“The tree which moves some to tears of joy is in the eyes of others only a green thing which stands in the way. Some see nature all ridicule and deformity.... and some scarce see nature at all. But to the eyes of the man of imagination, nature is imagination itself.” -William Blake

Begin, now. Feel the hard stuff. Be gentle. You will never get back what was taken away. You may never understand it fully. Maybe you can rationalize, contextualize, but can you make sense of it? Can you feel it, accept what it makes you feel, and let it go before it destroys you, shames you, shuts you down? It is so easy to feel nothing but still exist.

The moments when the great order decided to change your course, to hurt you, confuse you, bruise you, abandon you. You will never see the same way, or live unaltered. Because you change. You are malleable. Your body can stretch and move, but it can also calcify & stay stuck. Your spirit can grow weary, it can become afraid to be and sing and celebrate your life. Maybe it keeps happening because you keep on expecting it, based on your experiences. 

It’s a cruel cycle and at some point you may choose to ground down, stand firm, and face it head on. Because your emotions can become so overwhelming and confusing that they disappear altogether, to be replaced by depression, shame, inward-facing hate and outward-facing callousness. And moments of happiness or hope are cut down; they’re told they’re temporary and bad things will happen. 

The moment I was born I lost my mother. I had dislocated hips, pneumonia, grief, terror, confusion. And even as an infant I blamed myself because a baby has no way to understand how complex humanity is. All they want is their mother. So who else’s fault could it be? Why would my refuge, my creator & protector leave me the moment I separated from her for the first time if it wasn’t because she hated me? Why would I want to be here, without her? Why would I want to eat, why would I want to feel? Where did she go? 

Adoptees are told that they are lucky they were adopted. I spent most of my life detached from my emotions. Why would I want to feel all that as baby? I’m going through it now, with a lot of professional support, and even still, it is quite honestly the most heartbreaking experience I’ve ever had. Everything else in my life, in a sense, in this moment, was an iteration distantly stamped from an impression of what being human felt like. I chose not to feel when I was a baby because my circumstances were terrifying. It was easier to sleep it off, to shut myself down, to stay disassociated. 

Life happens. And maybe you catch little glimpses. You find new people, attitudes, experiences. You scare yourself to prove you can withstand it, and that fear burns towards the messy process of healing. You see that nature makes no mistakes and you realize that to become fully human is to take up space in the vast world that she provides. So you begin. 

Contemplating Loss

It wasn’t until a few years ago that I really began to embrace the mountains again. And I am so grateful, for nature is my undoing and it is my refuge. Nature is my childhood and it is my wildest present. I can only hope that my thirst to be surrounded by silent oneness is never satiated, for in the wild I have grown up.

This process of acceptance that my mother is dying has made me come back to love. Love in the biggest sense possible. Love defined, as Nayyirah Waheed said so eloquently, “like everything I’ve ever lost come back to me.” Because my mother told me, “Be open about what you’re going through so others can support you.” Be open to others, but most importantly, be open to yourself. I hike and go to the wild to process trauma. I go to find presence. And I am so thankful to find beautiful reminders of my mother dearest.

For nature is my mother, present and with me, by myself and she in a different place, but she standing tall in the wildflowers next to me, and she swaying gently in the native grasses. She taught me to embrace the beauty in simple landscape. And in these landscapes I have found peace, gratitude, delight, love, and so much more; as does she. May it be so


Adoption 101

Being bounced from hospital to foster care to orphanage and receiving the most basic of care (food, shelter) without love or consistency of caregiver impacts attachment, trust & a sense of safety. It changes the way you relate to other people, and how you make sense of the world. Sure, each individual must confront their own trauma, and that takes tremendous courage. But this is trauma that for too long had no name. The trauma of adoption disrupts what the nonadopted majority believes by default of ignorance: that adoptees should be grateful and that adoption is only a gift. Adoptees weren’t traditionally brought up understanding what their grief was, because it was overshadowed by the parents’ joy and because the grief was an unknown.

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