I’m off work this week which means there’s space for some new thoughts to enter my brain. I don’t have the capacity nor do I want to spend the energy meticulously documenting each and every one but I do want to leave a mental trail for my future self to return to them. I have a feeling though that these realizations are more like a map to glance at from time to time than a book to study.
I’m grieving yet no one has died. I’m grieving people who are still here who I have the joyous chance to connect with in the years to come. I’m feeling the loss of lost time. Two months ago almost to the day, I went to my half sister’s wedding and met her and the rest of my siblings for the first time (minus one who I had just met a few months prior). As I add the word “half” as a modifier, I feel the discomfort in doing so as if I’m now complicit in replicating the separation I’ve felt between us my entire life. I went to my sister’s wedding and, for the first time ever, there’s a picture of my birthmom with all of her babies, including a long lost adopted brother. There are so many modifiers to fight against and make sense of. While this grief feels unique and unfathomable in the details, when I zoom out, I recognize it as incredibly common and survivable. I keep waiting to fall apart over the weight of it (and perhaps I still will) but recognizing it as simple, ol’ fashion grief is a relief. Today I asked myself these questions: looking over your life, what did you most wish they were there for? What moments would you transport them to? What moments of theirs do you wish you had been present for? I’m still working out the answers.
I remember the early moments of my life where I realized I was an introvert. I’d have to rest between soccer games at tournaments whereas my teammates could run around without consequence chatting away. I sometimes feel like I spend most of my life recharging. It’s taken me much longer to realize that I have a damn hole that I lug around with me from adoption/surrogacy trauma. I genuinely thought most people felt the pain of disconnection in the way that I did but just either chose not to ignore it or handled it better than I did or some other options I can’t fathom. This hole has mostly felt like a lack but it has also underpinned some of the aspects of myself that I deeply value. It creates part of the foundation of my incessant curiosity, my ability to connect with others, my awareness of other people’s missing pieces, and my deep desire to reflect to others how I see them considering how fleeting our time feels together. I am not the hole though—I am partially my reaction to it and this reaction could have been wildly different. If it ever somehow magically dissipated, I would carry forward the many beautiful habits it has gifted me.
A new working theory I have around why nomading feels so good recently came to the surface. I truly loathe when my inside world feels completely incongruent with what’s going on around me. Sure, sometimes a beautiful day when you feel terrible can help you turn that frown upside down. I’m talking about the feeling though of being at a party when you’re in a horrible headspace trying to make small talk with a person who can’t stop looking at their phone and can hardly be bothered to feign listening. I’d rather leave and trying to power through feels inauthentic. Nomading provides a way of living that matches how I feel internally from “the ground is always shifting” to “goodbyes are hard”. Leaning on nomading gives me an easy excuse to talk about these feelings and for others around me to understand them. It would be strange if every time I hung out with people I pondered at how amazing it is that we came together in this unique time and how we are so lucky to have these memories for the rest of our lives. It’s less strange when I’m bouncing around, embodying some of my feelings. Suddenly, my intensity in being so intentional in connecting with others feels less foreign and more palatable. At the same time, I’m gifted with embracing lessons I take seriously around how temporary our existence is. I live right alongside them— they feel so close to me that I might as well dance with them.