Freed From A False Story

So very much like Presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren, the author of this month’s Science of Mind Daily Guides, Dr Temple Hayes, describes her family’s lifelong belief that a great-grandmother was Native American.  Eventually, an inexpensive DNA test revealed the truth that they were not.

Such advances in what was once expensive medical technology are freeing people from false stories that they have been told all their lives.  This allows the newly liberated person to create a new, bright and dynamic existence.

When we believe a false story we feel disconnected from our family.  On an energetic level, we may simply feel that something does not add up, the shoe doesn’t fit.  My mom believed she had been deceptively “stolen” from her original parents.  While the story she concocted wasn’t accurate, the general circumstances of exploitation to take away a baby were the truth.  The story I had made up about my dad’s origins – that a Mexican woman named Maria had left him on the doorstep of the Salvation Army – also turned out to be false.

I never expected to know what I know now. My parents had to be taken away from the families they were born into, in order to come together from the families they were adopted into, so they could marry, so my self and my sisters could be born.  I cannot regret my very life.

I am happy to have had my false stories proven to be the mistaken ideas that they were.  I am now more interested in everything to do with Denmark or Scotland than I was just a very few years ago.  I prefer reality.  Most people honestly do.  Adoptees deserve to know their reality.  All efforts at reform are seeking that outcome.

Who’s Afraid Of Virginia Woolf ?

Virginia Woolf (1882-1941)

I’m not thinking of the famous movie but of the author.  Like my grandmothers, she lost her own mother at a young age.  I was encouraged to read her book “To The Lighthouse” by Jean Houston when I attended a week long Salon at her home in Ashland Oregon.  There is an element of her personal story to speaks to that loss of a mother.

Virginia Woolf was concerned about the injustice of patriarchal domination of women, the horrors of incest, the consequence of a social system which places no value on educating women and the astonishing liberation of moving from acceptance of a Victorian sentimental notion of marriage to easy and tolerant attitudes toward sexuality.

She was a genius at conveying inner experience.  At age 25, she wrote a set of reminiscences for her sister’s child, though it is actually a memoir of her childhood and adolescence.  In it, she sets out to convey how the death of her mother when she was twelve affected the family.

Shortly after her mother’s death, Woolf became violently emotionally ill – hearing voices, physically violent, racked by physical pain, unable to sleep or rest. Neither her half brother’s forced physical intimacy or her bout of insanity – form any part of the story of her coming of age.

In “A Sketch of the Past” (written when Woolf was 60 yrs old) she speaks more directly.  Her stepbrother’s abuse gave her such a fear of male sexuality that she had another breakdown and was in a nursing home for a long spell.

Finally, she retrieved her self-confidence enough to take up her writing career, and even marry, though she remained sexually frigid.  Woolf went on to write some of the strongest feminist fiction and nonfiction to be produced in the twentieth century.  She became an icon of the liberated female consciousness – sensitive, ironic, detached, capable of profound human insight because she embodied the androgynous blending of reason and intuition.

Woolf would have insisted that human affairs are much more complex than the confessional autobiography suggests.

Looking In The Dark Place

My adoptee father said to my adoptee mother when she wanted to find her original family that she shouldn’t go there because she might be opening up a can of worms. Now that I have gone there, I find it very sad. His own half-sister was living 90 miles away from him when he died. She could have told him so much about his original mother.

I read this morning in Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird these passages –

We write to expose the unexposed. If there is one door in the castle you have been told not to go through, you must. The writer’s job is to see what’s behind it.

You can’t if your parents are reading over your shoulder. They are probably the ones who told you not to open that door in the first place. If the truth were known, they would be seen as good people. Truth seems to want expression.

I opened the closet door and let what was inside out – liberation and even joy rushed through. It’s wonderful to finally open that forbidden door. What gets exposed is people’s humanity. Turns out that the truth, or reality, is our home.

What I learned was that I was where I was supposed to be. As much as I have already revealed for my own self, I hope there is more yet to come. I will bravely go into those rooms and closets and woods and abysses because it has been utterly satisfying to have gone in and looked around – to finally know the truth of my family’s origins.