Monday, July 03, 2006
No Comment
When I posted the video, My Old Friend, I shut down comments. I had my reasons: logical, carefully considered rationales concerning external links from unfamiliar places, my unease with missing someone I’d not seen in two decades and the desire to let it stand, silently, as a tribute to a friend.

While the above is truthful, it doesn’t encompass the whole truth. Making the video was an emotional experience, a journey back into the best times of my teen-hood. And, the decision to disable comments was, really, all about emotions. I did so not because I didn’t trust my readers to be their usual compassionate, gracious selves, but because I wanted to control my experience of the video, without the triggers a dialogue might flip. I wanted to stay in the good memories of youth – not wander into the unmitigated disaster my life became following that summer.

As logic and emotions are two very different things, so too are wants and needs. I may not have wanted to visit those places in my past I tried to shut down, but I needed to. And, after a week of sleeplessness and anxiety, I finally did.

I’ve struggled writing this, not wanting to launch into a timeline of painful events or illicit sympathy. Suffice it to say, I was raised by an adoptive mother whose character was marked by paranoia and emotional cruelty. All of the goodness that happened that summer, she viewed as a symptom of adoption and a sign of terrible things to come.

My mother knew nothing of my pre-adoption history and needed only to fill in the blanks. Adoptees, in her mind, were born of promiscuity, impulsivity and an endless list of social ills and moral deficits. Whatever she imagined my birthmother to be, so too did she fear I would become. That Chris was also adopted only added fuel to her paranoia. My entire life, she’d primed me to resist the temptations of love, consciously or not, to ward off the sins of my biological parents.

While nothing occurred that summer I wouldn’t hope my own children someday experience, my mother viewed my interest in anything beyond the four walls of our home as a violation of our contract to be a family. As a result, she placed me on lock-down – a punishment not fitting the crime, as no crime took place. When high school began, any social or extra-curricular activity I managed to sneak away and participate in were viewed as an act of rebellious disobedience. Tired of policing me, I was, shortly shipped off to live with relatives in another city and, for the next year, I bounced between their home and my own until, finally, I was thrown into a foster home, then aged out of the system. By my senior year I was 18 and homeless, my three years of high school nothing more than a conflicted, terrible waste.

At the end of it all, I’d learned to trust no one – and love no one, most especially myself. A beautiful experience at the beginning of high school resulted in the dismantling of my entire world. Making the video not only brought this all back, but was accompanied by a growing sense of unease that the very act of following my heart would, once again, be followed by the same dire consequences it was back then. Yes, I am an adult and no longer under my adoptive mother’s rule. But, that teenaged girl is still somewhere inside me, and sometimes her experience steers my emotions, especially when I attempt to shut those emotions down.

Why am I sharing this? Because I owe it to those who frequent my blog and discovered my comment section mysteriously disabled, perhaps wondering why my little spot on the web was suddenly under authoritarian rule. And, because I owe it to myself to visit those difficult spots in my past so that I may live more wholly in my present.
 
Rhonda Ruminated at 10:48 AM | Permalink |


10 Ruminations:


  • At 2:49 PM, Blogger 34quinn

    Hello Rhonda,
    I hear so much of myself in your postings I want you to know you are so not alone in your feelings. I understand the depth of the emotions and the pain.

    "When high school began, any social or extra-curricular activity I managed to sneak away and participate in were viewed as an act of rebellious disobedience. "

    I was allowed to go to my graduation to accept my diploma, but when everyone else got ready to go and enjoy the grad parties etc. I went home to sit in my room. I often felt like Cinderella.

     
  • At 4:43 PM, Blogger St Jude

    Sweetheart, you owe us nothing, but yourself. It is you we care about and love, not your history, although that is a part of you. It takes time, the journey is long and sometimes lonely, but we'll be here to hold your hand.

     
  • At 5:01 PM, Anonymous Charlie

    I’ve struggled writing this, not wanting to launch into a timeline of painful events or illicit sympathy.

    A beautiful phrase.

    And, because I owe it to myself to visit those difficult spots in my past so that I may live more wholly in my present.

    Yes, and us along with you.

     
  • At 8:05 PM, Blogger Rhonda

    QUINN: Thank you. You said:

    I went home to sit in my room. I often felt like Cinderella.

    You are not alone, either. I spent every football game, dance and party doing the same thing. While I am glad neither of us are alone in the experience, I am also sorry you share it. I wish it had been different - for both of us.

    JUDE: My sweet friend, you made me cry, in a good way. Thank you so very much.

    CHARLIE: I knew you'd understand.

     
  • At 12:30 AM, Blogger Sven

    What St. Jude said.

    (Only with a lower voice and a Minnesota accent).

     
  • At 8:19 AM, Blogger Nikki

    Rhonda, first let me apologize for taking so long to comment. I couldn't get your site to load on my computer at home (dial-up crap).

    I'm echoing St. Jude and Sven.

    I think you're a great lady Rhonda. Do what you need to do for yourself, we're just along for the ride.

     
  • At 12:58 PM, Blogger Rhonda

    Sven & Nikki: Thank you. Truly.

     
  • At 2:43 AM, Blogger momseekingpeace

    What an amazing story, I cn understand your need to turn off comments.

    I am wondering if you and I grew up any where near one another as we are both from the paciic northwest.
    MSP

     
  • At 3:30 AM, Blogger Rhonda

    Hi, MSP. I grew up in Bellevue, Washington and, at my first opportunity, moved to the Cascade Foothills (Issaquah).

    Where are you from?

     
  • At 1:34 PM, Anonymous michele

    It's amazing what can trigger things. Since my biological mother died (she raised me until the age of 4) almost a year ago, the strangest things can trigger painful parts of my past.

     

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