed to ride my bike down. I didn’t ask why. I knew in my heart. My parents were trying to protect me from something, or someone.
Any my parents did protect me. From a lot of what life has to offer. For a long time. It took me a really long time to realize that. To open my own eyes and see the shroud and the fog that I had been raised in.
Don’t get me wrong. I loved my parents and I am so grateful for every opportunity that I was allowed.
But, they were emotionally unavailable. I see that now. They checked out well before I came into the picture. Fixated on their own world, their own problems.
I toe this line of wanting everyone’s affection and approval because of it. I don’t know how to ask for help or even how to put a name to some of the emotions I am feeling.
I was gas-lighted. For years. I was deemed “emotional” or “pouting” or “being just like your mom” when I exhibited any ounce of actual feeling. That last one always stung the most.
I Just Want a Normal Relationship
That’s easier said than done, right?
I’ve wanted nothing more my entire life than to have a normal relationship with my family, especially my mom. My birth mom.
I don’t know if that will ever happen. I have these expectations of what should or shouldn’t be. But things just are.
Life and experiences have made us strangers. We’ve tried at various times to make amends. Right now, we haven’t spoken in two years.
I just want someone who can ask me: How’s your day, honey? How are you feeling? Someone to hug me and just tell me it’ll be OK, sometimes.
Instead, I cling to the family I have chosen. Brett. My friends.
I hate that I have become estranged from own family. But it hurts too much to break open these wounds every time I see or talk to them. It has worn me down after all these years. The asks. The wants. The what-can-you-give-me. Not, the what-can-I-do-for-yous.
I know “normal” relationships don’t exist. It’s a vision in my head. But, is it too much to ask for something?
I Don’t Know What the Future Holds
I don’t know how to ask for things. I don’t know what I want for the future.
I don’t see 40 as a celebration. Especially in these COVID times. But I refuse to let the pain and hurt drive how I live. I refuse to let someone else put the puzzle pieces into place. I’m filling in the blank spaces now.
I am committed to becoming a healthier me, both physically and mentally. I am passionate about school and earning this MPH degree to make changes in this world. Mostly, because I feel so helpless in the small world I was given sometimes.
I am grateful to have a loving husband, a crazy-cuddly puppers, and dear friends who are there for me, and especially those new friends who have seen and helped me emerge from under some truly dark times.
And to my sweet, Emmett. Five years ago I learned you were with us, only to have you taken far too soon. I love you, baby.