My previous blog I wrote about how the words of Andrew Solomon can be related to the adoptees journey to forge meaning and building identity. This will be a self examination of my life's journey of forging meaning and ultimately accepting my identity as a functioning left brain sided rational human being with a predisposition to tell it like i see it regardless.
I like everyone else was born in a traumatic event. The very nature of being expelled from one home for 9 months must be a traumatic even but none of us , or very few will ever remember it. That has affected most men in that at least once a week they like to lay back in a snug enclosed chair with their food and drink and remote control and watch the footy or cricket. I myself had other traumas from that period which I do not remember but which like the actual birth has affected me unknowingly. The first is the ongoing stress and trauma my mother was going through. my fathers sister in law told me of the time my mother appeared at her place very early in January 1950 so distressed and could not stop crying. She was looking for my father, who by this time had bolted in fear of his well being, and that she was being shoved into a Salvation Army home, how the family was continually continually calling her a slut a whore and any other form of abuse they could think of. In her dairies she tells how she was blamed for her grandmothers death because of the shame she bestowed upon the family. this stress would have been traumatic for me in the womb as the adrenaline and other coping hormones coursed through her blood steam into my body. Trauma number two to over come and i had just been born. Add in sometime shortly after birth I was snipped as the custom of the day.
Unlike later years such as the sixties, the accepted trend in Salvation Army homes was for the mother to remain and feed the child until adoption. The reasoning for this was simple. it was to punish the mother by getting them to build a closer bond with the baby, then have it ripped away thus creating a greater pain for the mother so she would not sin again. secondary were the the fact that they did not have to provide formula for the babies and they could also pocket the child endowment that the federal government paid for the child. Te were also being paid to keep the mother there by accommodation fees. So here i was at 6 weeks of age nicely accustomed to the nipple and bang off i went to the great unknown. The date 14 April 1950. I have since discovered that my new parents were in Ballarat on holiday on Anzac day 1950 (25 April) but not with me. i was at some relatives place so double whammy. no wonder in those early months and my first Tasmanian winter on earth I suffered chronic bronchitis. So people this is the beginning of finding identity.
Identity is a funny concept. Macquarie describes identity as " the condition of being oneself or itself and not another" being just one of the description. But identity crisis it is more precise" a phase of crisis in the attempt of an individual to establish his or her identity in relation society" So as a layman i look at identity being who you are at any given point of time and who you was also at any given point of time. For most of my life I never gave much thought to identity I was who i was. I was a child who did not fit in, I was a high school student living away from home, I was a teenager who was more interested in girls and fun in lieu of work which was a means of having money to make fun. I was a serviceman for twenty years, a retired serviceman now for 26 years, i have been a husband for 44 years a father for nearly that long as well, I have been a research interviewer for nearly 16 years and am now a carer. For most of my life I have never thought about identity as a place in society but there i was.
During those years, I had a friend who died after a ute rolled, I was a passenger in a car and had a boy die in my arms after he decided to ride in front of us, I separated from my wife for about 6 months, rode a pushbike down a monsoon drain, ride a pushbike into Malaysian police motor bikes and many other things. had the Malay military cock their weapons because i ignored them, had a antiaircraft gun pointed at me from about 10 feet with a full blank up the barrel. been in a couple of vehicle accidents Oh and yes found out i was adopted at the age of 34. Had all the normal households problems like the neighbour coming into my house and taking my son to his to clean up with me not there, deaths in the family.
I mention all these inane little traumas to say that my identity which i never thought of much had been influenced and determined how i live my life has been influenced by all these trauma's. They have influenced the way i look at people and how i react in situations. It took me many years after discovery to understand that my identity is not and was never mixed up with my natural parents nor for that matter my adoptive parents. it has been created by me , myself and I. That is not to say that events can happen that may change your very nature.
During the senate reference committee inquiry, I found that many people have a dogmatic view and if you do not follow that view regardless of the accuracy of that view they will attempt to destroy you emotionally to shut you down. One of the most traumatic events was the time i was curled up in a bed in a motel unable to move because of the high level of abuse being tossed at me. and like most people being bullied i just had to look at what else was being said. One weekend whilst away from home I discovered that one particular Facebook page dedicated a full afternoon into abusing and telling pure lies about me. Another time a attack was made on this blog page which made vile accusations about me. These accusation were to appear later on a page my daughter was a member of.
Again I am not wanting to drag over the old coals but I am using to describe how this has now made me into a person who can actually hate some people. before this I would get angry and yes even today still do but it always passes and i am left wondering why folk are cranky with me. but from the multitudes of actions I have become more and more intolerant of people who create false statements to stir people emotions and people up.I am intolerant of people who refuse to read the actual overall facts and claim their personal truth is the overall truth. I despise people who make false claims about me no matter in what context. This happened yesterday and today by one person from Launceston Tasmania because he did not like my opinion. I am single minded on untruths and that is based on the fact i was never told i was adopted, finding out by myself and the attempts to really smear me. This is a perfect example of how life's trauma's affect your identity.
I don't have a family identity not really belonging to natural or adoptive families. My own children would be the first to acknowledge we are not a traditional lovey dovey family and i rarely have deep discussions because i know it will get them offside. I identify myself as a Australian and am proud of being a Australian and as such i belong to this wonderful multicultural country which has many arseholes but in general is full of good decent people struggling to make life, forging meaning and building their own identities.
As a person I am now back to being me identifying as me, identifying with the adoptee community and not thinking too much about my identity as my identity will keep evolving and keep changing depending upon the circumstances and I will try not to let the past consciously control me even though many times it does