I think she said it five times. The first time she said it she was introducing herself and sharing that this was only the second time she had spoken publicly about being adopted trans-racially. The second time she said it was during her response to one of the moderators questions related to triad relationships. The third, fourth and maybe fifth (I could be wrong on the count) was in later conversations.
She was afraid of herself.
Afraid of herself? What did that mean she was afraid of herself? I was startled by the statement the first time she said it. The second time, having been given more time to ponder it, I found myself beginning to understand, at least in my own way. Yet I still wanted to ask her to explain in more detail.
I have been afraid of myself. I am not adopted but I am very aware of a power, a rage, and an anger that resides within me. I am afraid of it. I keep I contained. I mind my emotions, my language, my relationships, my situations. I keep the anger on a short leash and work hard to keep him (funny I consider it a male) contained. It is the male part of my psyche. My animus.
I am fearful of the powerful aspect of my personality. I know what it can do, the havoc it can wreak, the ease with which it can decimate the ego of another human being and the desire it has to do so.
I know what is like to be afraid of your self.
Yet I don’t think she was referring to that. I don’t know. As I think more about it I reflect once again that adopted children, later adults, are incredibly powerful beings – sort of. Oh, they aren’t powerful enough to obtain their own birth certificates but they hold power – magical as it may be. Consider the following.
My unborn child had the power to make my mother cry, my father call me a dirty c*nt whore that could not keep her legs closed. My unborn child had the power to make the neighbors gossip and the family whisper when I walked by.
My unborn child had the power to destroy my life. The instant she sucked in her first breath of oxygen outside of my womb she would, allegdgedly, suck in my future, my ability to succeed, my intelligence. She would damn me to welfare lines and food stamps. She would erase my exceptional intelligence much like a scene from Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. She would prevent me from ever being loved by another man. The instant the spark of life turned her into a shapeless zygote she took away my ability to be considered “marriage material”. She tarnished and branded me. She was an incredibly powerful infant even if she could not walk, talk or feed herself.
While she had the power to destroy my life, she also had the power to repair the broken lives of stranger couples. She could heal the wounds of infertility. She could turn the unproductive productive and the fruitless fruitful and in certain cases make the breed less breed. How many couples magically are able to conceive once they obtain the child born to another? What power these abandoned adopted children have! They can fix ovaries! They can help sperm swim upstream and shake hands with ovum. They can make real children be born to real families! They help God implement his plan! Wow!
(Clearly I am being a teeny bit facetious.)
Voltaire, a French dude I am rather fond of (see quote top left of my blog), is quoted has having said “with great power comes great responsibility”. Think about that in terms of the magical power we give these helpless children. Society gives them the magical power to destroy mothers’ lives and fix the infertile families lives but what unspoken or spoken responsibility does that come with? What burden?
Is that why the panelist was afraid of herself? Did she understand the power and suggested responsibility that society, so wrongfully bestowed upon her? Was she speaking in terms of being responsible for fixing her parents, making them happy, ensuring she was the solution to their fertility problem? Was she fearful of her feelings in relation to situation and what it might mean to the greater good if she were to object to it? Was she afraid of what else that power might be capable of? Or was she terrified of what else society might expect of her and her fanciful powers? Would expressing her feelings to be so powerful that they would systematically undo what her original power had allegedly done? Or was she simply expressing my own sentiment – she was afraid of the power of her own feelings, in my case, anger.
Clearly I don’t and cannot know. What I do know and feel is appropriate for me to suggest is that society needs to discontinue ingesting the idea that children, new born helpless infants hold the power to make or break families. We do that. You do it. I did it. My mother and father did it. Easter House Adoption agency did it. Man continues to do that. The Law does that. In realizing that we need to also accept responsibility for what we do to adopted children – past, present and future.