I had been strongly considering participating in the PBP, but the first relevant word that came to mind for me was ‘Adoption’ and that peeled open a festering mess I wasn’t quite expecting.
I don’t have contact with any human family. It has been a painful mess since I was twelve and understood the depth of my father’s disinterest in my existence (I didn’t even know him, really — I saw him a couple of times when I was very, very young and never again after I was about five — but I knew where he lived, and I spent some time sitting on my bike across the road from his house, thinking about what would happen if I knocked on the door) and there were levels of increasing understanding of my mother’s hatred for me, starting with being told that I should have been aborted when I was four or five, to worse things and repeats of that and similar statements, until I was seventeen. I had already left home by then — going halfway across the country and working full time from the moment I was sixteen and living with awful people actually seemed better than living with her, and I’d already dropped out of school due to a nervous breakdown when I was fourteen — but during a phone call in either late 1998 or early 1999, she reminded me that not having had an abortion had “fucked up her life.”
I never stopped being depressed about it, or wounded. The best I could manage was ignoring it.
When Brand’s family found out about me, they were completely horrified by how neglected and hated I had been, and immediately decided that they would adopt me. He’s said before that there is nothing more important to the jotnar than family, but I didn’t realize that extended to adopting unwanted children to ensure they had family, too. That was probably a bit stupid of me, but I’ve internalized the idea that I am loathsome and unwantable by anyone very well (which I have to admit doesn’t do my romantic relationships any good, either).
I feel like a feral cat, haunting the edges of this civilization and scattering whenever someone looks at me or comes to close, and only creeping in when no one’s paying attention, or is busy elsewhere. I’m prone to raiding the trash for scraps because I can’t handle coming in to my place at the table. I don’t know how to come in. I can only tolerate it for a few minutes at most before I have a desperate urge to run away and be extremely alone. Alone is familiar; alone is what I know.
At our wedding, so many of his friends and family — and part of my brain was trying to consider the idea that they would think of me as part of their family also, while the rest of it was skittering away from that thought and relegating all of these people to his, his, his. No our anywhere involved. His house, his bed, his everything. What am I, exactly, inside my own mind? A doll that he felt sorry for. And decided to take home, try to clean it up, sit it around tea parties with other dolls and stuffed animals. But I don’t have a mouth. I do not know how to make sounds.