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Julie Gray, Buried Alive

If you were adopted at birth, you may have only known yourself for a few days before it happened to you. But rest assured you knew.

I was eight months old. I knew who I was when they started trying to bury me. I screamed and threw off the dirt. "Julie's not dead. I'm Julie!" But my "mother" was determined, older, stronger. She could shovel on more that I could throw off. I was slowly buried under the daughter she named.

She shoveled the identity over me with her violence and her cloying, syrupy, overprotective "love". She subverted my real self, dictated that I was "theirs" and therefore should be "like them". I fought her until I was four... It's the only explanation I have for the violence escalating so far against such a young person. I must have resisted and rejected her efforts to pretend to be my mom. Why else would you knock a two year old unconscious?

By the time I was four, I was pretty well subverted. Compliant. Miserable. I'd learned that she would hurt me if I rejected her. And while I continued to be "defiant" and "oppositional", the opposition was no longer against her.

It was against the me they wanted me to be. The me she told me to be. The one that didn't fit.

And the father I'd clung so desperately being nothing more than a thin, infantile memory, I started to believe this was where I was supposed to be. Before five I had no inkling of being adopted, but I always knew my skin didn't fit. 

I began to believe that he was both a famous scientist who loved to play chess and a dangerous addict who would have killed me. "You'd be dead if we hadn't taken you in."

He was a mechanic.

How many adoptees claim this fate? We'd be dead if not adopted? I've talked to possibly hundreds, and actively avoided the conversation with hundreds more. It's bloody common. And where do you think that statement comes from? From some some weird, vague memory from infancy?

No. True or not, it's what we're told by our adopters.

What kind of loyalty did she hope inspire? What kind of gratitude? I lose my family, I don't want you, you force me into a mold I don't fit in, tell me how lucky I am, and outline how my real family was full of dangerous neglectful uncaring junkies who would kill me as soon look at me.

Is it any surprise that our real selves are in a coffin six feet under, while we force ourselves into the molds adopters give us, breaking our own bones and carving out chunks of our own flesh to fit into it? 

To those who've known me for years, (the one or two actually bothering to read this life-altering blog [snort of derision and how much you all "care"]) that annoying piece of shit girl you knew is dead. She was a false construct. She was never a real person. If you liked her, too bad. She's gone. She's taking my place in this fucking coffin and I'm taking my life back. You don't know me. No one does.

But I'm pounding on this coffin lid anyway. My knuckles are bloody, but I just heard the wood splinter.

Ok, Pai Mei. Here I come.

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