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

Fight or Flight

When faced with confrontation, people tend to fall into one of two categories. They either run from it or they stay and fight.

I’m a runner.

I run from fights. I run from people. I run from lies. I run from any uncomfortable situation imaginable when given the chance.

I’m not here to say that either way is right or wrong. I think both reactions can be better for certain situations, but it’s a very rare instance that I’ll stay and fight when I have the chance to escape.

I’ve written lately about some of the struggles I’ve been facing, but I think a big part of my tiredness is just a sense of restlessness. A feeling of containment and loss of adventure. I don’t want to say it’s still a culture shock type of thing, because I’ve been back in the states for four and a half months, but I think it’s more of a “I’m back in this massive country and the sense of newness and exploration has disappeared.” I know that’s probably not a very healthy way of looking at life, but more than just wanting to see new places, it’s become a craving. It’s becoming this way to quench a thirst in my soul.

Maybe it’s just a coincidence, maybe it’s perfect timing, or maybe it’s just because I have some friends who can relate to this feeling more than most, but I recently got offered a chance to go on a week-long trip. This family that I grew up with in Alaska offered to take me with them on a cruise that will make stops in three different countries next week.

Of course I accepted the offer. How could I not accept an offer like that? It’s one of the most selfless gifts I can remember being given in recent history. It gives me a chance to breathe, to relax, to emotionally and mentally recover from whatever I’ve been pushing myself through lately. Most importantly, it’ll give me quite a lot of down time without outside distractions to write and meditate and get back into my right mind.

Back to the fight vs flight conundrum. I feel like this cruise might be a bit of a way for me to escape and avoid some of the conflicts that have been building up or have already happened. If I’m being completely honest, I’m looking forward to the running away. I’m eager to escape from my reality for eight short days. I want a chance to block out all responsibility and accountability that seems to be consistently beating down my door. I want to get back to being fully me without any of the nonsense I’ve been bringing on myself lately.

Obviously, I know that running away for a week doesn’t fix the major problems. I know that running forever doesn’t fix anything in the long run. This is why I’ve stopped permanently escaping for the most part. I do face things and deal with problems now when absolutely necessary.

However, I wait. I breathe. I think. I recover. And then I deal.

Lago di Lugano- Paridiso, Lugano, Switzerland
Lago di Lugano- Paridiso, Lugano, Switzerland

listening to: Mat Kearney, Hushpuppies

A Bucket List

I’ve only written one bucket list previous to this one, but it was a simple thing written when I was 14 or 15, full of items like “kiss a boy” and “try alcohol for the first time”. There were a few serious wants listed as well, but I’ve long since lost the list. The following is a list of dreams, desires..things I truly hope to accomplish before my life ends.

  1. Visit at least one new country a year for the rest of my life. Visit it to experience the culture, the life of the people, and how different everything is from my own worldview. I want to be completely immersed in the way other people live.
  2. Get tattoos. Have at least the three that I want right now within the next ten years: the star to match the necklace my grandmother gave me when I turned twelve, “abenteuer” for my time in Germany, and a watercolor feather I’ve painted with the Hebrew word for freedom incorporated within.
  3. Meet my biological family, most specifically my mother, half-brother, and father. I know it won’t make me feel totally complete, but I know it’ll at least answer life-long questions and fill up a partial part of the hole left from all of the “who am I without that knowledge of my past” thoughts.
  4. Finish my book on adoption. I want to have my story out there. Writing is my best form of communication, so I find it extremely important to share this in hopes of reopening some sort of interaction with my biological mom. I also want to help people avoid some of the speed bumps I encountered with my own parents.
  5. Be officially published. It doesn’t have to be a massive project, but something with my name on it. Perhaps it’ll be an article in a newspaper or a magazine, or maybe it’ll be a novel. I just have this idea that one can’t really call themselves an author or writer until there is something published officially in their name. I know that’s a silly way to think, but it’s this thought that’s always been there.
  6. Have the full experience of being in a recording studio and have some sort of professional recording of my singing. The song doesn’t have to be shared with a single soul, but I want to have it for my own.
  7. Take a professional level cooking class involving making something completely from scratch, particularly pasta.
  8. Learn how to throw pottery on a wheel. I want to be able to have a set of dishes that I use regularly that I can look at and be proud of because I’ve made it with my own hands.
  9. Experience truly passionate love. Maybe not love in the proper sense, but have one of those relationships that is all-consuming passion. One of those passions that inspires through wonder and pain. A passion that the truly great poems and songs are all about.
  10. Find that one great love. Probably not the same as the passionate love, but a great love that withstands time, hardships, and all the emotional wreckage I tend to throw in the way.
  11. Learn to develop my own film. Similarly, learn to shoot photos on a classic old film camera. There’s just something captured in the film that never quite translates to digital.
  12. Get henna in India, drink vodka in Russia, make pasta in Italy, wander the moors in Scotland, research my biological last name in Ireland, go through the streets in Morocco, and drink tea in Turkey. Travel, travel, travel
  13. Set foot on every continent – even Antarctica
  14. Become fluent in German. I didn’t fully realize how much Germany would actually effect me until it was time to leave. There isn’t a day that goes by where I don’t wish I could be back there right now.
  15. Write a novel. Write a fictional love story based on 2012-2014. There were so many life changes that need to be turned into a story.
  16. Own my own house. Something small and simple, but a place that is solely mine.
  17. Live nomadically for at least three years. Live without “stuff” and with every freedom possible. Live without certainty of what the next day will bring.
  18. Learn to fly planes. One of my favorite things about my dad is that he used to fly, and I’d love to follow in his footsteps on that account
  19. Learn to truly appreciate myself and accept all of my flaws. All of these self-conscious thoughts and actions need to stop or at least take a very extended vacation. I can’t really handle being with anyone else or part of any relationship until I get a grip on myself.
  20. Apply for the Jack Kerouac writer’s fellowship. I know that there are far more deserving and talented writers out there, but even applying would be a massive step in the right direction for me.
  21. Have a moment of clarity- a moment when I’m completely aware that something I’ve accomplished has actually been able to make a difference to someone else’s life. That’s the goal behind much of what I do, especially my writing, but I want to experience the realization I’ve done it.
Austin, Texas - February 2015
Austin, Texas – February 2015

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