I was listening to the ABC broadcast of the ANZAC day march and i heard the RSL commentator report how the Peacekeepers marching are very few but one day the will join the real soldiers. This fired a trigger in me because one of the reasons i have not had anything to do with ex service clubs, even after twenty years in the Royal Australian Air Force, was because i hated being told I was not a real serviceman.
Normally a trigger like that would make me angry but this time it made me reflect as to why such a statement triggers me. And it would appear that it goes back to my past.
I think from the time i can remember I never felt like i fitted in and the feelings of discomfort i have in thinking of my local town exacerbates this. Whilst my a/parents did their best, i felt that the extended Legro and Yates family looked down at me. Whilst this may only be an impression there must be some basis for it. later on after i found out about my true past, I learnt that my older brother, also adopted attempted to find out more about the history of the Legro family only to be rebuffed because he was not a real Legro and a few years ago i dropped in for a hour chats with a cousin i had not seen in years from the Yates side, only to be told to make an appointment next time. So maybe as a child i detected these feelings of not being a real member of the extended family.
When i was nearly twelve i went to Launceston to go to high school and after boarding at my uncles hotel for three months, my parents found me a place to board with a good Christian family not far from the school. There were four people in the family and i had to sleep in the room of a 28 year old man and their daughter was 21. They were good people but they were not my real family . And my a/parents i saw on weekends and holidays . as the years progressed i tended to skip going home and not long after i started working at 15 I gradually reduced it to almost zero.
I joined the RAAF in 1968 and lived in barracks until 12 months after my marriage in December 1969. One thing that annoyed me was the fact that my father in law continually decried i did not have a real job but earned more money than him. Again this issue of what was real flared. But in the RAAF itself no such issue arose and i was able to be part of a team or extended family, albeit the black sheep because my job involved auditing them and investigating their discrepancies. And my family was quiet possibly a accessory to the RAAF. Working that one out is going to be a hard case to crack. Finding out i was adopted in 1984 definitely brought images of having a phony life and unreal past
Anyway i retired from the RAAF in 1988, was in the RSL for twelve months before giving it the flick because of the real issue and became a suburban husband , albeit not too good at that one. I found my mother and her first letter said that " She was not my mother only the person who gave birth to me" again images of unreality. Then when she said via her sister she could not handle meeting me it further invoked that feelings around what is reality plus the normal rejections. After her death one of her daughters disowned me saying she hated me representing her mothers past and i was not a member of that family (not real again)
So this particular trigger has been well fed by circumstances. Even the Salvation army bloke who did not even acknowledge initially the home i was born in created a trigger whereby I have very deep suspicions as to the integrity of the Salvation army something that has bought me into conflict with a friend of mine.
The final straw was the fact that a few mothers continued to denigrate our past by implying we were brainwashed, Stockholm syndrome etc as well as implying our a/parents were baby stealer's. By pushing that dogmatic agenda they were reinforcing the distress of not being real and eventually it became a major issue.
as you can see the abuse of the word real has been a major issue in my life and i wonder just how many other adoptee's have had the same reality