If you keep asking questions you’ll keep getting answers

My therapist always warns me about asking “why”. I remember the first time he did it and even back then I knew why asking why was a bad idea. Why questions tend to lead to more why questions and rarely result in helpful answers.  My therapist just wants me to be happy, to be content, and asking why is not the way to get there. I know that, but I still say…

So What!

I’m not seeking contentment. I”m not seeking happiness. I’m seeking the truth.  For that I would rather follow the advice of Miss Frizzle from the Magic School Bus. She says is fond of saying, “Take chances, make mistakes, get messy.” These are words to live by. Yes, there is wisdom to be found even in children’s programming and Magic School Bus is one of my favorites. I watched it all the time with my kids when they were young and I’ve recently started watching it again with a three year old friend of mine.

He’s really into the episode about the Haunted House so I’ve watched it probably half a dozen times. In this episode, Carlos is trying to build a musical instrument.  Try as he might, his instrument still sounds loopy. He doesn’t know what he did wrong. He doesn’t know what he is going to do to fix it. The only advice Miss Frizzly has is, “Well, if you keep asking questions, Carlos, you’ll keep getting answers.”

I’ve been asking myself a lot of questions lately and I have been getting a lot of answers although most of them have not been that helpful. My biggest questions are, “Why is my best friend not talking to me?” and “Why is my daughter not talking to me?” These are difficult questions to answer when the person with the answer isn’t talking to me. Logic would suggest that I just give it up, let it go, get on with my life… but I don’t. I just keep asking more questions.

Why can’t I move on?

Why do I care?

Why do I believe what I believe?

Why do I like what I like?

Why do I do what I do?

Why can’t I stop asking questions?

This is the behaviour of someone who is searching. This is the behaviour of someone who is missing something. But what am I missing? I have everything I need, in fact I have more than I need so why do I still feel this hole in my soul?

Well, I think that I have finally found the answer… and no, it is not helpful but it is the truth.

It’s an answer for which I have been searching nearly forty-seven years. It’s an answer which has been there the whole time but one which I have never allowed myself to look at.  It’s an answer I haven’t been able to look at until now. It’s an answer I have probably been training my entire life to receive. It’s an answer which could not be found by asking. There is no way to find this answer. It had to come to me which is strange because it is not something that is out there. It is something that is in me. It is something so basic to who I am. It is what burns at the core of my being. It is something so primal that there is no language to explain it. It is not an answer that I could find by thinking. It is something that I needed to feel.

You see, I was put up for adoption at birth. That not really a big deal. It’s certainly no great revelation. I grew up knowing that I was adopted. I understand a lot of the implications of being adopted. Adopted people tend to have more problems than the general population and the reasons for this are pretty straight forward. There are always those questions about where we come from. There is an understanding that someone who is considering putting a child up for adoption is likely to have a stressful pregnancy. We know that stress can affect fetal development. Open adoption has worked to remedy some of these issues but there is still something more going on. There is still something that we don’t want to look at. We are still told that adoption is a beautiful wonderful thing. It takes a child who needs a home and places that child in a home that needs someone to love.

What could be more beautiful than that?

We could stop asking questions right now and just go along our merry way and if you want to be happy, I highly recommend doing just that. Stop reading right here because you don’t want to know what I am about to tell you.

What really happens to a child when that child is put up for adoption?

This is not a question which can be answered through observation. The adoption process is very personal. The child has no memory of the birth. Well… at least no explicit memory. But I was there. I did go through this experience and recently I became able to remember. But it’s not your typical memory. There are no details, there are no pictures, there are no words. It’s more like a psychic connection. This memory has been sitting inside of me all along without me being able to understand it. Somehow, through the course of everything that I have been through I am now able to decode it. I am now able to give it words.

This is what happened to me. This is how my life began and this is why I have spent my entire life searching. I remember life before I was born. I remember being in utero. That womb was my entire universe. My mother was the be all and end all of everything. Upon my birth my universe disappeared. Everything I ever knew, everything that made any sense, was gone. You might say that this experience is not unique. Every child goes through this at the point of birth and I would not refute that. We have all been through this trauma and it’s probably the greatest trauma we will ever experience until we die.  It is probably a good thing that we don’t remember it.

But my trauma was different. The trauma of birth for an adopted child is different. I never got to be held by my universe. I never got to connect with my world. I never got to experience all that my time in utero was preparing me for. I was born to a foreign world, surrounded by aliens.

Anyway, now I understand it and that is pretty fucking cool. Now I know the trauma that I have experienced and I can begin to heal… if I want to. I’m not sure I do. I now understand that I have this huge gaping wound but you know what? It has served me pretty well. Sure, it makes me more sensitive to pain but so what? At least it’s real… and it’s mine.

—–

I was given something else to think about yesterday. It was suggested that I could get more of what I want and cause a lot less trouble if I just kept my mouth shut. That is really good advice. I’m actually pretty good at keeping my mouth shut I would rather not. I would rather just share everything that is on my mind. I guess that is where this blog comes from. Still, along with my insistence on asking questions, speaking my mind has probably caused ninety-nine percent of my problems. I’m pretty sure that my best friend would still be talking to me if I had learned when to keep my mouth shut. Also, I might have to quit drinking if I want to practice keeping my mouth shut. Those two things don’t seem to go together very well.

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Why relationships fail

I just spent the weekend with someone that I have been friends with for nearly 30 years so I feel like I know a thing or two about how to make relationships last… but I don’t. I do however know a thing or two about how to make relationships fail. I’m been sitting on this knowledge for a while because I’ve been thinking, “Who the fuck am I to be giving relationship advice?”

I really thought it would be a great post. I even had a great title, “The Three C’s of Relationship Failure”. But then, today, I learned of another C and decided I might as well put this out there now before I get any smarter and it becomes too much to write about. Relationships are way too complicated to put in a blog post anyway. By the way, complicated is not one of the C’s that I had thought of.  To me that is not an issue, that should just be a given if you plan on getting into a relationship.

So here are my three C’s: Communication, Compatibility and Control.

I’m going to take on Compatibility first because it’s the easiest. Some people are just not meant to be together. You want different things, you believe different things, you want to do different things; maybe you want to be with different people. That’s not a bad thing. It doesn’t mean that either of you are bad people. It just may mean that you don’t want to be with each other… at least not in that way. So don’t. If you do work in another way then do that. Not everybody can be everything to everybody but everyone has something to give.

I know that there are many relationships that survive between people who never talk but they are probable between people that never should have been together in the first place. Sorry, some relationships suck even if they stay together. Communication is key to any relationship and communication is not easy. Read my post Lost In Translation. I think that more relationships end because of problems with communication than anything else. I’m sure that there are other problems but the problems wouldn’t seem so big if we could just understand each other. People just want to be heard, to be seen, to matter and if there is bad communication, that is not happening.

The other one is Control and this one is big. We have control over ourselves but when we try to control others, problems are guaranteed to happen. Believe me, I get it. Shit is out of control and so the natural response is to try and control it. It just doesn’t actually make things better. Well, it may make things better for you, but this is a relationship which means it’s not all about you! You can’t MAKE a relationship work. You need to step back and LET a relationship work. I’m sorry if that’s a little Zen for you but it’s true. There are a lot of things that you can make work but a relationship is not one of them.

Okay, and then today I learned about another reason and it really makes sense to me. I call this one Competition. I know that historically relationships have been held between people of unequal status with defined roles. I think that is a totally fucked up concept but it doesn’t matter what I think; that shit just doesn’t fly these days. But competition can still occur in a relationship between equals especially if you are in the same field. In the example that I heard today they were both competing to be the best parent. Yeah, I can totally see that a being a problem. Seriously people, if you both are trying to do your best to care for a child that should be a good thing. Don’t let competition screw it up!

As I’ve been thinking about this subject I’ve come to the realization that there is another issue that is probably bigger than all the others combined. We all mess up in these areas. None of use are perfectly compatible with each other. We all struggle at communication and we all have control issues. It is in our nature to be competitive. If we want to make it work we need to learn to accept our faults and the faults of our partner. I’m not saying that every couple should just suck it up and deal but if you have found someone that you really love… then work on it.

If you have compatibility issues then work on them.

If you have communication issues them work on them.

If you have control issues then work on them.

If you have competition issues then work on them.

Love is worth it!

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