Sunday, April 13, 2014

No voice .....

My first adoption was finalized in 1960, approximately 18 months after going to live with my grandparents.  Since I was only three at the time, no one consulted me on the decision and, honestly, I don't think there's anything inappropriate about that.
My second adoption?  Well, the circumstances of that event were much different.
It was at dinner, sometime in 1968.  As we sat at the table, my uncle said "How about we adopt you?"

Horrified, I responded, "No!"

He asked for my reasons.

My inner child was shouting:

  • I feel guilty about "replacing" my grandparents, whom I consider my "real parents".
  • I feel an intense desire to return to the Midwest, which I consider my "real home."
  • I'm being bullied by my peers at school.
  • I'm being emotionally abused by your wife.
  • I'm being physically abused by your wife.
  • I'm occasionally being physically abused by you (and your leather belt).
  • I just don't feel like I belong this family, this school, this town.

But all I said was:
"Because I don't want to."

"Fat" is a four-letter word (part II) .....

As I matured, I wanted to wear pantyhose, which had become increasingly popular in the late 1960's and early 1970's.  Of course, this was another item that my uncle's wife refused to buy for me.  She told me I could buy my own pantyhose with my own money.  Unfortunately, since I had no money of my own, and no realistic way of earning any, this was impossible.
Instead, she got me white bobby socks -- a style that had gone out of fashion at least a decade prior.

OK, sure -- I wear these now, but I'm old and don't care anymore.
It's very different when you're a young teenager desperately trying to fit in with your peers.

My oh-so-sophisticated classmates -- who'd earlier mocked my Girl Scout uniform and Go-Go lunch box -- again let me know that I was in violation of societal norms.  One memory is indelibly imprinted in my memory:  Popular girl Taryn sneering at me before Gym class and saying, with oh-so-false sincerity, "I like your so-oooocks."  My response?  "Thanks."  What else could I say?

"Fat" is a four-letter word (part I) .....

My weight was a constant source of irritation to my uncle's wife, who was tall and naturally slim.  Although I was "chubby" when I arrived, it wasn't long before I started gaining weight fairly steadily.  The exercise I'd gotten in the city -- walking to school, walking to the park, walking to friends' houses, roller skating on the sidewalk -- was replaced by riding a school bus and driving to town.  I was able to ride my bike until my brother destroyed it.  The bike was never replaced and I didn't ride again until I went to college a decade later.
The dreaded scale, verifying what was already obvious.
My uncle's wife frequently commented, negatively, about my eating habits.  She never commented on my younger brother, who ate voraciously.  However, since he was always on the go, his weight stayed well within a "normal" range.   Obviously, it wasn't what I ate, but what I looked like, that was so unacceptable.