Before I start, here’s a quick head’s up: I will be addressing mental health, suicidal thoughts, thoughts on self harm, and forced adoption, among others. If you’re not in a good headspace to read this, you might want to take a breather. This past week has been awful for all of us. Do some self care and come back later. This post will still be here.
Everyone else, if you’re ready, just hit the jump.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock–and if you were I can’t exactly blame you–then you know about the leaked brief from SCOTUS and the possibility of Roe Vs Wade being overturned. I haven’t blogged about it terribly much, as the words seem to get stuck. I know what I want to say but I’m unable to put it into words. That is, until recently.
“Domestic supply of infants”. Those words. Those four words. Those words have done more to galvanize me than hearing about the brief itself. Because I’m living with the aftermath of those four words. But not in the way most people expect.
My mother told me that I was an only child. She told me this when I was a toddler, when I was a child in school, when I was in my tweens–though we never called it that in the 1980s–and all throughout my teenage and young adult years. I didn’t have a sibling. It was just me and my parents. That was it.
Or so I thought.
As I got older, I noticed a few things: when my paternal grandfather died, my name was in the obituary as a member of the family but my mother’s was not. I asked why and she said that my father’s family had never accepted her. I was confused but didn’t press the issue. At the age of seventeen, when I had to come home from school early because of a bout of nausea, my mother demanded to know what I “wasn’t telling her”.
It was the look she gave me before she left that’s burned into my memory: like she knew I was lying. But I had been telling her the truth; I had no clue why I felt so terrible. The only thing I could chalk it up to was bad grape juice, as that’s what I had been drinking both times I vomited. She didn’t believe me.
It wasn’t until I was 35, eighteen years later, that I finally understood.
I wasn’t an only child.
I had an older half brother.
My mother had been pregnant at the age of seventeen and had been forced to surrender a child so it could be adopted by a “legitimate” married couple.
I wasn’t who I thought I was at all.
How did I take it? I honestly don’t know. I went from being almost giddy–a lot of my questions were answered with that simple phrase–to angry–Dad knew and he didn’t tell me?!–to depressed. Emotionally, I was on a roller coaster. Some days I was fine. Other days, I would be joking with a customer at Walmart and while I was laughing, think about climbing up to the roof of the building and throwing myself onto the asphalt below, hopefully timing everything perfectly so I could get run over by the city bus. Other days, I thought about just carving into my forearm, just to watch myself bleed. Some days, the idea of getting out of bed was too much for me. I just wanted to bury myself in a cocoon of blankets and never come out. Trying to act like a normal person was too taxing. Just being alive was painful.
Then there was the survivor guilt. Oh dear Primus, the survivor guilt.
I hated myself. I hated the fact that I was the one who was kept. I hated myself for simply existing. I told myself that my mother would have been happier with him and not me. I looked back at so many memories and they felt wrong. Tainted. All of the good times I didn’t deserve. Then there was the rest…
I started looking at my childhood with a more critical eye. Suddenly it made sense why my mother was so overprotective. It made perfect sense why my mother said no to the freshman year drama trip to New York City and why a year later, I finally got a dream trip to Disney World. It made sense why my mother said no to my boyfriend driving me and my best friend to the mall after the last day of school in my junior year. A lot of things made perfect sense.
I wouldn’t wish this on anyone. It sucks. It absolutely sucks.
It’s been almost twelve years and it’s still somewhat day-to-day for me. As I said, I wouldn’t wish this on anyone.
I could go on, but I won’t. I don’t think I have to in this case. Because this will happen again if we let this SCOTUS brief stand. It is for this reason I cannot be silent, I cannot stand by and watch.
Because I don’t want history to repeat itself yet again.