Beggars and Choosers
“Beggars cannot be choosers” is categorized as a proverb. Did you know that? Proverbs to me are some sort of Asian inspirational piece of wisdom. Is that the case with beggars and choosers? It never seemed to be inspirational to me, more like a sarcastic statement on a pathetic situation. As in take what you can get and suck it up.
According to Wikipedia, a related phrase is “When resources are limited, one must accept even substandard gifts.” The substandard word adds an interesting twist to this post for to me it exemplifies what I want to illustrate.
A few days ago a blog reader (that I really like and admire) wrote me a private email and said the following:
“You have never had a reunion. It’s the reunion that never happened.
You have nothing to lose by begging your daughter for just one hour. You have already lost it all.
Suz, take a risk and beg her. I wish you would as you greatly deserve a happily ever after.”
Apologies to the writer but… beg her? Um, no.
I fully accept that the friend who suggested this has my best interests at heart. While I have never met her IRL, what she has shared of herself with me leads me to be very confident I would like her very much if were to meet and become F2F friends. My resistance to “begging” my daughter to meet me has nothing to do with said friend and everything to do with me, my beliefs, my personal view of myself, and perhaps most importantly, my self-esteem.
Let’s think about this. Let’s start our thinking by dissecting the word “beg” (cuz the word nerd inside me? Well she does these sorts of things).
[beg] verb, begged, beg•ging. verb (used with object)
1.to ask for as a gift, as charity, or as a favor: to beg alms; to beg forgiveness.
2. to ask (someone) to give or do something; implore: He begged me for mercy. Sit down, I beg you.
3. to take for granted without basis or justification: a statement that begs the very point we’re disputing.
4. to fail or refuse to come to grips with; avoid; evade: a report that consistently begs the whole problem.
“To ask for a gift, charity or a favor”
Meeting her in real life, again, is not a gift, a charity or a favor, at least not in my opinion. Viewing it as such objectifies her, yet again, makes her an object of desire, an object that can make me happy and whole, much like adopting her may have made her infertile adoptive mother. I do not view her that way and I will not objectify her in such a manner. She is a living breathing human being not some salve, some bees’ balm to heal my wounded heart. She is my child not the happiness elixir for my life. I am responsible for my life and my happiness and only I can make it a fulfilling one. To suggest my child can do so for me, is to objectify children. I realize those that sell children and some who adopt do view them as objects. I do not. My daughter is my child, my DNA, a part of me, an extension of me, an yet also a sentient being all to herself and to suggest she is gift, a charity, or an object is offensive to me. It dehumanizes me (the maker of that gift) and her as well.
“to ask (someone) to give or do something”
I have asked my daughter, many times, to meet, to talk, to converse. For nearly eight years, she has refused. I accept that even if I hope for different. Whatever her reasons are (regardless of whether you and I may find them acceptable), I believe they must be respected. I don’t like my daughters’ decisions but I do feel I must respect them. She is not a child. I realize everyone wants to minimize her decision not to meet by saying “she is sooooooooooooo young”. I say that is statement rests along side a hot steamy pile of cow manure. She is 26 years old. She is no longer a baby. Her decisions are adult ones.
Now that I have dissected parts of the dictionary.com definition, I will share something more personal.
Since the day I contacted her I have gotten the feeling, in her words and her actions (or lack thereof) that my daughter considers me a pathetic needy fuck up of a woman. Society may have taught her this, perhaps her adoptive parents did, and maybe it is a projection of some sort, transference or other. Maybe she came upon this by her own thinking based on this blog, my emails, and the gifts I have sent. Why she may think that, if she thinks that, is not as important as is the fact that I feel she does.
I am not, and never was, a needy fuck up of a woman. Vulnerable? Yes. Naïve? At times, yes. Preyed upon? Yes. Suffering from low self esteem? At times, yes. A bad mother? Never. Fucked up? Never. However, that is the impression I get from the few emails she sent me. She feels responsible for me, as if her birth and adoption broke me, ruined my life, fucked me up beyond definition and only she can fix me and she does not want the job. Yes, I have had issues with adoption trauma but ADOPTION, the loss of her, Easter House, the lies told to me, the isolation, deceit, caused that pain — not her. Therefore she could never fix it and should never be held responsible for it.
Those that know me will be screaming at this point that I am far from fucked up but you will be missing a key point. You know me. She doesn’t. She chooses not to. Until she does, if she ever does, I believe she may find comfort in the idea that I am some sort of a frail needy woman sucking my own snot rag as I reach helplessly for nearby walls.
I don’t want, or need, my daughter to feel sorry for me. I don’t want her to meet me as any kind of favor, or charity. I don’t want her to feel her meeting me will “fix me” as adopting her may have fixed her adoptive mother (if it did, I don’t know). I want her to meet me because she wants to, not because she has been forced by my pathetic begging. If she never wants to, if she never has that adoptee curiosity, never wants to know her brothers, her medical history, or where she got her hair color addiction and fabulous green eyes, that is her prerogative, her choice.
So friend, forgive me, but I will not be a beggar.
I will forever allow her to be a chooser.