I have always known that I was adopted. I was 3 when it happened.
I have always known that I did not belong to my family.
The standard go-to that I must be very special because I was specially chosen by my mommy and daddy and that only happens to very special children, was lost on me. I wasn’t stupid. In order to be hand selected, first I had to be rejected by someone else.
Rejected. Such an ugly word.
So – here I sit. Trying to understand this “belonging” thing. I’ve been wondering things about people not like me for as long as I can remember. Do my sisters know how much they look like my mother? If they know, does it matter to them? Does my brother think it’s cool that he looks just like Pop-pop when he was that age? When you belong, does it feel different from not belonging? Do you feel confident and sure you are where you are supposed to be? What does that feel like? If you have no reason to suspect or question any of these things – what kind of things do you think about?
I was sharing these thoughts with a friend who is a person “not like me”. A person who grew up with the mother she looks like. A person who grew up feeling like she did not belong. How could that be? HOW COULD THAT BE?
I see now that belonging doesn’t come from out there. Not belonging was my own construct and I have created so much around that. I won’t lament the lateness of my understanding. “Without a struggle, there can be no progress” (Frederick Douglass). Had I not been there, I would not be here. I may be the liberal, atheist daughter of conservative, Roman Catholics but that’s okay because I’m kind of great.