I’ve spent most of my life wondering if I’m just being tolerated. I can count on one hand the times I’ve felt completely comfortable being myself without worrying about being enough or maybe too much for people.
I’ve known all my life that I was adopted, and it was always painted with wide colorful brush. I was never asked to take it personally, but I always have.
Whatever was wrong with me then might still be wrong with me now. What if I’m innately flawed and unlovable? I’ve worried I would never feel wanted or truly loved, so I pushed people away or kept them at arms length.
When I got sober I thought things would change. I didn’t have to (or get to) get drunk and cry for myself anymore. I began to push some of that junk aside to make room for other women who had bigger, more pressing problems, and I forgot how sad I was.
Years ago I made the decision to go dive into a legitimate search for my birthmother.
Within that search for answers I found more questions. I had to wrap my brain around some incredible truths about where I come from.
I found my birthmother, and just knowing who and where she was sprouted roots and connected me in ways I didn’t even know I wasn’t. I didn’t realize how utterly lost and detached I had felt my entire life until I found her.
The line of her jaw and her hands — I just wanted to see her hands and hear her voice, and once I did I heard the hesitation and regret for the life she had when I barged in.
I was never asked to take it personally, but I did. She wanted to talk about the weather and her new job. She wanted to move forward, and took offense to my need to go back — to know the other half of the story.
She became angered by my need for answers, and made it clear that part of her life was off limits. Couldn’t I just be happy that I’d found her? Couldn’t that just be enough?
It wasn’t, but I appeased, because it’s what I do. Because that’s what I do when I’m worried about being tolerated. I wondered when and how it would spoil — how I would ruin it by admitting that I wanted — NO — needed more.
But God had other plans and the search found me. It led me to him, and he was ready. He was overflowing with kindness and acceptance and couldn’t wait to love me; even though he wasn’t sure I was his.
I didn’t expect him to be so ready. It almost disturbed me how open he could be to someone who had worried so long she was just being tolerated.
I told him I wasn’t ready and he understood. He said he would wait, and that I was worth it; even though he’d never met me and didn’t know how much I needed to hear that.
Because I know I deserve to be more than tolerated, but I don’t know how. I don’t know how to settle into the kind of acceptance I’ve waited my whole life for. I don’t know how to take it personally, and I can’t bring myself to try.
Because whatever was wrong with me then might still be wrong with me now.