Being Generous with Character Flaws

Everybody says they never want to say anything bad about a family member. They say that, but I’m not sure it’s always true. I’m working on a novel written by an author who has based all of his characters on real family members. It’s reading flatter and every bit as boring as the the Kansas turnpike. He knows this, but still doesn’t want to attribute bad qualities to people he loves.

Yesterday evening we discussed solutions to the problem. I suggested he redraw his characters to make them less recognizable, and that’s what he probably end up doing. But in the discussion, he came up with an interesting suggestion. He had thought about asking the family members what less than flattering attribute they would like to display, dishonesty, greed, tendency to infidelity, etc.  I’m pretty sure this wouldn’t help the author out much in the end, he would still end up pissing everyone he wrote about off, but it would be fascinating to see what flaws folks might pick out for themselves.

Being allowed to pick out your own flaws, as your story is written, is a very generous concept. Controlling how we are perceived isn’t something we are ever allowed in real life. The most basic things about us come with preconceived notions about our flaws. Woman, adoptee, birth parent, adoptive parent, all have their own set of flaws, according to your perspective. It’s natural that we try to use our good points to neutralize the perception that we don’t like. I wonder if this makes us come off flat, set up to be given another set of attributes that are no more accurate than the others.

If you were asked to come up with a fictional character flaw, what would you choose?

I’m think I might like vanity. LOL.

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Still here, Still Adopted.

There is nothing like an adoptive family crisis to make you feel all the more adopted. My a-dad had a bit of a health scare recently. He was diagnosed with cancer, luckily, it looks like it’s treatable. This is good, really good, but waiting to hear that was an awful experience. It’s a feeling of just waiting to panic, or not.

We didn’t have to panic. Big sigh of relief there. But not panicking and getting my a-dad through cancer treatments is going to be challenging enough. Long time readers of this blog have got to know my a-dad a bit, so you can imagine the challenges ahead. For those who don’t know, let’s just say a-dad is very outspoken (that’s a nice way of saying he’s a bitchy old man).

Then there is the whole adoptee thing. My a-famiily once had a family dinner, complete with relatives from out of town, on my birthday, and “forgot” to invite me. But who is the first one they call when they need a ride to the hospital for surgery, or wreck their car, or can’t figure out the cell phone? You guessed it, the adoptee. I know they do it because they see me as being the one who can handle it (or possibly because I’m alone right now and might not have anything better to do. Ha.), but it’s still hard. Sometimes it feels like you get all the responsibility and none of the good stuff.

There is nothing to do but deal. And deal I will. I always do. Adoptees are like that.

It’s an Adoptee Thing

I haven’t been adopted much lately. I’m blowing off more Adoptee Rights Demonstration meetings than I attending, I haven’t blogged, honestly I haven’t given adoption much thought. It will always be there.

Adoption is always there, it runs like a current below everything thing else. Below the big losses that everyone experiences, below the day-to-day bullshit, even below the happy. Adoption is just there and I know it’s not going anywhere. I’ve dealt with it long enough I can ignore it, for a while.

There are, however, some things I cannot let go. I can’t sit back and see the work adoptees, and their supporters, have done collectively be co-opted, corrupted, or used to leverage an unrelated goal. So many have worked so hard, so tirelessly, so long, and that work is really beginning to pay off.

The right to identity is a civil right, an adoptee’s civil right. It really is all about us. Don’t forget it. Don’t make me get all adopted again.

Rolling With It

What has become of Addie?

I have no idea.

She is still becoming.

I’m not the same person I was a year ago. Everything is different, the minutes, hours, days and months are nothing like they were. I have become accustomed to being adrift, but decided to trust.

Worst case scenarios playing out can make you feel bulletproof. It’s an illusion, it can always hurt more. I figured that out when I decided to trust again. Setting that fear aside has been difficult, but I had to, loss comes regardless of intent. To fear loss is to fear life.

Yep, that means I have a boyfriend.

Well, not really a boyfriend, we have decided to put off dating for a few years until we are eligible for the senior citizen’s discount at leading establishments. We’re not getting to know each other, we met nearly thirty years ago. He scared me to death back then.

He scares me to death now, but for entirely different reasons. Now I can handle his looks, his voice, his sweetness, his humor, but his love frightens me. I never planned on falling in love again. I wasn’t sure I would find it, I wasn’t sure I wanted it, I wasn’t sure I deserved it.

I always thought I was extremely lucky to have found one true love in my life. A second love didn’t seem likely.

My life has been a series of highly unlikely events. I’m going to roll with it.

Now for something else unlikely, an Englishman with soul…

 

 

 

In and Out of Sync

Yesterday was a rough one. David’s death has been a catalyst for lots of other things. Sometimes loss paralyzes people, sometimes it makes them frantic. Most people experience periods of both. When the folks who cared deeply about the person lost aren’t in sync in their periods of paralysis and excess activity it can be hard.

There are folks that always seem to be in sync with each other, no matter the situation, or how much time has passed since they last saw each other. It was that way with David and a friend of his. They were friends as children, extremely close as teenagers though they lived far from each other, and constant companions in young adulthood. Their lives took different directions and communication was just here and there as they got older, but when they were together, it was as if they were never apart. They were true friends.

I think he probably cared about David as much as any one in the world. His grief breaks my heart. He was my friend too and I hate to hear the pain in his voice. Grief is a strange thing, you don’t just grieve for the one that’s gone, you grieve for the loss others feel.

He’s coming to see me today. It’s going to be hard, but I hope he finds some closure, peace, or whatever he can. I hope I can help.

For some reason this song always makes me think of him. He’s a real what you give kind of guy.

I’ve Lost My Balance

In the past few weeks the world has become both smaller and larger.

My own little everyday world has shrunk by half. The demands of keeping everything running smoothly have become simpler.  I don’t have anyone to feed, I just eat when I can. I don’t have enough laundry to worry about sorting it. The clutter around the house has been frozen in time. Many of the things left out a few weeks ago, waiting to find a place, are still waiting. Some of this clutter will be acted upon, saved, filed, other things will never their intended use here. Maybe someone else will find use for these little things, maybe they won’t. I don’t know yet.

Everything outside my door has become bigger by two, maybe more.  I’ve always been independent, have taken care of my own things and my own business, but it was good to know I had some back-up when I needed it. My friends and family are there, but it’s not the same. It’s not their job to take care of me, I’m not supposed to be the person taken into account about the decisions they, or I, make.

The best definition I have ever heard of marriage was that it is an institution that makes you take another person into account in every decision. I was comfortable in that, I didn’t see it as limiting. I saw it as the opportunity to take advantage of another viewpoint, another set of skills, the wealth of another experience. David and I were very much alike, but our thought processes were very different. He was more mechanical, logical, a gatherer of all essential pieces before beginning. I tend to run a lot more on emotion, passion and anger. He kept me out of a lot of trouble and I pushed him toward things he might not have done.

I find myself asking myself what he would have done a lot lately. I usually think I know, but I can’t be sure.

I know I’m going to lose my balance and crash now when I wouldn’t before in some situations. It frightens me.

I’m Not Strong

I’m not strong, I do probably look that way, but it’s an unintentional front. I am gutted, sad, screaming inside. I want my David back. I want to punch the fucking Universe in the face. I cannot fathom that my poor sweet husband had to go through that, he deserved better.

David wasn’t done. He still had so many things he wanted to do. I cry not just for the things we would do together, but the things he would achieve, the things he would make, the stuff he would make work. I cry for the beautiful days he won’t see and the good meals he won’t eat.

Losing him seems to be much too much about me and not nearly enough about him sometimes.

Make no mistake this is about David.

My sweet, smart, curious, and ambitious David.