My feelings of abandonment are subtle. I see it in relationships. I can’t say I feel overwhelmingly abandoned, it is subtle. Like a ghost from the past. I am glad to be adopted, grateful. It is the only way I can imagine my life. It feels safe. And yet I am caught in between worlds where I sometimes feel both inside and outside of two families and, occasionally, the population at large.
I can’t imagine my life any other way. I have strong peace and intuition that the path of my life is intentional and has brought me, moment by moment, where I am meant to be in this life. But it has not been without scars. Most of the scars I did not understand until I reached my mid-thirties, I only saw the effects of them. For adoption is celebrated, and rightfully so, but it is celebrated most often with exclusion of a grieving process I believe is healthy to foster.
Most of my life I had questions. I had questions it was difficult to find answers for. I had no “hall of mirrors” to look into, as an online article I read this morning described. It is the best online article I have read on the topic of adoption: http://library.adoption.com/articles/adoption-trauma-that-last-a-life-time.html. Let there be no question, I am happy to be adopted. That is not the issue. The issue is integrating a life that is complex, one that begins with one family and transfers to another.
If I had my choice to change the adoption, I would not change it. I feel my adoption was providential.
I recently received an invitation to Bayou City Art Festival. I gathered everything together and planned my travels. I brought every piece of art I could find. I painted more. I rested because, I knew that with the size of this art festival, it had the potential to be more overwhelming than any other I had attended.
It is a good thing I rested. So much happened during this weekend, where would I begin? I remember feeling tired and alone as I was loading in by myself, something I see most people don’t do. I stayed with my friend, Adriana Whitney, and her family that night. I remember, the next morning, being inside of my tent and, as I lowered the front wall, my mentor and inadvertent art teacher from Santa Fe was standing inches across from me on the other side. It was with great depth those next moments unfolded. I could not have imagined, seven years ago, I would become a painter and be at this Bayou City Art Festival with my friend.
That was the high of the event. The low was realizing that I was in the jewel of art festivals in this part of the country, yet the “Rising Talent” division under which I had applied had been placed outside of most foot traffic. The primary path of the festival was configured in a figure eight. From in front of my tent, I could see visitors four layers deep on the primary path. By 4:00 on Saturday, I felt alone and helpless.
I began to feel a deep sense of loneliness. Those closest to me in my life were not there. I was discouraged. By 5:30, I visited the VIP tent and asked for a beer. They were out of beer but had Malbec. I took two and I smiled and said, “If I could carry three, I would.” And then, I walked slowly down the path, a glass of wine in each hand. I was feeling very anonymous and alone, which is not entirely uncommon for me and I was feeling kind of at peace with it until a metal sculptor caught sight of me and smiled.
The artists I met understand this lifestyle. It can be an emotional roller coaster, I have been told. Sunday brought an art auction across the path from “Rising Talent” and foot traffic to the center of the figure eight was increased, even with a fraction of the foot traffic of the outside path.
For all the friends I have, sometimes I feel very alone .. like an outsider. I think some of that comes from having lived many places. I think, also, it comes from having been adopted. Adoption is more complex than even I understand. Sometimes I feel like I don’t belong in this world. At birth, I was a disruption. I know this. I have been told this directly. I was bad news, to some, and those people around me wished I would just go away. It becomes more complex knowing my birthmother wanted to keep me, but she was 16. I stayed in an orphanage for two weeks before I found a home. And then my new family welcomed me. They would not always understand me, but they love me.
And I was thinking, this morning, how art has been particularly healing in my life. Art is of the soul. And the people who have been drawn to my art have validated my presence in this world. Creating art and sharing my art has strengthened my confidence. Thank you to those of you who have met me at art festivals and have been so kind. You make a difference in my life.