Saturday, August 05, 2006
Thanks to my faithful readers for your concern about my unexplained absence, and I am sorry if I caused anyone worry.

I have been trying to explain it – for days – but the words don’t come. “Writer’s block” doesn’t provide an explanation, as I have plenty of things to write about. I even have articles on standby I could have used to fill in the gap. But they didn’t fit my mood and, thus, looked artificial, plastic and pretend.

I began this blog to work through my own issues – some adoption related, some the product of a traumatic childhood. I throw in the funny, the anecdotal, the rants and raves and feel-good stories too, because I don’t live in my past traumas, despite how often they are able to encroach into my present day life.

There are times, despite all the work I’ve done to address those childhood experiences I still carry with me, despite all the painful “soul work,” the writing, the therapy, the reading, the changes I’ve made in my life allowing me to be who and what I am, the echoes from the past still manage to become so loud their reverberations drown out the sounds of my immediate world.

Usually, when I hear those echoes, I listen, apply logic, visit the past and grieve that which needs to be grieved, and they soon retreat to just a low whisper, losing their ability to deceive me into thinking they are the sound of my present day reality.

But, there is one echo capable of reaching a disorienting, fevered pitch, full of trickery and illusion. It doesn’t come uninvited, but is triggered, usually, by some, accurately or not, perceived violation of trust from someone in my immediate world. It is that echo drawing me away lately from the things I value. It is that echo inviting me into old patterns, those that tell me not to share, not to trust, to build tall walls of self-protection.

One of my former students was an adoptee who reminded me very much of myself at her age. We spoke a lot about her adoption experience. I ached for her as I watched her struggle with growing up adopted. She was skilled at giving the party lines she’d been coached to believe, but the pain in her eyes, the look on her face, always exposed her true feelings. She had echoes too – and I was fortunate enough to be the person she turned to when they became too loud. But, she moved to another school and I moved across country. We kept in touch for a short time, then fell out of the habit. I’ve missed her and think of her often. It’s been six years.

Last week, she found me, making contact through email. She’s now nearly eighteen years old, a grown woman. And, she is struggling. Her life is not going well.

She asked me about trust; wanting to know if my adoption experience had damaged mine, sensing a damaged sense of trust sits at the core of her own struggles. How ironic she found me, asked this question, while I was trying to fend off the sounds of my own echoes.

She is now the age I was when I built my walls.

I was seventeen when my adoptive mother sent me to foster care. I cried for days, wailing, with all the vulnerability of an abandoned child. And, with no empathic ear anywhere nearby, no one to help me see it wasn’t my fault, I finally had to shut it off, flip the switch on the unbearable amount of emotional pain I was experiencing.

I did it by promising myself I would never, ever trust anyone again; I would never, ever love anyone again and I would never, ever allow myself to be loved again. For the most part, I kept that promise. For thirty years. I surrounded myself by relationships that were mostly superficial, designed to guard my vulnerabilities.

With the exception of one person . . . a former junior high school teacher, who took me in, told me it wasn’t my fault, and nurtured me until I got back on my feet. I’d reached out to her, as my adoptee friend is now reaching out to me.

She has learned all the tricks I used to know . . . all the ways to stay numb from the pain. And, here I am, immersed in my own echoes, being asked for help. I hope I am up to the task. I hope I don’t let her down.

Because I want her to learn what took me thirty years to learn – that when you don’t allow yourself to love, you cannot be loved; that when you deny your authentic, feeling self, your life becomes an endless exercise in pretend; that being numb might protect you from pain, but it denies you the beauty of life, of feeling anything.

And I say this in the midst of my own echoes, the temptation of returning to numb pressing against me. I haven’t been here writing. I haven’t been here reading. I haven’t engaged in any of the things I usually do – the things that bring human interaction and feeling. At 38 years old, I am still as vulnerable to turning off my feelings as I was at seventeen. It only takes the right trigger.

So, my friends, that is where I’ve been . . . lost in my own echoes, feeling vulnerable and fighting the temptation to slip into un-blissful numbness for a while.

But, I can’t. I can’t because I want myself available for my adoptee friend, and anyone who reads these pages who might relate in some way.

Most importantly, I can’t because I need myself available to myself.

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Rhonda Ruminated at 10:32 AM | Permalink |

19 Ruminations:

  • At 2:56 PM, Blogger Mia

    I feel like I have nothing of substance to offer because everything you wrote so beautifully here are things I struggle with as well.I have a lot of echos too.

    I understand wishing there was something that could be said that would make so much sense that like magic everything would come into perspective both for yourself and the person you care about. I wish I could give that to you right now.

    I can say though I am so glad you're back and I hope it is of some comfort to know that you are not walking the echoing halls alone. I'm holding your hand.

  • At 9:32 PM, Blogger 34quinn

    thank you have again ..not only connected with me on an incredably deep level but you have been able to put so much of "my life" into words , words that I just cannot find on my own.
    keep writing..I will keep reading, and you keep helping me..thanks so much .

  • At 12:20 AM, Blogger elizabeth


    You've touched my soul.

  • At 4:04 AM, Blogger Kim Ayres

    It's strange how we can believe we have moved on only to find the past coming back to haunt us again. This time round, however, we have the experience to know that it can be dealt with again and it needn't take many years to find a way out. The pain is still there but the ability to regain ourselves is far stronger.

  • At 1:00 PM, Blogger Attila The Mom


  • At 3:57 AM, Blogger pendlerpiken

    While my issues and scars are nowhere near as deep as yours, I can still feel for you. I am certain you will be able to give support and love to the one who needs you, and still be able to deal with your echoes.

    Meanwhile, it is good to see you back. I have missed you. You will be in my thoughts.

  • At 11:31 AM, Blogger Nikki

    I have been wondering where you were Rhonda Mama.

    How is it that you can always touch me so deeply?

    You have powerful words, and I can not express how the touch my soul.

    I'll be thinking of you and praying for you both.

  • At 12:26 AM, Blogger Rhonda

    I'm overwhelmed by all of your comments. Thanks to each of you. It means a lot.

    Pendlerpiken: Thanks for peeking out from lurkdome - and for the sweet words.

  • At 6:30 AM, Blogger Ruth Dynamite

    I've missed you, Rhonda. I think, as painful as it may be, all those echoes have something to teach you, and then you, in turn, have something to teach others (like this former student). I'll be thinking of you.

  • At 7:42 PM, Blogger Mel

    Rhonda - I'm glad to see you back again.
    And I can only do this:

  • At 10:21 AM, Blogger Miss Keeks

    Your post is beautiful, Rhonda. Mostly, I love how you're there for the youngsters. I wish there were more of you out there.

  • At 5:55 PM, Blogger Kevin Charnas

    wow...great post, you're honesty is astonishing. and I'm glad, really glad that you're there for your friend...for both of you.

    know that I'm thinking of you both.

  • At 5:51 PM, Blogger

    I'm so glad you are there for her. You write so beautifully. I also feel for you.

  • At 10:43 PM, Blogger Third Mom

    Rhonda, I've read your blog but don't think I've commented. This post, however, was so powerful I just wanted to say thank you.

  • At 12:07 PM, Blogger Pendullum

    Thank you for sharing an honest beautiful post for a ll of us to read and go on this journey with you...
    What a remarkable story of soul searching and life reaffirmation.. This young girl is so lucky to have you in her life as we are to have you...
    Thank you for making your story available to us...
    A big hug goes your way...

  • At 8:18 AM, Blogger Sophia

    (knock, knock)

    Hi, Rhonda. I've never left a comment on your blog before, but I have read you through mutual friends. You write beautifully. And I find it fascinating how so many of the people in my blogging community have recently been absent, including myself. Perhaps we affect each other and are more connected than we know.

  • At 2:30 PM, Blogger kim

    I agree with Sophia ....
    I think its the tides or the moons or that part of the universe is off balance, this feeling is everywhere, so please dont feel alone in it.
    I was adopted. Ive tried to find that ellusive "something missing" all my life. when you let your guard down or trust someone that lets you down, it hurts sooo much and we beat ourselves up so badly ... because after all ..we never deserved the happiness in the first place, what were we thinking ? i know girl i truly do *hugs*

  • At 1:21 AM, Blogger your

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  • At 2:02 PM, Blogger Rxsta

    Thankyou, this helped me see it's not just me becuase when i left my mum when i was 11 i thought it was just me and i grew up feeling like theres something wrong with me that nobody will love me. it made me cry reading this, i felt like i couldnt breathe from the feelings which was going into hyperventalating. i was not told why i was feeling what i was feeling when younger or baught the love and understanding, i just went to my room and stoped talking to everyone, that numbness is terrible feeling it day in day out untill u get used to it, but if you ever want to love again then it means feeling the feelings and then when you feel numb again you realise just how horrible it is.
    But it's worth getting the help and it's worth loving again, to live a life and not know love would be sad, but i hope those people who have felt this can find something in life to enjoy! I wish you and your friend good luck :)