Recently I learned a new term, cosmic loneliness. I first heard this term in the Same Race Adoptee Group that I facilitate monthly. I looked it up because something about it resonated with me.
"...Further types of loneliness include existential loneliness, cosmic loneliness - feeling alone in a hostile universe, and cultural loneliness - typically found among immigrants who miss their home culture"...
After reading this definition the term resonated less. I don't feel alone in a hostile universe. Feeling alone in an indifferent universe is a bit more accurate.
On paper I have lots of friends and family but only on paper, not in real life. My adopted father was the youngest of 12 so that meant a ton of cousins. But I had no close relationship with any of them. Once my adopted parents passed away I have no relationship at all with them. In my adopted family there were 6 children. As an adult I had maintained a connection with one adopted brother and one foster sister. Now at 47 years old it seems as if those connections have vanished. My biological mother had 7 children. Despite my best efforts I have not been able to really bond or connect with them. I recently did dna testing to find my biological father. I now know who he was and have met some relatives through social media. Through the dna testing I was connected with other members of my biological mother's family as well. We have a monthly family zoom in an attempt to get to know each other and that has been nice. It is really hard on me to reach out to relatives that are unresponsive. It really breaks my heart. It breaks my heart and almost brings me to tears. Other folks might be able to brush it off and keep it moving but I am heart broken and feeling rejected. Every morning I send a sweet Good Morning text to my "family" but get responses from a few but not everybody. It makes me sad and never want to reach out to any of them every again. Then the next morning I try again. I try to remind myself to go where the joy is. Don't be sad for the folks that don't want to be around me but to be happy for the ones that do. It is so hard to do when it feels like there really are not any that do. My partner does want to be around me. I worry about how hard it is on her to be the only one or just one of 2 people. My bff wants to be around me but she lives in another state. It is hard to be surrounded by people and still feel lonely. When you are a foster child you are told in more ways than one that you were not wanted and you should be grateful for anyone giving you the time of day. I worked so hard to look for proof that people liked me for me and not just what I can to do for them for so long to have this feeling triggered again. I stopped saying yes out of obligation or to earn love, acceptance, or being liked. Then I get to see who is still around and it aint that many folks. People often say I rather have one real friend that many fake ones. They never mention how having one real friend can actually be a job for that one real friend. It is also a job on us to pace and be careful not to over burden or drain that one real friend.
It has taken me almost my entire 46 years to know what it means to be my authentic self. The other day I realized why this has been a struggle for me all of my life. I was on this social media platform called "clubhouse" in an empowerment room regarding being your authentic self. Many of the people in the room talked about being bullied by peers and wanting to fit in. They spoke about religious upbringing and how that taught them not to be themselves but who they should be. It was very interesting to me because I could relate but not 100%. I was never one to give into peer pressure or want to fit in. In my youth I there were attempts to bully me but I was a little fighter. I would fight back. After really giving some thought about when and why it is hard to be my authentic self I realized that my propensity to be what I believed people wanted me to be stemmed from the fact that I was in foster care and eventually adopted.
While in foster care all I ever wanted was a family of my own. One that would love and accept me for me. I learned early on that in order to have shot at this I needed to be what my foster/adopted family wanted and needed me to be. My final foster home, which became my adopted home was with a minister and his wife. Most of my life I heard over and over what a misters daughter should and should not do, what a ministers daughter should and should not say, what a ministers daughter should and should not wear. Every aspect of my being was policed in this way. My desire to have my own family was so strong I would go along to get along to keep the illusion in tact. It did not take long for me to not even know who I was any more.
After being in this "clubhouse" room I realized that in order for me to be my authentic self I needed to get to know my authentic self first. After that I needed to stop judging and comparing my authentic self. At 46 I am now accepting my authentic self with love and tenderness. Being willing to share my authentic self with the world is proof. So for those that love it, ENJOY! For those that don't, OH WELL!
If any of this resonates with you please do leave me a comment about your journey to learning, accepting, and sharing your authentic self. Also please do share this blog post with your friends, family and community members. You never know who might need this message.
It has always bothered me when people call me an African queen or a descendant of Kings and Queens of Africa. It bothers me for three main reasons:
My Big Sister
After finding my birth father's family I found out that he had a daughter before me. This meant that I had another sister that I had never met and did not even know of my existence! On May 11th I began looking for her. After searching all social media and coming up with nothing I created a post that I hoped would go viral and eventually get to her.
"Hello Facebook Friends and Family. I really need your help! I seriously need this post to go viral. As many of you know thanks to DNA testing, I found my birth father and his family. When I was conceived, he had a ten year old daughter named Phyllis Smith. She was born in SF in 1965. Her last known address is in Oakland. I do not know the exact address. My father's family has not been able to locate her for many years. My sister is out there, I just know it. I need to find her so we can meet for the very first time. She does not even know I exist. Please share this because somebody has to know who and where she is. She should be 54 years old. She might be married. Please share and tell everyone you know to share also.
With much love and gratitude Thank you in advance".
Literally a few hours later someone said that they knew her! I then added an update to my post, "Update: I FOUND MY SISTER! I am so happy right now! I am so happy to have a chance to get to know her.
Thank you so much to everybody that shared my post. It is because of y'all that I found her".
I can hardly believe that it has been a year already since finding her.
When what you need does not exsist, create it.
I have been in therapy for years seeking healing for the trauma caused by my adoption experience. Maybe 2 years ago I began participating in a BIPOC adoptee support group. The group is great. There just were not many same race Black adoptees in the group. So I am in the process of starting a group with another same race Black adoptee that we will co-facilitate. Please do reach out if you are interested.
I found him!
On May 10th, 2019 I found my birth father. I was determined to find him dead or alive. My whole life I was given different stories about him. I did not know what to believe. I was so tired of wondering and not knowing. Because of having an adopted father I wondered about my birth father but my wondering was fleeting. After the death of my adopted father the fleeting wondering became much more intense and constant.
Through DNA testing I found my birth father and his family. He is deceased. I will never speak to him, hug him, or hold his hand but I am so happy to know his name, have his picture, and be able to talk to his sister (my aunt) about him. I am so happy!
All people come from 2 parents and not knowing caused me to question my very humanity. I often believed I came from the same egg as Mork on the 80's sitcome Mork and Mindy. I have always known my birth mother and not being able to get a clear answer from her about my birth father had always been sadening, angering and disappointing. Before I took the DNA test I told her I what I had planned to do. I told her "I will find him, dead or alive"! She did not seem to be upset by this and when I told her I had found his family she seemed happy that I was happy.
Now that I am slowly trying to get to know birth father (through stories from his family) I feel a sense of wholeness and completeness I have never felt before.