The Difference in Today, Feeling the Feels

I’ve come to a recent discovery after doing some self-reflection that I am someone that takes longer than your average person to process feelings, especially ones that are considered heavy or disheartening. I’m naturally a BIG feeler and a deep thinker.

While discovering this, it has been said that this is a “hang-up” or a “bad thing.” As I ask myself, “am I defective for taking so long to process things?” or “is something wrong with me for taking so long to process things?” I’ve been trying to process why I am this way, and I had an epiphany this morning.

I take longer than the average person to process things, because I’m feeling the feelings and processing them. I’m not side stepping or avoiding truly feeling and processing feelings. I’m doing the work, I’m evaluating my part, and caring enough about myself to not rush the process. This is self-care. This is self-love. This is putting myself first, and in return I can show up for others in a more grounded way. I spent 27 years drinking alcohol to numb my reality, to escape.

While running, I didn’t have to put in the work to feel the feelings and process the pain. I jumped from one shit storm to another for 27 years. I didn’t show up but a shell of me did. Avoidance worked until I decided I wanted to get real with myself, and all the problems I had been running from for 27+ years showed up at my front doorstep. I could only run for so long… 27 years is ALONG TIME!

The difference in today…

Today, I’m no longer running home to drink so I don’t have to feel. A shell of me is no longer showing up, but all of me is, along with my imperfections. As I approach a 9-year milestone in my recovery and alcohol-free journey (8/13/12) I am taking note of the way things are for me now, verses the way things used to be. I’m no longer depending on alcohol to take the pain away; I’m depending on myself to put in the work to do that.

This takes a while.

I’m not a robot.

While others might say this is a negative thing, or something they can’t live with or tolerate, I can say I’m proud of myself and how far I’ve come. It’s taken a lot of self-work, blood sweat and tears to learn how to process real and raw feelings after spending 27 years escaping them. No one has shown me how to do this, I have no mother, father, siblings, aunts, or uncles pouring into me. I have figured it out on my own.

Let me add, responding after a trauma response is triggered, is a whole new beast. Acknowledging the problem is half the battle. Admitting and committing to help is another piece of the battle. I’m a work in progress as we all are but I’m not sitting in denial. I have work to do.

It’s all a part of the growth process, I think. As we grow and move forward in life, we discover new things about ourselves. Some of them will make us pick our face up off the floor, and some we ease right on into depending on the circumstances. We’re all a work in progress, and we’ve all adapted to life’s circumstances using survival skills, some healthy and some unhealthy. It’s up to each of us to put in the time, work, and effort to figure out new ways to work things out, especially when the old ways don’t necessarily serve us a great purpose.

Sharing because if I’m ever late to the party, likely I’m over here processing and feeling the feels just so I can show up at all. But when I show up, I will show up with all of me. Not fragments or broken up pieces of me like I did for 27 years. I won’t show up avoiding my reality, masking my feelings with alcohol. I call it self-loyalty and being true to me. It’s not for everyone to accept and not everyone will understand this. That’s okay. I’ve accepted I’m not for everyone.

My main focus is on being true to me. Then, I can show up genuinely for others in a more well rounded way. Wherever you are in your healing and processing journey, be easy on yourself. You are right where you need to be. 💛

Pamela A. Karanova

If I Die Tomorrow, What I Want You To Know Today

Let me first say this is in NO WAY a suicide letter or anything of that nature. I promise you and give you my word. I’m a Christian and I value my life and look forward to any days I have on earth to spend with my amazing children, and one day grandchildren.
It’s REALLY been on my mind and in my heart lately so I wanted to write about it. Maybe it will give me some comfort in sharing my feelings.  I wake up daily, with the weight of the adoptee emotions at the front of my brain. It sometimes seems impossible to get through a single day. Some of those following my blog know my journey. For those who don’t, basically I ran from processing any abandonment and rejection issues from my adoptee situation and drank alcohol to cope my entire life because the pain was so deep; I didn’t know what to do with it. My adoptive parents denied that I should feel any kind of way about my first family, or have any adoption related issues. From the time I was 12 I was drinking and at 37 years old I decided I didn’t want to live that life anymore and I started a recovery ministry called Celebrate Recovery. It’s been a life changing journey for sure! I’m 39 now, and I have been living a sober lifestyle for a year and a half TODAY. This has definitely been a tough year and a half. I have made the choice to dig deep and pull out all my skeletons from my past and put them out on the table and work on them. I’ve asked God to come in and help me heal from these hurts, habits & hang ups.  I’ve came so far in this little bit of time. I no longer have the desire to drink, he’s taken it. That’s a huge victory in itself.
Image Courtesy of Master Isolated
FreeDigitalPhotos.Net
Let me just tell you a little about my life. I have 3 amazing kids. They are my world. They are the reason I wake up every day and push past the feelings of abandonment and rejection and all the emotional issues being adopted has brought me. They are the reason I’m alive today, because without them I have no reason to be here.  I truly mean that. I have a wonderful career, caring for the elderly. I make handmade soap and get great joy from coming up with new creations, and sharing them with others. I have a WONDERFUL church home, and an amazing church family. I’m very active at my church; I am there 2-3 times a week trying to fill my life with positive, happy things. I spend my days trying to give back because so much has been given to me. Having 3 healthy amazing children is HUGE in my eyes. They are all great kids too.  I live in a fairly nice home. I’ve been blessed with a new car recently, and to the outside world life would appear to be picture perfect.  I don’t have a man in my life, and quite frankly I’m not sure if I ever will again. I find it very difficult to explain my deep rooted emotional adoptee issues to people that don’t understand what we go through, and it’s just easier to keep things simple and be alone in that area. I get more frustration or grief from sharing my feelings with someone and they just look at me like I’m crazy, or assume I’m just stuck on the past and I need to just “LET IT GO”. Trust me, if it was that easy, I would have just LET IT GO a long time ago. Let me mention, that when an adoptee is sharing their feelings most of the time we just want someone to listen. You can’t fix us, only we can fix us and this traumatic situation we have been put into. SO please just listen! I stay very busy so I can keep my mind off my adoptee reality. When I sit, I think. Writing has been a way for me to process my emotions and feelings in a healthy way. I may not be the best writer in the world, but these feelings and this place is all mine and I feel I finally have a place to share with no interruptions. Do you know how many times in my life I’ve tried to speak about my adoption feelings and someone interrupts me, or they say something ridiculous like “Aren’t you glad you weren’t aborted? Or “You were a gift, God planned you before you were born” Just about every single time in my life I have had someone interrupt me, or say something very insensitive about how I feel so I learned I had to hide my feelings until recently. I’ve broke out of my hidden shell in the adoptee world. I speak out, and I’m not scared to share how I feel. Do I have to hide it from my adoptive family or my biological family? YES I DO. Although some of them try to understand, in no way do I want to hurt their feelings by speaking how I feel. It’s created an awkward situation because I feel I have to live a double life, and that everything is still so much of a secret.  But at least I’m sharing my feelings with the rest of the world, and it does bring me comfort.
Enough about me and back to the topic of me sharing my feelings for this blog post.
I am unsure if these feelings I’m having are so strong because this is the first time in my life I have soberly processed all these emotions, or if I’m stuck with feeling this way until I get out of this hell on earth we live in. I knew this would be a difficult journey when I began, the day I quit drinking, August 12, 2012. I know God is with me, I know I have friends that fellow adoptees that support me. I thought by now it would get easier. It’s been a year and a half. Why am I not feeling some sense of peace with my adoption journey? I have peace with almost everything else, but not this. I’m at a limbo with coming to the conclusion that I very well may feel this way for the rest of my life here on earth. I guess I can describe it as an aching, deep sadness that never leaves. It’s always there; it hangs over my head, every minute of every day. It’s always there. I’ve learned to put on a smile for those around me, especially my kids. I never want them to be burdened with my issues like I always was growing up. My adoptive mother made it a point to cry daily, and express her unworthiness of being a mother as well as self-medicate with prescription pain pills. This made me want to keep as much of my emotional issues from my kids, because let’s face it. Why should our kids have to deal with our emotional issues? They shouldn’t. They do listen when I speak about certain things, but sometimes I sit and wonder. “I wonder what they would say if they knew how broken my heart really was?  I wonder if they really knew that they are the only reason I’m alive today.” Of course I never say a word about those feelings. I just keep it to myself and keep moving. I never want them to think they have anything to do with it. They bring me more joy in my life than words can even express and because of them, I have a reason to let my feet hit the floor every morning.
I guess I will wrap this up by saying what I wanted to say all along. If I were to die tomorrow, I would want everyone close to me to know that I am no longer suffering. I’m no longer in pain. I no longer have this deep dark sad wound deep in my soul from being separated from my first family. I no longer have to make hard decisions in the reunion process. Recently I’m being faced with the decision of going to meet my biological grandmother for the first time that’s 94 or not going, she lives 13 hours away. You might think that’s an easy decision to make. But for me, I am grieving daily about the loss of relationships with my first family. Do you know how hard it will be to see my biological grandmother for the first time in my life and know it will more than likely be the last and only time I ever get to see her? Words can’t even describe my thoughts on that. What may seem like something amazing to some and I feel is amazing as well, but that’s not all. Knowing that I missed so much with her, and it will never be replaced, and that the one and only visit will be the last is just flat out depressing for me to think about. And I think about it daily. I grieve the losses of my first family daily. I wish, I wish, I wish runs through my mind daily. If only things were different or maybe if I was different they would have accepted me. Yes, both my biological parents rejected me and this has caused me the most amount of grief you could ever imagine. I don’t think that pain will ever go away, but I do hope and pray it will get easier. Today I want the world to know, that when my time is up on earth, and when God takes me home to be with him this pain will all be gone. I look forward to that day and I’m extremely grateful that I believe in heaven and hell because if I didn’t I wouldn’t have that place of pure peacefulness to look forward too. I long for the day that my heart is whole, and peacefulness takes over my mind. Some may say, “Well you have a choice now what you do with your current situation”. You are so right, I sure do. I’m sorry that I can’t just wake up one day and make the pain all be gone. It’s feels like a knife slicing my heart or a constant loss and grieving feeling that is always there. I pray for God to make it easier for me and other adoptees that are going through the same emotions that I might be. During the rest of my time here on earth I will continue to work on healing, and grieve in healthy ways. I will continue to speak about my feelings. I will continue to reach out to adoptees. I will continue to wear the mask that I have had to wear my whole life, ever since the moment I found out I was adopted. Why wear the mask you ask? Well, because it’s simply easier than letting everyone know my heart is literally ripped into shreds and I struggle daily with my feelings of self-worth, abandonment & rejection. If I appear to have it all together at least I don’t have people thinking I’m some ungrateful, angry adoptee.
I believe God can definitely heal our broken hearts about so many things in life. But I have come to accept the fact that my root issues of abandonment & rejection are here to stay.  This has been a big thing for me to accept. I have always used alcohol to take the pain away, but today it’s as raw as it was the first day I stopped drinking. You would think that time would heal, but the truth is when a piece of your heart is missing, or shredded sometimes it never heals. It’s leaning on God in times of despair and trusting that he has a purpose and a plan for me and my life is my main focus in my life today. I realize all adoptees are different, and we are all at different places with our journeys. Some adoptees are at total peace with their journeys, and I would give anything to feel that way about mine.
But let me just say one more time, if I were to die tomorrow please know that my life is far better than the one I have lived here on earth because my broken heart will be healed. My abandonment & rejection issues will be gone. It will be sad for my kids to loose me, but at least they will have some amazing memories with me to remind them of our time together. Adoptees get absolutely none of that when it comes to our first families. I hope that one day if they will read this and know how much I loved them, and how I thank God for them every day. I do look forward to the future with my kids, and my future grandkids but I also look forward to the day where my heart is whole. They will be the beginning of my family tree and that brings joy to my heart.  I hope this letter would bring them peace to know that I’m in a better place where no suffering occurs. Every single day is a struggle and every single day I suffer mentally with my adoptee issues. I hate the thoughts I have, and look forward to the day they are all gone, the day I go to heaven.
For any adoptees that may be reading this, can you share some of the healthy ways you cope? Or some of the things you think of or remember in your mind that get you through another day? Do you share some of the same pain I do?
Pray for me and I’m going pray for you too!