I wanna be useful, she said.
We don’t need anybody was the standardized pat answer, over the loudspeaker, in arrears and off-the-books.
The old folks warned in their crotchety tones, people won’t realize they’ve been wasting water til sand runs out the faucet. At the time, she shut off the water and dried the dishes before putting them away. No one did that in those days. Visitors took condescending note of her lack of a dishwasher, presumably indicating a diminished existence. The only variable was intent. The decision to vituperate or to pity defined each visit, and after a time, it was predictably boring, like most matters involving human interaction.
Waiting for decency could kill you and certainly, caring about the destructive rate of consumption was never in fashion. After all, being able to acquire, consume, and expel whatever you wanted was the goal of every red-blooded American. At least for the years she’d inhabited the earth. She’d been raised to be diligent and not to complain. You’re not starving, kids in Africa are starving!
Unlike every other member of her “demographic,” she felt no entitlement, expected no assurances, harbored no assumptions for a compendium of familial pedigrees. By birthright, she was a bastard. Her ‘grandfather’ with the genius IQ made sure she knew that.
So when Candy, in her ranch house with matching cable tv trays, sniped back at her working class father, Well, send my dinner to Africa then! an invasive species became borne into air. The natural defiance syndrome of middle class daughters with too much hair and no self-discipline was forever cleaved to the Pine Barrens like oriental bittersweet taking root, without a care in the world.
She’d heard tell of such confident obstinance as far south as the Chesapeake Bay but could never, would never, partake in such an oppositional defiance disorder herself. Chided as overly “obedient” by fifth grade, inside her quiet mind raged stormy seas where her un-asked-for bastard birthright became his rationale for years of ongoing abuse and humiliation. The chronic shaming of her physical being meant there would never be that locus of control acquired by any aspect of intuition. The self-actualization inherent in mobs of others was rendered inoperable. The years of abuse refuted any attempts to form “normal” boundary lines of ownership and self-protection.
She’d been indelibly, irrefutably and exponentially harmed. There was no way out of it. Not under or through it. Her pain had been repeatedly dismissed, caught on the barbs of “just get over it.”
The more she mentioned it (which was barely ever to almost never), the more insurmountable the hope of healing into whole became. Through dissociative cognition, she’d, in effect, forgotten hours, weeks, years of encounters, an erasure of her fractured being so deep only muscle memory surfaced as a reminder from time to time just to, it seemed, confuse her. The acorn on her clitorus, the lock of her jaw, the breasts that refused to grow all stood there waiting to be acknowledged, but the truth was more than she could ever bear. It was, apparently, the brain’s natural mode of survival to separate body from soul, to cleave pleasure from touch, detach emotional from mental, to become object with a hole. The only way of coping was to abide by the rules, never mentioning, not allowing your truth to be told, heeding the warning that if you did, those you most cherished in the whole wide world would never believe you, and in fact, would ship you back like damaged goods to the orphanage that brought you to such an abode.
She kept the secret locked up in the deepest recesses of her consciousness until one night, sublimated suppression imploded, then followed her into the next day, watching as her carefully carved routine of repression exploded.
This was not a beginning, and not the end. The cathartic quality professed by many others was determined unattainable for her. Perhaps it was a lethal combination of unguided forces that chained her to this unreconcilable damage. Somehow being “adopted” amplified the belief that a genetic propensity she would never discover but be expected harbor had lead to her demise.
It was her fault, she couldn’t escape that. Such admission was only exacerbated by the bearing of false witness by a revolving door of the recurring Judas.
#adoptee “bastard child”
“real” parents #birthparent
What is my name? Who am I? Why did my mother not want me? Does she ever think of me? Who was my father? Do I take after him? Did he die in Vietnam? Does he even think about me, ever?
Do I have half-brothers and sisters? What are they like? Are they all ashamed of my existence? (If they even know.)
Are there any things that are just me? That are innate, that I carry, that cannot be undone?
Why is it so hard for me to just get it over with and die? Reminders abound of how I’ve got nothing to live for and yet I am incapable of the courage it takes to leave without saying goodbye. No children which breaks my heart, my beloved and cherished all gone save for a few old friends, but really the pain of living far outweighs any hope for fleeting happiness, improbable joy, the simplest of comforts that so many around me take for granted. I haven’t slept in a bed for almost a year. Everything I have worked for has been taken from me. The state of California has destroyed me. I have no hope. All my efforts seem so futile add no matter what practice I adhere to, what belief put into action, any principle I uphold (while others around me share no such values and add such always get ahead or get one over on me, while I completely share and give too freely believing that is the only way to be human) any mantra I repeat (“that’s a seed you should nurture in your mind” just withers and dies) end the same way – making it hard too believe anything other than I am truly cursed, with no end in sight, no amount of effort can reverse.
It makes you wonder. Mostly now though it just makes me weary. Knowing I can’t even get a job because I’m obsolete a decade earlier than I should be.
I always thought I’d write a deep and thoughtful explanation for the pain that took my life but even that eludes me now. I suppose this shall suffice should I be lucky enough to leave this life by successful suicide.
But that’s unlikely. I lack the fortitude to even do that. So don’t worry or call the 72-hour lock up cops. I just needed to tell the truth for once without fear of reprisal or fake concern of others who couldn’t give a shit about me in reality. Those who just want to use me – my career degraded into that realization a while back as I am flooded with requests for my advice – as long as it’s free. Because I live on air.
But it’s all my fault so disregard. I’m incapable of life. I wasn’t meant to be here.