The Day Of

I’ve been getting let down quite a bit recently, so going into the birth mom experience, I just tried to keep all expectations at a minimum. I don’t do well with disappointment, so whenever I can avoid that specific experience, I do whatever necessary even if that means blocking out emotions. When people ask if my trip was everything I dreamed it was going to be, I don’t really have an answer. I tried to ignore any dream for so long that it’s impossible to say if the reunion met expectations.

The day of, my nerves were very evident. If there’s one thing I can say for certain involving the first meeting with my biological mother, nerves and adrenaline were involved. I spent several hours the morning of June 28th sitting at a table in front of a coffee shop in downtown Bellingham, Washington attempting to write down everything that was going through my head at the time. I knew that with the stress my mind was under, I would be unable to recall my thoughts after that first contact. This is a small excerpt from those hours:

“It’s today. In fact, it’s in a few hours. It is so soon. So unbelievable. So many questions will be answered and I don’t really know how to approach it at this point. It’s like my brain is frozen on the emotional front, and I want to figure out my feelings so badly without any idea on how to unfreeze everything.

Everyone I come across is asking if I’m excited. If I’m nervous. I should probably have an answer, but I don’t. I don’t know if I’m excited and/or nervous at this point. I guess I’m getting both of those emotions flooding in now thinking about it, which is why I haven’t really been making it a point to think about it.”

At this point, I had a minor emotional breakdown. There’s something to be said for journaling. If nothing else, it allows you to really access feeling and emotions that you are subconsciously suppressing, and it breaks down those walls you’ve put up. I’m lucky enough to have a friend who has been giving me any and all emotional support possible, so I called her as soon as the floodwaters started in my eyes. Honestly, I don’t know if I would have made it through last weekend without her. After asking her to just distract me, I got a handle on my nerves again and was able to continue writing a bit more.

Eventually, even writing was an emotional drain, so I packed up all of my stuff (three to four journals and countless pens, mostly) and walked back to my weekend home. At this point, all I wanted was a complete distraction from the day- a way to escape my mind. I tried to nap, that didn’t work, so I turned to the best option around: netflix.

I don’t remember the fifteen minute walk from my place to the restaurant much. In fact, I just remember small flashes of that walk. What I do remember is almost walking away from the restaurant as soon as I got to the door. My typical response is to run whenever things get uncomfortable, and there was nothing I wanted more than to bolt and forget the whole thing. However, I fought the urge and went inside.

That initial face to face look is something that I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to properly put into words. It was one of those moments that would have been put into slow motion with dramatic music on in the background if it had been in a movie. And then I blurted out “I’m really not sure what I’m supposed to do here” which I suppose broke the ice, but it was just because I felt awkward and wasn’t sure if I was supposed to be comfortable enough for a hug, or just go in for a wave or handshake. I had never thought about what to do after walking in, so I just ended up being my usual awkward self and luckily it worked out.

The dinner went really well. I didn’t really know what to talk about or how to act or even what to do with my hands. I remember running to the bathroom at one point because I needed a breath of fresh air. I think I was pretty successful at keeping the look of overwhelmed panic off of my face, but my whole insides were all twisted up. It wasn’t that I was regretful of making the decision to meet her, but it’s just such a bizarre situation to be in that I was numb and a tangle of electric uncertainty all at once. Thankfully, we only spent a couple hours together mostly listening to my birth mom’s son talk about their trip driving from Idaho to Washington (yes, I technically have a half-brother which is incredible) and then we went our separate ways for the rest of the night.

I walked home in a fog. There are a few hours where I’m not completely sure what I was saying or where I was wandering around, but I ended up at home completely intact, so I didn’t get into too much trouble. I stayed up for a bit just sitting and thinking. I wish I had thought to break out my journal for that night, but I was in mental-processing mode and didn’t think to do much of anything.

I spent the whole next day with my birth mom and her son which was very rewarding and was much more comfortable than the previous night. I’ll hopefully get all of that written down in the next adoption post, but there’s still so much to think through. Overall, I’m so thankful I was able to have this experience. I’m proud of myself (which is something I never say) that I was strong and stubborn enough to do this trip on my own without any full-blown panic attacks. It was a giant leap in the right direction, and it’s something I’ll always be able to look back on with a new sense of calm in my heart.

Whatcom Falls National Park in Bellingham, Washington - June 2015
Whatcom Falls National Park in Bellingham, Washington – June 2015

listening to: Helen Stellar

High School Mentality

“You’re going to have to get out of that high school mentality at some point”

Someone said this to me recently during a conversation about my present situation. I wasn’t quite sure how to take that comment. Part of me agrees. Part of me knows that I have far more to offer than what I’ve putting into life at the moment. I know that I have all of these skills and talents that could be turned into something to be proud of if I just worked harder. I think of the could-have-beens, the different paths I had planned for my life when I was younger. I see the people I graduated with who are successful in the traditional view of the word.

Then there’s the other part of me. The part that’s incredibly proud of how far I’ve come in the past couple of years and who I’m becoming. Two years ago, I would have never seen myself on the other side. I’ve written about this before on a previous blog, but it’s been a long time. Up until about eighteen months ago, I was suffering from severe depression. Severe in the sense that I couldn’t manage a job or even a couple classes in school because I could barely make it off of the couch on the bad days. I gained a little over eighty pounds, had crying episodes that turned into panic attacks, and felt that my life was generally just over.

I had a moment of clarity in April of 2013 when I finally started seeing a psychologist. There had been several moments in my life, both as a child and as an adult, that I was able to begin working through, and for the first time in years, it was almost as if a fog was beginning to lift from my life. I removed myself from a very emotionally and mentally damaging relationship, but I lost many material things in the process, including a house and more money than I could comprehend at the time. However, the most important thing to me was (and still is) that I was healing. I was becoming a person who could enjoy life again. My time spent in Germany was another way to heal. Since I had pretty much lost everything in the past year, it was a good way to remove myself from everything, get my priorities straight, and in a way hit the reset button on my life. I was able to get some more of my mental clarity back while learning new things and having adventures that will be with me forever.

While I know that from the outside, the life that I’m currently living doesn’t look like the most responsible or put together, it is a vast improvement from the one I was living when nobody knew the internal struggle I was fighting every day. There will come a time when I will have to move on and do something more productive with my life or find a different job to support the writer’s lifestyle that I dream of living daily, but I’m not planning on pressuring myself too much. There are far more important things in life to me than the “American dream” of marriage, a high-paying job with benefits, a house in the suburbs, and 2.5 kids. At this stage in my life, I’m just proud that I have some sort of drive and desire to do anything at all. I believe that depression is something that sticks with a person, even if it just skulks in the shadows. Right now, the fact that I’ve held some sort of job for the past year and have been able to continuously build strong friendships is an overwhelming win for me. There are people to meet, experiences to be had, and places all over the world to see. If that means I’m irresponsible and living a high school life, then that’s some other person’s opinion.

Winged Victory of Samothrace- The Louvre, Paris, France (July 2014)
Winged Victory of Samothrace- The Louvre, Paris, France (July 2014)

Bucket Listing (A Rambleblog)

I’ve wanted to sit down and write all day, but I feel like my mind has just been all over the place. Most likely, it has something to do with the fact that the family I work for left on holiday earlier today, I’m moving back to the states next Wednesday, and will be in NYC the day after that. There will be some long Texas road trips following all of those travels, and I think there are just so many plans going on that my brain has gone into overdrive. In an effort to get all of my thoughts back into some sort of working order, I’m just going to type and see what happens, so this could be one of those rambling posts that might go on for a while or just end within the next 100 words or so.

I’ve been thinking about bucket lists a lot lately. I wrote a list up when I was 15 or 16, and while it included some things like “get my ears pierced a second time” and “be kissed”, it also had bigger things on it such as “move back to Alaska” and “visit other countries”. This list was in a journal that I called The Book, and I still have it in a keepsake box with some other sentimentally important items. As I did things on the list, I checked them off and wrote the date next to the item. Recently, I’ve been wanting to write up a new list, a more comprehensive list, that lists some very specific items that better encompasses the person I’ve become and the person I’m still becoming.

I’ve always enjoyed writing, but it wasn’t until the past couple of years that I really started to enjoy it and find my voice. I’ve already talked about the biggest project I hope to tackle in my life, but I’d also like to write some long piece of fiction and, if possible, a song as well. I want to learn another instrument, which I’ll hopefully get to start working on while in Texas. I want to live in another country for at least a full year, becoming completely immersed in the culture, and leave everything behind for long-term world traveling at least once.

Part of me wants to do these things because I want to prove to myself (and if I’m completely honest, other people as well) that I can come back from that darkness I was submerged in as a new, more interesting, and independent person. In my mind, I know I’ve already surpassed any expectations by leaps and bounds, but I don’t want to become comfortable where I am. I want to be constantly pushing the boundaries to see what all I can truly handle. At the end of my life, I want to have stories upon stories involving adventure, love, and victory.

I’ve been on another quote kick on pinterest, so I think this is where all of my “where do I want my life to go” rambling is coming from. I could write posts for weeks based on single quotes I read, but one that has been sticking out to me is “your life unfolds in proportion to your courage,” and I think it’s beautiful because the message is so simple. If you want exciting things to happen in your life, you have to be brave enough to welcome change and the uncomfortable moments. If you are constantly comfortable, you’re going to stay where you are and never grow into the person you could be. Be courages. Grow

Frankfurt, Germany- September 2014
Frankfurt, Germany- September 2014

listening to: alt-J