I deleted 595 posts from this blog today. I saved a copy offline with the rest of my journals, going back to age four—forty-six years of attempts to put my thoughts into words. To exist in some form outside of my head. To insist, I’m a whole, real person in a world that consistently begs to differ. Being transracially adopted at birth and raised in a virtually all-white community affords a distinct perspective.
My (adopted) family were blindspot-bigots when I was born. (This is essentially the default state of humans, in case you weren’t aware.) The only black person I knew was my younger sister until I was twelve. Many of the parents of my peers were racist assholes. It sucked so hard as a kid who had no adult like me to talk to about it. Their children treated me significantly better, though. I’m still proud of them as they had so few good adult examples, yet still managed to choose decency. 💜
At seventeen, military people saw me as a whole human with a right to contribute and thrive. (It was heavenly.) I can immediately tell when someone sees me as less than. The energy is fugly, and my body goes on red alert. Being a soldier was like taking a decade long break from the constant hateful onslaught of racists. Tolerance for racism was nonexistent when I served because it’s divisive, destructive, and fraudulent. It allowed me to develop a healthier self-esteem and excel.
I don’t look at people until I’ve sensed whether they’re an immediate danger. I don’t know the logistics of how I do it. I just know I must be good at it because I’m still here. I regularly encounter people who, for whatever reason, decide I’m not a person. It still hurts more when the perpetrator is African American. I’m working on killing off any remnants of my proclivity for putting unrealistic expectations on people merely because they look like me. My bad.
I’m embarrassed by how many times I’ve been burned by the brazenly insecure before I recognized the mythology of black unity. The unity was annihilated by colorism and blackness definition police long before I existed. I don’t think I’ll ever stop crying (on the inside) over this painfully ironic revelation. I spent so much of my childhood anticipating a joyful reunion with my culture upon adulthood, only to find out I’m too often not black right. Fucking ow.
(I still fall for it because I’d rather be wrong about how I initially perceive someone and get my feelings crushed than tell anyone they don’t matter. Also, change is reliable.)
I love meeting black people from other states who immediately ask me to pronounce certain words, then belly laugh. They see me and recognize I had a different experience and want to know how it went. They want to discover if it would make life less painful for their children if they moved here. (Often yes, unless you can afford a bubble, but may the universe help your kids if they ever leave that bubble. Prepare them for reality at least as much as you shelter them from it, eh?)
My parents adopted me at birth, and they loved me, raised me, shaped me, and did their best to prepare me for the world. They both evolved into even better people before my eyes as I grew up. I understood these things at a very young age. I grasped the lack of malice behind accidental jabs made them forgivable. (I told Jesus in my head.) I loved my parents, and I am glad I had them. They were terrific people.
Both my parents’ parents were racists. We visited my dad’s parents once. Heather and I were not allowed to get out of the car because “the dogs didn’t like black people.” I was four, and I remember some things about this incident. I remember refusing to look at my dad’s parents. I remember the ground where the car was parked was muddy, and telling Jesus (in my head) I didn’t want to get out of the car anyway, because it would make me dirty. (Also, my crayons melted on the dashboard.)
My mom’s parents disowned her for adopting Heather and me. Her mom died a racist as far as I know. When I asked my mom why we didn’t have grandparents like the other kids we knew, she explained to me the difference between my family and her family. I can’t recall how old I was, but I’ve never forgotten. From that day forth, I knew my authentic family consisted of my mom, Heather, Steve, my dad, and the foster kids.
Her dad evolved, and guess what? We had a grampa as teenagers!
The rest were my mom’s family (I’m the sole survivor of my reciprocal family.) The children she had with her first husband were my mom’s family, too, but it took a while for me to recognize. Her youngest two children grew up with us adopted kids. There was a clear separation between the adopted kids, the birth kids, and the foster kids. I never felt like my (adopted) parents didn’t want me. But I quickly learned I couldn’t afford to invest emotionally in familial expectations beyond my clearly defined, smaller than advertised, family.
No matter how much money you have, you’re still absolutely going to die. Please act accordingly.
I believe transracial adoption has the potential to be traumatic for all children involved. If asked at any point in my life so far, I would have opted to be aborted rather than born and transracially adopted in a heartbeat. Preborn fetuses don’t have options. I think anyone who lived my life so far would heartily agree. (My mom’s youngest birth daughter concurs, and told me so on multiple occasions, most significantly, right after notably and most shadily securing $15k right after Heather passed. Please pray for her if you do that sort of thing.)
Growing up unvalued by most had a tremendous effect on my self-esteem. Being undervalued happens to POC, regardless of who raised us because we exit our homes to experience the world. It happens to people in the LGBTQIA community, and the emotional abuse begins younger than you’d believe. It happens to disabled people and neurodiverse people. You’re within 4 degrees of a child who was killed by a parent for existing while being neurodiverse. (Have a look at just one basic search.)
I think transracial adoption is more sustainable in 2020 than in 1969.
There are a lot of people who, at first glance, may appear to be valued by most but are not. They might have white skin or wealthy parents. Your eyes don’t tell you much truth about people. If you let them be the sole basis for how you judge others, you’re not experiencing life; you’re peacocking. You’re wasting precious time trying to figure out who and how to impress, rather than building yourself into who you want to be. Hopefully, you have time for the universe to reveal your worth from within, (despite the legion of loud assholes* sharing the planet.)
When I was initially recovering from PTSD, my mom got diagnosed with colon cancer. I was there, and she made me promise not to tell anyone else. (I didn’t.) When she began treatment, I think she divulged to her youngest surviving son, too, but that time is blurry in memory. It wasn’t long after Steve died. I remember taking her to treatments and cleaning her house, but not much else.
The news instantly sent me into a deeply dissociated state. I was still raw with the grief that owned me 24/7 for a solid year. Steve was my anchor to this world, and losing him left me reeling in space. I could barely comprehend the concept of losing my mom. Worse, I couldn’t imagine existing without her: no fucking way, man. I was in my early 30’s, and my mom was my foundation in life, period.
I could only function like a robot operating my avatar from a fortress miles away. Even my vision felt pulled back; I was so numb. I remember going to Target with my mom while she was in treatment, and a woman bumped into her with her cart, injuring my mom’s finger. I had to fight off an overwhelming urge to kill the woman on the spot for daring to bruise my mom’s finger by accident. (I was fiercely protective of my family.) I think she saw it in my eyes because she very quickly turned her cart around and moved away.
Not even a twinge of guilt over that behavior. I’m not going to talk myself into recognizing it’s a little scary, either. Don’t fuck with my mom.
I tried to kill myself when I was six because I didn’t want to live in a world full of adults who were overtly offended by my existence. I still mostly only talked to Jesus in my head at that point. I tried drowning myself but was grossly ignorant of how it worked. I thought repeatedly submerging myself underwater until my lungs felt like they would burst would end me. I kept coming up for air, believing a few more times would do it.
I don’t remember how long I tried, or even what I concluded when I stopped. I just remember I didn’t want to be black anymore because it hurt too much. The only way I knew to stop being black was to stop being. I never told anyone about this or the other time I attempted at twelve. The second time, I had a much better concept of death and how to achieve it (phenobarbital overdose with meds stolen from the foster kids’ medicine cabinet. It was close enough to be memorable.)
It upsets me to remember that time at age six because I was too much a child to understand death, but not too young to long for it. At twelve, I still wasn’t mature enough to consider the aftermath of offing myself. I was in so much pain and didn’t have anyone to speak with about it. Even if I did, I didn’t have the communication skills or words. I had novels, and they held me until I could find my voice. And all the times it disappears, since.
I died a little inside every single time someone stopped my mom to congratulate her on being so holy as to adopt two black babies.
*loud assholes are insecure people with no insight who aren’t yet brave enough to work on healing their wounds, but insist on helping create them in others; and have the means to read this. The internet is a tool. Use it to heal and grow. The information is there if you put in the work at applying it. 💜✌🏽
p.s. If anyone treats you like you’re less than a person, call them on it if you’re brave, but let them go (away.) Your value is purely intrinsic. External sources are like an illusion: Fleeting, unreliable, illogical, unbelievable, etc. You can choose authenticity instead. For the most part, life is generally worth experiencing, even though it seems none of us get to play without paying in tears.
p.p.s. The inability to recognize others of your species as a human ever so strongly resembles an inability to recognize one’s reflection in a mirror. Just saying.