Day 76 - Mo' Money
I read something today about an adopted person feeling shame about how she handled the topic of money with a friend. Boiled down to a few words: the adopted person lied because she was ashamed of her financial situation.
I have been there.
I am deeply interested in the relationship between being relinquished and having issues around money. I am surrounded by wealth and yet I almost never have money in my pocket, or, when I do, I make sure to rip a good sized hole in my pocket so the money falls out.
I stress more about money than I do about anything else, and the funny thing is, it’s something that technically is fairly under my control: I can work. I can make money. I can generally chose when to spend and when not to spend. Yet it’s like money is water and I have no control: I make it and then it just runs through my fingers.
A dollar bill is a piece of paper attached to a story: you have value. As an adoptee, I have also felt attached to a story: you were chosen. You have value. I have also felt attached to another story: you were given away. You have no value.
Aaaah. Okay. If part of my brain is buying into the story that I have no value, it’s going to do it’s best to make sure my outer world mirrors my inner world, so first I have money and then I don’t. I get to mirror both stories: I have value. I have no value. And my brain is so clever it has managed to create a life for me where I do both things!
Today an adopted person asked me not to suggest that adoptees are unstable after I’d written a meme that said I thought we needed our own schools where we had a year to cry and then a year to be joyful children. I was speaking hypothetically—I don’t really think adopted people should be isolated and grouped by themselves—because I had a point to make: I think adopted people have special needs that largely go unseen by the world and even by the adopted people themselves. Adoptees often need help processing the trauma of relinquishment and loss and the changes these situations brought about on the chemistry of their minds and bodies, not to mention the effects PTSD (or just TSD since perhaps there is no “post”) has on the choices they make as adults.
To have value when part of your brain thinks someone meant to throw you away is work. This is why I think eating like an athlete is so important for adopted people: we need our brains on our sides in this fight for self-worth. (I know not all adopted people struggle with these issues, but the ones that I talk to all do, and I talk to many adopted people.) It is also why I think like-minded community is so important. It’s easier to feel valuable when you see how lovely and valuable other adopted people are. It’s easier sometimes to love yourself by loving someone who is like you first.
That’s all I have to say for now.
See you tomorrow.