I’ve had a bit of a sidetrack on my recovery journey, due to some health stuff, but I’m proud to say that at my psychiatry appointment on Friday I surpassed her expectations and the goals set at my last session. *happy dance*
Last time she helped me look at the failed adoption as a miscarriage and the goals were to grieve and let go of the grief that I will never have the life I had planned for since I was a child. It hit me one day that I’ve had to adapt almost all expectations of my life all ready, due to my illness, so realistically not having children in our life together is just one more expectation to change. He and I still make a family, with the relatives and friends that support and love us as the bubble of family around us. A child isn’t a requirement to be a family. It still hurts at times to be missing out on the special moments and to not have the parenting aspect to share, but this different path gives us other opportunities we wouldn’t otherwise have, such as traveling and exploring other educational avenues.
Another goal that tied in to everything was to learn to value myself. To stand up for my needs, demand respect, and let go of toxic influences. One huge lesson was to stop trying to obtain verbal praise and validation from others for what I had done/achieved or for my personal growth. I realized that I have sought that my entire life, especially from male figures, and is also probably part of what made me an easy target for my ex. It also held me back in a lot of ways. So I’m learning to embrace my inner badass, which is a comment that my psych loved hearing. I’m a complex, flawed person, but I’m a survivor and I’m stronger for that. So yeah, I won’t use a more polite term. I’m embracing my inner badass. *grin*
In realizing that I value myself and my personal journey, it was an epiphany to me that I have sought L’s verbal validation for about 20 years, yet he’s always shown me that he values me. It’s just not his style and not an empowering way to show me that he values me, so I felt like I was lacking for years because I was so lost in trying to find that validation of value. He became friends with, admired, and married a strong woman; there isn’t a higher vote of confidence than that, really.
That realization made me feel even stronger and a few days ago I actually unpacked the adoption tote. In my immediate grief I boxed everything I possibly could that we didn’t send to Kid via the social worker. I hid that tote under a pile in the back of a closet. Last week I took the label off, threw out some of the items that can’t be donated or are too personal to share, and sorted the rest. I then packed a box for my friend to give to a couple that she knows is adopting. I even sent along my adoption tee and all of my adoption necklaces, which I wore instead of my cross throughout most of the adoption journey. It wasn’t as hard as I expected, honestly. It mostly was bittersweet to see and touch all of these tokens of hope. I seriously love that I’m able to share these with others that are holding that hope inside as well and that the items might help them through the tough times during their journey.
While sitting next to the box I realized that I was staring at the joint bookcase for Kid and I, which I had filled with some of the keepsakes I had always planned to pass down, along with my literature keepsakes. It dawned on me that I don’t have a child to pass my little treasures to, but I have loved ones that I can, so after checking with their mom that it would be okay, I also boxed up some of my book collections, like the Anne of Green Gables and Emily sets. I have three large mailing boxes to send all ready. LOL I know that my nieces will find as much joy and wonder in the books as I did, and my friend knows how much these books mean to me (they’re some of the few possessions that I truly value and wanted to pass on), so it makes me so incredibly happy to be passing my beloved books on to them. I don’t have to throw out or donate them for a library fundraiser, and know that they’ll still find life, so to speak, in the hands of much loved avid readers.
I also wrote an addendum to my will, which I’ll need to get witnessed, for the remaining treasures like fossils and collector items to be passed on to them and other kids/young adults. I’m not sure when my illness will overtake me and it is utterly heart lifting to realize that I can still pass on the few material things I treasure. I’ve always thought that passing down those little things are an incredibly meaningful way of saying “I love you”, especially if receiving gifts is part of their love language, so this all was a huge step in processing and leaving the other fork in the road behind. This progress left both my psych and I with red eyes after discussing all of it. I didn’t need that validation anymore, but the joy and hug meant a lot. So I straightened my imaginary superhero cape and walked out to L with a huge smile on my face, followed by a big thank you for showing me all of this time how much he values and supports me.
I hope this vulnerable post, and blogging this difficult journey, helps you find and celebrate your value, too, especially if you find yourself on a wildly different path than you ever wanted or dreamed of.