Being thankful and expressing gratitude has never been hard for me, however this year I found it incredibly difficult. Actually, it was nearly impossible.
While thinking about the perfect words to express what I’m thankful for (for a Facebook status of course), I realized that all of the words felt empty and meaningless, like something being said merely for the sake of saying something. I had lost the ability to articulate, or even come close to articulating, what I’m thankful for. This was deeply troubling, as what does that say about someone?
Slowly, I realized that I still felt a tremendous amount of gratitude, however due to all of the contradictions and conflict occurring within, I couldn’t find a way to clearly express everything (nor did I feel right in doing so).
This entire search process is being conducted in secret; only two other people know. As such, I’m constantly carrying around an overwhelming sense of guilt when surrounded by friends and family, as keeping something this big a secret is nothing short of inauthentic…and I have a big problem with that.
But, perhaps the worst part about this search is that it juxtaposes the feelings I have toward my birth parents with those toward my adoptive family; pulling me closer to one and pushing me further from the other.
If you haven’t figured it out yet, my adoptive family and I are not close…at all. I know that they love me and I love them, but we’ll never have that deep love for one another that is only achieved by truly knowing the other. I’ve come to terms with that and sadly, I’m well beyond the point of wanting it. (And I get that this admittance makes me a horrible person.)
While eating Thanksgiving dinner I saw a stream of pictures of my brother with his sister-in-laws, each picture accompanied with a full recount of the corresponding memory. Watching the happiness beam from their faces and hearing their laughter as it reverberated throughout, I couldn’t help but feel happy for him; happy that he had found a sister(s). I can only hope that having found them helped fill the void that I (might have) left, and that it has given him peace (that is, if he was ever conflicted by our lack of a real relationship).
This led me to thoughts about my parents and how thankful I am that they have a son that they’re able to be close to; someone to receive that treasured parent-child connection from. Nonetheless, I’ll always feel guilty for not giving them that relationship from me.
The next day, while eating leftovers with my dad I became inundated with sadness. As we were silently eating I looked over at my dad and noticed how he would turn his attention to the television in the background and then back to his plate, rarely looking up at me. While his eyes were downcast, I could see and sense his sadness at the display of how distant we were– two people, not talking and not even looking at each other. His sadness instantly became part of me, and as I melded it with my own, this image of the epitome of sadness forever etched itself into my memory. It was enough for me to want to breakdown and say “I’m so so so sorry,” but as the sadness of it all overtook me, I found myself hurrying to escape the room.
All of this is occurring in the context during a point where my mom and I aren’t on speaking terms. After hearing about things she has said regarding my current life decisions, one of which being that the reason my ‘life-fail’ occurred was because I “no longer had Jesus,” I find myself actually angry for the first time. I feel cold. And I hate that; it’s so uncharacteristically like me.
Needless to say, this Thanksgiving has been rough and has left me hoping that the holidays hurry up and pass.
The faster, the better.