The Real Deal

I feel I’ve always been pretty good at telling what’s the real deal. Of course this can refer to many things in life: food, merchandise (like diamonds–Marilyn would especially want to note), maybe love even (admittedly I’ve not been good at this). But in this case I’m talking about people. Are the people we meet, either at work, in social situations, on the street simply real?

You might wonder what I mean by this I suppose. Like, get real dude. It just seems the older I get, the more superficial people seem to me. Or at least, the less they are interested in things that involve anything that may mean thinking too hard, caring in a big way or really, really standing up for what you believe in.

It’s just easier to go to work, talk about your nails or hair, pretend that you’re friends with the person standing next to you, casually mention the horrors of the world, then hop in the fancy car and go home like nothing is happening. Like nothing is real. Like the horrors are really happening. Or your friends may not be really suffering, or maybe someone who isn’t your friend, just a co-worker, might need something from you more than a passing smirk.

No, it’s all about our own little microcosm. Our little floating bubbles that encase us and keep us separate but make it appear as though we’re able to see each other. But it’s just an illusion.

And in many ways I’m just as guilty. Oh I cry when I hear the news, but I don’t do anything about it. I just drive back and forth to work wishing I could do more. But I don’t. Not yet anyway. Swearing I will someday…when I can. At least I care I say to myself…it’s more than some. Does that make me more real?

When I’m with people, near people in real pain though, I do react. That much I can say. I can never sit by and just ignore it. And things like fingernails and doing my hair are not important to me anymore (well, they never were). It’s OK that they are to some, but there has to be more. Our worlds have to connect with people who have nothing.

So who is the real deal these days? Let’s get real here. Open our eyes to the real world. The war, the famine, the terror, the rape, the killing, the fires, the homeless, the poor, the racial disparity… And even the people close to us in true pain.

Let’s not pretend. Even while we live our comfortable lives, keep a piece of discomfort in our hearts to keep us real.


Hmmm what’s this?

Some interesting reading it I see — I simply adore Marilyn!

Maybe I’ll just hang out here a bit…

That way Mom will be sure not to forget me when she moves!

Filling My Dance Card

There has always been this weird thing about me, but I am feeling it so much more clearly in my golden years. It’s the dual part of me that is part loner, part socialite. It’s the oddest thing and at times creates great conflict within me.

Sometimes one of these personas claws to the front and that will be the cloak I may wear for a while. If it’s the loner woman, then I feel very at odds if I’m in large groups for some reason. No-one would really notice this, because I always had a pretty good way of hiding this fact.  But I would feel myself draw in on myself, sort of like a movie character fading out of scene. I was there, but not really.

When I’m feeling the opposite, then I literally can’t stand being by myself anymore. I start hunting for connections of all sorts: one on one or larger. My personality becomes bigger than life and when I’m in a group I seem to draw people to me. I once took a test of “How Charismatic Are You” and I scored off the charts. And a friend once told me I do this “Marilyn Monroe” thing where I just turned on the sex appeal-just like a switch. I believe that’s this part of my dual personality.

These two sides clash and so it becomes hard for others to know who they are dealing with at times. Most think I’m warm and friendly. It’s the side I try to put forward. But I really tend to see myself as very comfortable alone, and sometimes even preferring it. It may come from being raised an only child–and a latch-key kid at that! I spent many, many hours with nothing but my imagination for a companion.

As I get older, it get scarier to think about living alone the rest of my life. I have many friends all over the country. I make friends easily and keep them. Talking to strangers is something I’ve always done, maybe because I grew up in New York City where personal space is much closer than New England where I live now. It’s harder to make friends here I find. And definitely harder to find intimacy. Or maybe it’s me? Maybe my need to be alone so much is detected and can’t be incorporated into a relationship?

I would think by middle age most people would need lots of personal time and space? This doesn’t seem like a lot to ask. I’ve learned how to balance my social desires and my “I vant to be alone” moments much better than years past. It used to be that I might shut down or close people out because these times crept up on me.  But now I realize that my need for internal quiet is simply a necessity for me and I can identify them maturely.

In analyzing myself (which I do ad nauseam), I could link the fact that I was abandoned by my birth mother quite young to the fact that I learned to be a loner at an early age. It was a survival technique I suppose. And yet I also had to learn to be social in order to survive within the environment where I was left so people would care for me. So this constant internal juxtaposition has always been at play.

I’m currently in a place, as summer reaches its apex and we plummet towards fall then winter, where I don’t want to be lonely during the cold days. So I’ve decided to take matters into my own hands and find a community and make some new friends…hopefully. I’m going back to the Unitarian Universalist Church in a nearby town to see if I can stir up anything. I used to go there years ago, and was a member of a UU church when I lived in Upstate NY. They are welcoming, liberal and socially active. And that’s the other thing: I want to be more socially active. Time to walk my talk more.

So, no more sitting around weekends feeling sorry for my lonely self. Time to take this charismatic personality and step out into the big world (or small town) and say “here I am!” Hopefully the other self won’t come creeping around and try to steal the show while I’m filling my dance card.

Let’s Make Love

marilyn love

Just watched Marilyn Monroe in “Let’s Make Love”. I am a big fan I must admit, so saying that I have to say I’m always amazed by what a wonderful actress, singer, dancer and comedian she was on-screen. And then I am always saddened by why she didn’t realize that and was always insecure, depressed and anxious every time she performed. It is just a shame because she was a true talent and one of a kind that no-one will ever be able to be able to imitate. There have been those that have tried, but they fall way short. I understand that she felt she was used and abused by the system and taken advantage of as a sex symbol, but really she played the part and out smarted everyone in the end. Her rolls only showed her true nature as a caring and giving woman who was really very smart, but struggling against inner demons and had a strong desire to be better than she appeared. The beauty of Marilyn was that it was much more that her outer beauty that made her shine. You could see in her acting that she was a soulful person and that she cared about what she did. It pains me to think how much she struggled and how much she wanted acceptance by us all. Because we, her fans, truly loved her immensely. More than she would ever come to know. Even now, so many years later, her films, her legend, her beauty, her magic lives on in the hearts of many of us. Thank you Marilyn for all you gave. Your light still shines brightly as did your blonde hair. You may be a star now as I look up, but you were a star on the big screen too….and there isn’t anybody who can convince me otherwise!

National Adoption Month: Post 6–The Invisible Mother

Being adopted I could imagine anyone as my birth mother. I’ve always had an obsession with Marilyn Monroe and her story, partly because she was from such a torn background herself. It was easy to picture her as my mother, even though the math didn’t work out right.  But it was fun to dream and I often felt like my oldest daughter even looked like her. Recently I read that she even had a baby that was given away and I quickly started doing calculations in my head wondering if maybe she was really my grandmother….

These are the sorts of things adoptees do. They are always trying to tie back to the invisible one. The one that links to their genes, their looks, their mannerisms, their issues. One can have a most wonderful upbringing, but these questions still run through our veins no matter what, no matter how much love is wrapped around us. The two stand alone and are mutually exclusive.  This is something people don’t seem to understand.

And it’s odd that I never much thought of my birth father. I’m not sure why. He never seemed to play a big role in my psyche. When I did searches (which I did) it was always for her. I have paid lots of money and have come up fairly empty. I did find a birth name, but it didn’t tie me back to much given the story my adopted mother gave me. Back in the days I was adopted, records were slammed shut. And there is no opening them unless birth parents want them opened. Which, apparently, mine do not.

So all is left to my imagination. And a vivid one I have…do I get that from her? Through the years I have come to a huge place of acceptance. I have even come to a place of gratitude. I’ve accepted her decision that she did what she had to do in a time where single women could not raise a baby well. And she was in a ‘career’ shall we say and needed out. I just hope the story I was told is true and that she did what she planned to do.

My gratitude is vast. Mostly for doing the hardest thing a mother had to do and that is to let go. It couldn’t have been easy to walk away. I was eighteen months old. She had been my mother for eighteen months! The day I got my birth name from a private detective it was quite a moment to realize I had a different identity for the first part of my life. But one day, one moment she said some words (what were they?), maybe hugged/kissed me and then….turned around for the last time and walked away. I was too young to know she would never come back. That never coming back has left a deep and lasting impression on me and has affected me throughout my life.

I also am grateful for all the things she gave me just by being my birth mother: the genes I inherited and have passed to my two wonderful daughters. We are all wonderful dancers and have a great sense of rhythm and love of music. Was this from her? I say this not egotistically, but humbly, we are attractive and men like us…that’s from her and in our genes for sure given the nature of the business she was in. Sadly it may have been her demise, but hopefully she got out in time to carve out a decent life for herself. I’m sure there are other of our positive traits too that come from her.

But, of course, the leaving left a hole that has never quite been filled. And I imagine never will be. As an adult I’ve come to accept this part of me. I carry it around and wear it like I do my blue eyes. It doesn’t hurt anymore, it’s just there. It doesn’t hinder me these days, it’s just part of who I am. It’s because I know now we all just do what’s best at the time. And sometimes that doing may hurt other people. I know this because I have done it. I have seen my children hurt by decisions of mine. This comes only with age and living.

So I forgive my invisible mother. She did the best she could at the time. I wished when I was young that I could meet her someday. But I’ve come to grips now that I never will. She would be 77 years old now. I know this from the non-identifying information I got from New York state. Do I have siblings? Ah, that would be so cool. Maybe I can go on Oprah and find out! Every adoptee loves those stories of long-lost siblings finding each other. But some of us aren’t so lucky and we just go through life by ourselves never finding birth family members.

I’ve learned then to just love myself for who I am. And be grateful for the family that I had and thankful to a birth mother that had the courage to walk away because she thought it was best. She’s out there somewhere maybe and every birthday of mine I think of her and wonder if she’s thinking of me.