Adoption Survivor

dealing with it

Archive for November 2008

Resistance

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link to Resistance post from my other project, holtsurvivor

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Written by girl4708

November 30, 2008 at 10:03 pm

Posted in Infinite Longing

letter to my first love

with 2 comments

Dear Pat,

This is Suki.

I always felt so sad about how things turned out and I wanted to explain to you.

You didn’t know and nobody knew that my father had molested me my whole childhood.  That is why I was confused and active too early.

When I met you, that was the only thing I thought any males were interested in me for.  I never had anyone just like me for me before you came along.  I didn’t know anything about relationships.  I didn’t even have any friends because you can’t really confide in anyone when you are a victim of incest, so you isolate yourself.  I had to keep quiet so my mom’s world did not fall apart.

I was so impressed that you respected me and wanted to wait.  I was so impressed that you loved children and your family.  I didn’t even know families could be like that – so real and genuine.  I was afraid of losing you and I guess I did everything wrong because for some reason you felt pressured by me to put your values aside.  I really truly didn’t want to rush you. I just didn’t know how to go slow.  I really truly didn’t want or need that.  I just needed love and was relieved to not be pressured to have sex.  I just wanted to hold hands and dream about a future.

That was why it was so sad that you did not believe me.  It truly didn’t matter to me.  You were so worthy.  Much more worthy than all the other guys who just wanted to get into my pants.  I wanted to tell you about my life, but I couldn’t even talk to myself about it at that point.  But knowing I knew about things outside of your convictions just became too huge a dilemma for you.  After we broke up, I just went kind of numb because I felt like I would never have anyone just love me for me.  I pretended it didn’t matter, and I went back to all I knew.

Despite all the time that had passed, when you returned to knock on my door I was so happy to see you, and then I realized you only wanted to prove something to yourself.  I think I understand how hard it was to be a young man with a value system in a crazy world where nobody felt it was important, and how you felt you just couldn’t win.  And I think you realized afterward what I had always known – that knowledge is over-rated – that sweetness and innocence are the most precious things we can have.  That night haunts me to this day.  I should have said no and sent you away.  I should have said, stay beautiful, stay sweet.  But I was a trained robot on autopilot.  I just did what was expected of me and cried by myself afterward, like I’d done my whole life.  I didn’t cry for me, even though I knew you wouldn’t be coming back.  Who was I kidding, having virginal dreams of white weddings and your loving arms around me and our beautiful asian/latino children playing around us.  I cried for you.  I cried for you because I saw the hardened look in your eyes and knew you would be forever different.

Anyway, Pat, I just wanted you to know that it was never you.  My father ruined me.  I guess he contributed to the ruin of you as well.  You were so pure and beautiful, and I wanted you to know that somebody walks the earth knowing you are the very best kind of good person out there.  The irony is, I now search and long for all those things you felt made you inadequate.  I hope you have made a good life for yourself, and I bet you have a wife and children, and I know they are very lucky people.

Recently, I have been abandoned by people I thought loved me and my parents died.  Since their death, I have been freed to explore the impact being adopted and abused has had on my life, and I have looked fondly back on a few shining moments like I had with you.  And I wanted to have some closure with you so you not think ill of me or you.

I’m moving to Korea to learn about my birth culture, and to search for my flesh and blood.  As I leave this life in America, I just wanted to connect to those that made a difference and say thank you for seeing me and taking a chance on me.  I hope I did not damage you too much.  I hope you can forgive me.  I was just a kid.  An adopted abused kid.

Fondest regards,

Suki

Written by girl4708

November 25, 2008 at 3:16 pm

Ancestor Worship

with one comment

Once upon a time I was a community leader in Cuban culture appreciation in these parts.
I was totally caught up in the polyrythmic complexities of it and danced any time I could and traveled to wherever and whenever I could to catch the best bands. I was intrigued by the folkloric dance forms and music and became a scholar of contemporary Latin music and Afro-Cuban music history. That investigation took me to explore West African roots and that took me to African religions – those are the roots of salsa.

I actually found Santeria pretty compelling and attempted to practice for awhile. At the time, I was looking for a religion that kept out of politics – Santeria was based in the natural world, ancient, and full of the comfort of ritual song and dance.  I had a mentor who was a priestess guiding me, and it was much more of a philosophical discussion about Santeria in daily life vs. the superstitions as practiced in the Cuban religion and the commercialized charlatan filled version practiced here in the states. I was lucky I found this one woman to talk with me about the more fundamental spirituality of it, and who wouldn’t try to impress me with all of the ceremony and ritual things that draw people in when they don’t understand what the rituals really mean.

One of the basic tenants of Santeria is ancestor worship, so as an adoptee I had an awful time practicing this of course.

The way she explained Yoruban ancestor worship was this: the spirits of people do not go away. they don’t go to heaven. they don’t go to hell. that is too linear a way to think. they just are. they are all around us in our atmosphere and everything we touch and guiding everything we do. they are like atomic particles in a primordial soup. and what we can’t see is actually thick with spirit. Egun – they are the spirits of those that came before you and that are there to guide you. There are human attributes which have been assigned to different Gods and those Gods are associated with forces of nature. Anyway, I wont get into the whole cosmology of it, but basically you have two Gods that protect you and that share their attributes with you and your egun watch over and guide you. Your fortunes and happiness are dependent upon your Gods knowing you honor them. And you can’t honor your Gods without the wisdom and guidance you get from forging a relationship with your ancestors.

It was interesting because church isn’t a place you visit – every day of every minute is church. Your home has an altar, and the altar is where you pay homage to your Gods and respect to your ancesters. Practicing devoutly and being a person of faith means having a RELATIONSHIP with your dead ancestors. You say hello to them when you come home and light a candle. You tell them your daily gripes, your joys, your heartaches. OUT LOUD. Like a crazy person talking to themselves, only you are speaking to your ancestors. When you eat, you give them a symbolic helping. You clean and tidy their space. You make it nice for them. You thank them all the time for everything you receive. Any time anything of note happens, there are prayers that you say. You bring them gifts. You give them fresh flowers. You say good night to them when you go to bed. It’s like having a baby or a dog – but it requires even more attention!

So there I was, practicing all this and yes – actually feeling close to something faint – but unlike other ancestor worshipers, I had no photos, no artifacts, no mementos. Not that I was jealous of other people’s altars, but more that those things that capture an ancestor or belonged to someone you loved or anything that was a remembrance of a fond moment or a crappy moment – these things have a power over us. They had history and I dropped out of nowhere. And I had nothing but my candles and flowers. I told my Santera about how I was adopted and she came up with all these traditional Cuban things people do – but they were all culturally inappropriate. She told me to put up cultural things from my country on my altar, but I had NO CLUE what those might be. And at the time, I didn’t even have any documents – I didn’t get those until recently when my parents died. I had ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. No trace of a past. Only the notion that I had to have come from somewhere…

I eventually gave up. I felt my voice couldn’t carry me far enough, that it was like howling in the wind. I felt like my ancestors did not travel with me to America, but were hovering in the mountains of Korea, through the pines or in the rice fields or steaming kettles of soup. I came to be quite disgusted with the way Santeria was practiced in America. But, to this day I appreciate the rigor and concept of ancestor worship, even though I no longer practice it.

I know Cuba and Africa are not the only cultures that practice Ancestor worship. I know clan lineage and bloodlines are a cornerstone of Korean culture. I really LIKE the idea of my corporeal body being the living result of something that extends back through history. But my history was stolen from me. And I feel like a ghost. At unrest, but still alive.

I wonder now, what our ancestors think of this tragic separation that has taken us all away? I wonder about first nation’s peoples and aboriginees, what their ancestors would think of their children being stolen and placed into white families who thought less of them and treated them badly? I wonder if they are crying and can hear our faint whispers from thousands of miles away?

I left out that Santeria is a monotheistic religion, despite it having a panoply of lesser gods, there is at their creation story only one – Olodumare. The lesser gods, who are all the forces of nature, are his children. The goal is always for all of us to learn here on earth, and then we can join the gods and Olodumare and come home. Even in the Christian faith in which I was raised, the afterlife is where you finally get to come home.

So many religions seem to somehow be about this idea of family and returning home to be with them.

Written by girl4708

November 6, 2008 at 10:09 pm

Posted in Infinite Longing