Saturday, November 17, 2007

Rewriting History

If you had talked to me a year ago about my adoptive parents, I would have been nicer than if you had talked to me twenty years ago. I've come along way in my thinking about them. I always loved them. But I was really upset with them for much of my adolescence.

In that, I don't think I'm special. Many kids go through that. My phase, though, lasted well into my twenties. I had a lot of issues with them.

But once I moved away, that began to subside. I began to get some perspective. And most importantly, though I never said anything to them directly, I forgave them for being human. I hadn't forgotten their flaws. I just recognized that we all have them.

So a year ago (say) I would have said mostly positive things about my parents. But I wouldn't have said they were perfect. I had real complaints about my childhood. And while I don't care to rehash those now, here, I think I would have been honest about my own feelings about my childhood.

Since finding my birth mother, though, that has all changed. It's almost as if, to protect my birth mother, and to prove my loyalty to my adoptive parents, I feel the need to rewrite history. I have to paint a rosier picture than the one I would have painted before finding her. I have to eliminate all the bad from the story of my life. I would feel horrible saying anything negative about my adoptive parents. And I wouldn't want her to feel bad for any of it.

So I purify my own biography. I don't know if I'm being dishonest or if I'm beginning to recognize more of the good than I had before. But I suspect it's the former. And that's bad all around. Yet I don't know how to overcome the impulse to purify.

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