hidden so deep

about 24 years ago, i was adopted. it's taken me this long to realize that it's a little confusing. it's also taken me this long to realize that i am not white.

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I have been tempted to walk away from everything. Occasionally I travel internationally, and more than once I’ve thought about just losing my passport and all identifying information, and just walking away. I think people would be sad for a little while, but everyone gets over the loss of someone else in some way. I think I have a basic belief that I’m not intrinsically valuable, that I’m interchangeable and replaceable. I don’t think this intellectually, but maybe I believe it emotionally anyways. I’ve dreamed of being free of all the expectations and burdens of this perfectly successful and normal life. I’ve dreamed of being as cold and crazy and true to myself on the outside as I sometimes feel on the inside. I have dreamed of disappearing, of forcing all my family and friends to move on without me

There are times when I wish I didn’t exist. I don’t mean that I wish to die, but to simply not exist. I think because I don’t feel love, I experience a self-imposed isolation and unbearable loneliness. I’m old enough to know that I’m past the age that I can learn to love, and that I’m just made badly. I also believe that most of the people who love me have experienced more pain because of my existence. Sometimes I imagine driving off bridges or into trees, and it is a very thin glue that holds me from it.

Anonymous, “Secrets,” Lost Daughters.

Currently thinking about the intersections of adoption, genetics, pre-verbal trauma, and mental illness–particularly my own.

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Why is it that I had to assimilate myself to become “white” in order to make friends and not the other way around? Why do people say “it’s ok, you’re so white-washed” as if it’s a good thing? Why do my friends and I think it’s funny to speak in an Asian accent? Why is it that the “tiger-mom” parenting tactic is so-called “bad”?

–Connie Zhou, “The Asian-American Awakening: That Moment When You Realize You’re Not White.”

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While referentialist language ideology makes stereotypes visible as “wrong,” it leads us to the misleading conclusion that if we merely “educate,” revealing the racist errors in stereotypes, they will be discredited. But, although a publication of a stereotype today is guaranteed to attract angry replies that advance better information, the same stereotypes are repeated again and again. Mere education does not seem to interrupt the circulation of racist ideas.

–Jane H. Hill, The Everyday Language of White Racism.

[Emphasis mine]

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Personal preferences in dating or sex are not the same thing as fetishes. We can’t help who we’re attracted to, and a lot of us “have a type,” but no one should project the kind of personality, behavior, and values they like in a romantic partner onto someone else, let alone an entire ethnic group. For instance, it is true that I tend to be drawn to well-dressed men who are taller than me, but I don’t assume anything about them besides the fact that they are well-dressed and taller. But just because I’m Asian and female, why do some men make the automatic assumptions that I am quiet, docile, great at domestic tasks, eager to please men, and my vagina is more magical than average? And, I am supposed to feel complimented when those people are attracted to me?

Chin Lu, “Why Yellow Fever Is Different than ‘Having a Type,'” The Bold Italic.

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Adoption isn’t simple. It’s the most complicated thing I know. Answers are not easy and not firm and don’t answer the questions you’re really asking—or, as the case may be, not asking. Adoptees may wonder about their real birthday, or what it was like where they grew up, or even why they were abandoned (getting closer), but what they are really asking is much more complex than that. I have asked those questions both out loud and in my head my entire life. And underneath those questions are further questions—like how has adoption made me who I am, and who is that, and how would I be different if I knew my birth family?—and underneath those questions are questions I don’t even know how to ask, or know to ask, since the part of me that would know what to look for is a part of me I can’t recover. I am searching for answers, but I am searching for questions. And answers always lead to more questions, at least in my experience. It is complicated. Adoptees need their adoptive parents to know that it is complicated, and to tell them so.

–Matthew Salesses, “What I Would Like to Tell Adoptive Parents (About Answers): A Letter from an Adoptee.”