When I was much younger, I came up with a theory. I hypothesized that we all had one key word that summed up the life lesson we had signed up to learn in the current life. I decided, at 20, that my key word was family. I even have a tattoo that symbolizes this key word.
Each of the past few years I've gone through personal crises between my birthday and the anniversary of my adoption. It's taken this most recent life changing event for me to realize the pattern that has emerged in that time frame. I know a little about the details surrounding my being given up for adoption at just over a year old. I know that there were abuse allegations, and I know that the people who knew my birth mother have told my parents that I spent a great deal of time alone in a playpen.
That knowledge has rooted into the soil of my mind, growing there until the blossom of realization appeared recently. That time was earth shattering to me as a child. I was barely a toddler, and I was abandoned my a scared, confused parent. Then I was expected to integrate into a family of strangers less than three months later. Sometimes I just want to scoop up that small big-eyed baby and hug her, let her know that it's going to be okay, that it turns out all right.
How can a person recover from that, really? As good as my life has been because I was placed for adoption with my beautiful, loving family, I have struggled with being able to accept that they love me - really, unconditionally love me. It's as if that tiny blonde child is tugging at my skirt, reminding me - you've been abandoned before, it can happen again. So I've lived my life with the heart of an abandoned child, always fearful that something I said or did would cause everyone, even my most cherished friends and loved ones, to turn away from me.
Everything I've done up until this point has been an exploration of that love. If I move to Florida, will they still love me? If I don't get a degree? If I get this piercing, or that tattoo? Rather than living authentically, being who I am, I have lived with an eye to what others would think of every word, every thought, every action. Today I will live authentically. From this moment onward. If someone doesn't love me because of the color of my hair, or the way I live, they didn't really love me to begin with. I accept the unconditional love that is offered to me with gratitude, and I hope that my tiny sweet toddler self can feel that she is loved unconditionally too, and always has been.