Honestly, I do start to feel like I'm a messenger of negativity at times. I start to grow weary and burdened by my own observations and discourse. I want to tell myself, "Okay, okay, enough already, just shut the heck up."
I look at my life and all the good in it, and I can't help but wonder whether what others accuse me of is true--maybe I am a whiny, self-centered ingrate? I begin to doubt whether I have the "right" to ask the questions I ask, to say the things I say. I begin to almost believe the critics and doubters to the point of internalization, and in turn become my own worst enemy.
And especially as of late, these doubts are surfacing fiercely as I try to manage my relationships with my four parents, specifically in the context of the recent birth of our son. The doubts creep in as I begin to question whether all of this "enlightenment and awareness" are worth it--is this "adoptee awareness" worth the strain and turmoil it brings to my relationships with my family, whether openly acknowledged or harbored within.
It gets so complicated and messy trying to emotionally triage the conflicting obligations and desires I face from within and without as an adoptee, and in my case, as an adoptee in reunion. All the sensitivities and offenses to consider tempt me to just give up and return to ignorance. Well, obviously, in reality that's impossible--so, more accurately, I am tempted to stop trying to work toward authenticity and just play the adoption game--the game I've played most of my life, the game with which I am all too familiar and hence, uncomfortably comfortable, if that makes any sense. I know the rules, and I'm a seasoned player. So, it's easy to just jump back in.
And to be honest, I haven't actually ever completely given up the game. I still throw on the uniform and run back onto the field when things get tense or awkward. It's easier to me at this point than trying to deal with the penalties and repercussions of not playing the game, of not abiding by the unspoken yet unquestionably enforced rules and regulations.
Fellow adoptees know the game to which I'm referring. It is the game that requires you to be the happy, compliant, bright-eyed adoptee with not a peep of criticism or dissatisfaction to utter regarding your experience as an adoptee. It's the game that expects you to gloss over everything with a thick layer of sticky sweet high fructose corn syrup to make certain that everything you say and do is pleasantly palatable, especially for your parents and family.
The game where you smile and laugh and play along--pretend that you're okay with the current dynamic, as though you're okay with not expressing how you're really feeling or what you're actually thinking--better yet, fake as though you have nothing to say or feel that might question the status quo.
It's the game where I am expected to be solely grateful. It's the game where I cannot express equal loyalties and affection for both my American and Korean families. It's the game where the regulations dictate that I must avoid referring to my Omma and Appa as Omma and Appa and must refer to them as "biological mother" and "biological father." It's the game where all my hopes and desires for having a merged family must remain unspoken, buried, because such wants and expressions are almost heretical.
And despite how awful playing the game can feel, I still find it easier and less frightening at times, than the alternative, to simply concede and comply and take my position on the field--where everyone else, including myself, knows my role and what to expect.
Even now I wish I could go into more detail to elucidate more clearly the context. But what's the point? I already feel defeated, because I know I would absolutely get red carded and be thrown out of the game once and for all, never able to return. Why try to reason with the ref, coach, or other players when it's clear that their understanding of the game is inflexible?
And you say, well, that would be a good thing--go for it, get yourself thrown out of the game.
But in my case, at this point, it's not so simple, it's not so easy. It might not turn out to be such a good thing, because--as much as some of you may cringe and cry out "coward!" or "hypocrite!" --playing the game seems to be the only way I can be close to those I love...and I do love them, all of them.
Still, as far as "processing" and "speaking up" as an adoptee, I can't stop, despite the danger it poses to my relationships. I am compelled to press on even though I wonder why I do.
And yet ironically enough, as a result, I get so weary and so insecure, so full of doubt and uncertainty that it becomes easier at times to play the game than to fight for authenticity--despite the fact that playing the game is equivalent to choosing to be a hypocrite and a liar for the sake of maintaining a pretense that has caused me a lifetime of confusion and strife. Talk about contradicting myself. It's like I'm taking crazy pills (and too many metaphors).
Just another way in which being an adoptee--to borrow a word from my husband--is the most "craptastic" endless cycle of that wonderfully contentious state of quandary we all hate to feel-- Catch 22.
And there I go again--being "aware" as the "messenger of negativity"...I guess I just can't help myself...because I suppose I just can't stop being an adoptee, and more specifically, an adoptee who simultaneously loathes and embraces--well, of course--being an adoptee.