Nothing fixes a thing so intensely in the memory as the wish to forget it. ~Michel de Montaigne
Why now I wonder? What does it mean that these memories come back to me now? Is it a good thing? A bad thing? Or neither? Am I supposed to do something with these recently revived phantoms in my brain? Who performed CPR on my memories? Who took out the shock paddles, yelled “CLEAR” and allowed the heart of these memories to pump once again?
It’s not so much the memory of them but the reliving of the feeling, the déjà vu experience. I can physically feel what I felt back then. Is that good? Is that a flashback?
I remembered only recently that my plan – before the adoption agency came into my life – was to run away. I have no idea where I was going to go. I was leaving. I had prepared myself to run away to some unknown place. Me and my pregnant body were going to take the child inside me and just get on a bus and leave. I had already visited Planned Parenthood and ruled out abortion. Nope. My child was meant to be born. I wanted her.
But where did I think I was going to go? I don’t think I got that far in the process. Teenagers, like I was then, tend to live in the here and now. They don’t plan for the future. It’s about instant gratification or in my case, instant survival.
I was terrified to my core of my parents – my father primarily. I knew I would be thrown out, abandoned, discarded, [insert your own word here] and I just could not risk it. I felt my unborn child and I were better off on our own on a bus to nowhere than in my parents home. I felt alone. Isolated with no one to turn to. No one that would truly help me. Everywhere I turned there was judgment, fear, anger, fire and brimstone.
It’s odd to remember this now. It feels good in a way. It confirms yet again what I have always known and said. I wanted my child. Fear of family values, the church, judgment, etc pushed me to the running away approach. But where was I going to go? And what would I do if something happened to my family while I was gone? What if my parents died and I was in hiding somewhere? How would I find out? Who would tell me?
That thought was the first brick in the paving of my path to adoption hell.
I shared my pregnancy and my running away thoughts with my older sister. She was out of the family home, a nursing student, with her own apartment. She could be trusted (ha!). I wanted her to know that I was leaving and I wanted to set up a system so that she could contact me.
She was horrified. She did not believe I was pregnant. Refused to believe it. I assured her I was. I had taken a home test as well as been to Planned Parenthood for a confirmation. I was pregnant and I was leaving on a jet plane or a Greyhound bus as soon as I could. Could she please just keep my secret? Would she contact me if something happened at home and I needed to come back?
She failed at the secret keeping but succeeded at the contacting. Only the person she contacted was my mother.
And so it began…