Tuesday, November 20, 2012


I am a stuffer.  No, not the kleenex in your bra kind of stuffer.  A feelings stuffer.  I am getting much better as my life goes on, but from a very early age I was a stuffer of my feelings.  I would pretend that everything was fine, until it built up to a point where I couldn't take it anymore, and then I exploded.  People usually couldn't see it coming, but when it happened, there was no mistaking it.

It is only recently, perhaps starting with my coming out, that I have learned to be honest with people about what I am feeling.  It is still not easy for me, hence this blog, but I am learning to answer honestly when people ask me how I am doing.  Because this is still a relatively new skill for me, I am still not quite used to always hearing people's reactions to my emotions and some people are still not used to hearing my honest emotions.  But what I have loved most about this blog is that it is easy for me to share with people how I am feeling throughout this adoption process.  From the safety of my own home, tucked away behind my computer, I can let everyone in my life know what I am really feeling without having to actually say it over and over again.  It has been wonderful and really freeing.  In many ways, it is the most emotionally honest I have ever been.

However, opening myself up like that sometimes results in some messages that I am not always prepared to hear.  Opening myself up and being completely honest invites the kind of advice that I spent much of my life shying away from.  After the last few blog posts, I have received lots of advice.  I am so touched that people care enough to want to reach out and am even more touched to know that there are people who are rooting for me throughout my life.  What I know about advice is that it is always so well-intentioned.  But what I also know about advice, is that it is sometimes hard to know the right kind of advice to offer.

Over the past few months, I have heard one piece of advice over and over again.  "Be positive.  You have to stay positive."  I have heard this more in the past few weeks ever since I entered my fairly significant slump.  I completely understand why this advice is given and I have often given it myself to many people in similar emotional places.  But for some reason, this piece of advice was upsetting to me in a very deep way.  I couldn't figure it out for a long time.  Why should this bother me? Why did I somewhat resent being told to stay positive?

After a lot of thinking and talking, I have finally figured it out.  I dislike being told to stay positive because I believe that I have never stopped being positive.  That was it.  It was the assumption that my sadness somehow automatically disqualified me from being positive.  The truth is, my positivity is so much bigger than my sadness.  Let me try to explain.

This road to adoption is filled with so many ups and downs.  The downs are really hard, which makes sense because the ups are so very high.  It hurts to fall from a place that high up.  So when I hear a no, I am sad.  I am disappointed.  In some ways, I am even grieving.  I grieve the loss of the idea that starts to take shape in my mind of our life with a child.  Hearing no makes me sad in a way that I have never been before.

But here's the thing, being sad doesn't mean that I don't think this is the right path for us.  Being sad doesn't mean that I don't think that this will all work out when and how it is supposed to.  Being sad doesn't mean that I think we should give up or that it is never going to happen.  It is quite the opposite in fact.  I believe with my whole heart that things WILL work out when they are supposed to.  I believe  with everything that I have in me that we WILL adopt a child.  I believe with one hundred percent certainty that Carla and I will be mothers to, what I will believe to be, the most wonderful child in the world.  All of the sadness that I have experienced has not changed any of that.

That is how I remain positive.  To be positive does not mean that I will never feel sad and never feel disappointed.  It does not mean that I will never feel frustrated with our current situation.  But it does mean that I do not want to give up and I do not want to change the course that we are on.  This is what we have chosen to do and this is what I continue to believe is the right choice for us.  So please know that I have not grown any less positive.  Sadness does not equate with negativity.  When I cry because things didn't work out the way I thought they might, I am not crying because I think things will never work out.  I am crying for that moment. But I have never lost sight of the bigger picture.  I can clearly see in my mind how it will look the day when things do work out how I want them to.  And as long as I can still see that picture, I know that I am still thinking positively.  And now, I hope that you all can see that as well.

1 comment:

  1. Jessica, this was very insightful. I wonder if, sometimes, "stay positive" means, "I'm uncomfortable with your sadness; Please don't be sad." But you've been able to discern between sadness and despair; I think a parallel is the distinction between happiness and joy. You can be joyful but sad. Sadness and happiness are transient. Despair is worth avoiding, because it goes farther than the circumstance. But you're not despairing. You're hopeful, joyful, positive. It's OK if sadness is part of the picture every now and then.