It has been difficult for me to write about the intersection of my worlds and identities: not only as a member or semi-member or not spoken of member of my numerous families, but as a member of the worlds of librarianship and coaching.
These worlds seem so disparate, and as if I have to keep them separate - which is only about my experience in the closed adoption system: closing off one part from another.
It's easier for me to acknowledge the coach when I am being a librarian. In fact, during Halloween at the Juvenile Hall I dress up as a librarian, since it seems like I am really a coach in disguise for most of my days. I see the kids (most of the times but not always - they definitely don't make it easy sometimes) not as their personnas of thief, gangster, drug pusher, murderer (and the numerous others in full regalia), but as the kid that they are underneath all of that.
I see potential. I see love. I see hurt. I see stuck. I see them finding a way to survive by accepting - and rejecting - what is offered to them by society. I see them claiming power. I see untreated and reenacted trauma.
When I was a kid, even as young as 5, (and probably younger - keep reading) I was deeply connected to prison. I dreamt about the Holocaust. Kids being separated from their parents and put to death. I knew where San Quentin was. I thought about the prisoners. I made list of adoptees who were serial killers: David Berkowitz (Son of Sam); Eileen Wuornos; Kenneth Bianchi (Hillside Strangler); Thomas Hamilton (School Shooter); Ted Bundy (Co-ed Killer); Richard Speck; (Nurse Murders) - there are more. I work with some of them now.
I can relate to being on death row. As much as I dislike when someone uses the experience of adoption as a metaphor - I'm still going to tell you about how I felt like I was death row when I was in the womb. I mean that - I can relate to the feeling of being trapped and surrounded by toxicity and kept alive to be put to death and the feeling of wanting to kill myself to get out of the situation. My mother wanted an abortion. And in a few specifics she actively pursued it. I definitely acted out this scenario - was imprisoned by it - until I cleared up my pre and peri-natal issues (here's where my life as of coach becomes clearer).
While I didn't ever fantasize or otherwise think about killing my adoptive parents like Deborah did (I only thought about killing myself), I robbed, cheated, lied, stole, did drugs, drank when I was underage (and of age) had sex with men older than me (and who also happened to be heroin addicts). I felt bad. At the time I thought I was bad. (Evil, too). When hiding the knowing of how bad I was became too much it manifested in being bad. It was a relief to bring the inside of me outside into the world. As painful as it was, it was an attempt to be in alignment.