Pieces of You: A Letter to My Birthmother


No matter how hard I try, I’ve never been able to picture your face. Even in the few dreams I’ve had of you, you’re a ghost of sorts, a face I never see, a figment of my imagination.

I wish I could imagine you in some way. At least I think I do… any image, whether spot on or utterly wrong would be easier than the blank canvas behind my eyes. Do we share this long raven hair, a pout-y, bow-shaped mouth? Perhaps we have the same hands; long and slender, delicate and graceful.

That’s vivid… probably the most vivid image of you I can construct. Our written script is eerily similar; so much so it was the first thing I noticed. I remember my breath catching in my throat, thinking that it was the closest I’d come to feeling as if I’d actually seen a ghost. M confirmed it a couple of hours later; I can still hear him saying, Holy shit, you even have similar handwriting! You both tail some of your letters at the end; the Ks and Rs…

Were we both ugly ducklings who now share of love of beauty? Do we throw ourselves in to fitness-driven body maintenance while indulging vice(s) of luxury lingerie and passionate sex? Or are we polar opposites… you, the virginal, transformed Madonna… me, the outwardly coquettish, inwardly contradictory Whore?

I can’t help but wondering how you’ve pictured me over the years, if you have, if you have any idea as to the life I’ve led. Did you imagine me following in your footsteps? Picture me as a pregnant teenager, a lost little girl writing a letter of with canned, scripted verbiage? Was I twirling a pen, dressing an envelope in stickers, signing my name with a flourish of pink ink & sealing it with Sincerely as opposed to a kiss?

Did you picture the schoolgirl? An awkward, soft-spoken creature that didn’t really learn to work a room until she was in her twenties?

Have you imagined me as I am? A creative? The bookworm? Shy & reserved? The surprisingly ruthless executive who’s excelled solely because she’s an eternal perfectionist who doesn’t know how to quit?

Or maybe you haven’t seen me, imagined me at all. Perhaps your mind never drew me as the awkward child, a teenager, definitely not near thirty. Perhaps I’ll always be the black-haired infant with the skinny limbs and wide blue eyes clad in the white t-shirt and pink hair bow… the Unnamed Infant Girl who simply never grew up.

Your letter, being able to have and hold something you once touched, seeing your near script… a TV-esque image of a teenage girl in my mind, carefully and methodically sweeping a pen across paper torn from her school notebook, careful to use her best cursive… the cheery pink ink… a teenager writing a letter to her daughter’s parents… it’s  humanized you in a sense… made you a bit more real.

Yet at the same time, the emotional connection I’ve been told I should have towards you, remains non-existent. My empathy, while constant, is that of an adult; a woman who can’t even begin to imagine the complexities of all you must have felt and faced at age 14-15. I’ve tried to force it. I’ve waited for some kind of primal urge, a subconscious feeling of well… something… anything to make you feel less like a stranger. It’s not there. No matter how much I wish it, try for it, it just… isn’t.

I do wonder about you more than ever before. I do want to know the answers to these questions. I wonder about your feelings — your true feelings — as far as the whole adoption thing goes. I want to know you’re well; genuinely hope you’ve had a happy and fulfilling life.

And yet my desire is almost voyeuristic… I want to know you on my terms. I want to know you’re okay; that you have some sense of peace, yet I have no desire for direct contact. Not now. While I’ve not ruled out ‘someday’, that day, week, year, whatever… simply isn’t now.

I don’t know what happened back then; I haven’t a clue as to the circumstances surrounding my birth. If anything, I have more questions now than when I wrote to you several months ago. I have my theories. M has his. G has hers. None of us can connect the dots; nothing really makes sense.jay-nov-12

I do wonder if I’m doing the right thing; digging in to your past, potentially making you relive something you don’t wish to relive. I wish I had an inkling or feeling, but I don’t. Nothing positive. Nothing negative. Only logic that seems to tell me repeatedly, she doesn’t want to be found… And if I’m honest with you, honest with myself, that’s probably the most confusing piece of all.

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