Well, I'm an artist so usually I post a painting of mine or some sort of image to go with the post I'm doing. I didn't really have anything in my body of work that fit what I had in mind for this post so I did a search for an appropriate image. I Googled "image of angry women". I went through 10 pages of images and what I found were pictures of crazed, maniacal, gun toting, knife and/or rolling pin wielding, curler wearing, mascara streaked, hair ripping pictures or cartoons.
Good grief! Is this what people think of when they think of us being angry? Why are we portrayed as such ugly, awful witches(some with brooms even) for simply being angry? Lots of us are pissed off and with good reason. Robin did a very good post about this. Robin and I both just joined the One Million Pissed Off Women page on Facebook. In just a very few short days the membership has grown to 5602 members, at least that was the count when I last checked it while writing this. It's grown every time I look at the page. By the time I post this it might even be over 6000 members. Does that say something about how we feel as females about how we're treated? Take a look at the page to get an idea of why we're pissed off.
There's a lot being talked about on the blogs about anger. Read what Melissa had to say at Yoon's Blur. This is from the adoptee's point of view. Amanda from Declassified Adoptee had this to say about that post...
"Perhaps it is time for others to investigate why they react to your voice and other adoptee voices the way that they do, before deciding we're the ones who are wrong :-)"
Yes, yes, yes!
Now here's something else I've heard.... "just because you had a bad experience with adoption....." That's one to send me over the edge, clinging perilously to the branch that's sticking out of the cliff's rock face. Whoever says that doesn't even have to finish the statement and I'm seeing red. This was said to me by a beloved person in my life. It took me days - literally - before I could even function normally after that discussion. How dismissive and patronizing! Yes, my experience with adoption sucked. Does that mean my experience was unusual and should not be shared? Does that mean it's not worthy of expression so others can understand what the history of adoption is? Does that mean I shouldn't care about what happens in adoption now and do my part to help keep children and their mothers together? Does that mean my anger at the system that tears families apart is not justified?
Here's another one.... "it's in the past, why dwell on it, you can't change what happened then" Well no, of course I can't turn back the clock and change what happened but I sure as hell can do what I can to keep someone else from going through what I did. The only way to help prevent that from happening again is to talk about what happened then. If the generations coming up don't know what happened, how are they going to know how to prevent it?
Another one I've heard in reaction to the fact that I'm now painting and blogging about adoption.... "I don't want you to become angry" BECOME ANGRY?! Again - BECOME ANGRY?! I guess as natural mothers we got very good at hiding and suppressing our anger because it's amazing to me that anyone would even question our anger. We were forced to be mother's without our children. We were told we weren't good enough to raise our own babies, we apparently shamed our families, we were supposed to just move along and give our children to better people who were more deserving than us, we were to forget and move on and quit complaining. So what's to be angry about? Once knowing the truth, how can anyone (especially people who are parents themselves) not understand the anger that we've lived with? I've been angry for over 3 decades! I didn't show it all the time because I've been living a life with my husband, raising my other 2 children and in the meantime stuffing the anger down. It's the way us natural moms survive - stuffing the anger.
I learned a lot over the years about how to deal with it. I did a lot of reading, meditation and introspection. I wanted to be the best mother I could be for the children I raised but of course the past had an effect on my mothering them. I leaned toward over-protecting them out of fear of losing them like I lost their sister. I even had nightmares over the years about losing them to awful accidents. I'd wake up crying, not able to breathe, with one thought in my head - I lost one child, I can't lose another. My poor kids grumbled for a long time because I made them wait longer than their friends to get their driver's licenses and it was purely out of fear. That may seem like a minor thing but it's just one example of the constant effect that adoption had on me and the other people in my life.
Science has proven that stress and emotion has a huge effect on our physical being. Could it be that all the years of suppressing the emotion related to adoption had something to do with the cancer I dealt with just a couple of years ago? Was it purely coincidence that I had uterine cancer? I guess there's no way to know the answer to that but it just seems strange to me that the place that was the center of the most extreme emotion was also the center of an extreme disease.
So, what's healthier - bottling up all this anger and emotion or using the anger to make things better? Seems to me it's worth the risk of being considered a bitter, angry bitch, be authentic about the adoption experience and hopefully wake people up rather than keep silent and keep swallowing what was done to us. If we swallow it, it's going to come out anyway and we might not like how it happens. Just because we express our feelings about our adoption experience doesn't mean we're actually bitter, angry bitches. It just means we're expressing our emotion about that experience. It's a feeling that doesn't need a judgement, it just is.