When I was four months old I was adopted. It took me years and years to realize how lucky that I was in the parents that got me. There were a lot of reasons for this. My mother, a devout christian, always tried to instill in me her beliefs, her character and her personality. Normally, children do take on traits of their parents. Some would say this is DNA and some would argue that your behaviors are completely learned. Even at a very young age I knew, I felt, like I was out of place. At around 5 or so I can remember the check out clerks, pretty much anyone questioning my mother, "where did she get that red hair!" And my mother in her wisdom and class always answered the same way. "From the milkman!" Well at 5 I had no clue what this meant. All I knew was that my Daddy was a milkman. He worked for a local dairy for as long as I could remember. So it always made sense to me... even though my Daddy was italian and had very dark black hair. I never questioned that statement. Just that I didnt fit. By age 10 or so I began to notice other things. My sisters, who were also adopted but were sisters by blood, looked very different then I did. As a matter of fact, just where the hell did I get this red hair?? The calico eyes? And why the hell was I so short??
Well my adoptive mother and father never hid it from me that I was adopted. Since I was the only child they had adopted in infancy, I was really the only clueless one in the house. They did everything, from buying books about adoption to read to me, to answering as best they could any questions that I had about my biological parents. Although by age 5 I knew I was adopted, even I questioned why I wasn't more like the folks who had spent so much time raising me. My parents, both very solid grounded people had no clue where my wild streak came from. Shit, I didnt either. I just knew that I was a wild and carefree spirit. I was fearless, yet careful. Opinionated, yet open to ideas. I was also their baby though, and my activities astounded them more than anyone. I think somewhere in their minds they felt they had failed me. They had tried to bring me up right, and here I was, doing everything I could to be wrong. My mother tried to force me into religion, boy, did that NOT take. They both wanted me to act the proper young lady, meanwhile I was busy in the neighborhood starting and winning fistfights with the local boys. They wanted me in dresses, and I would saunter home, big rock in hand to declare that I had finally 'wailed Chris in the knot' one good time, and was covered in his blood. Oh, my parents never fooled themselves though, and I used to get SO mad, that instead of my parents accusing me of falling to peer pressure, they always assumed... they always KNEW, that I was the leader of them all, that I did and others followed, never the other way around. Peer pressure applied on me has always resembled this...
Friend: You should try this!
Joy: You should fuck yourself!
I have no idea when, where or how I became so intimidating. Christ, Im only 5 foot 2 now. As a kid I may have weighed 100 lbs, soaking wet. But my best friends, the ones I love to this day, have never caved to that. Whereas hoards of elementary school and junior high school kids feared me insanely, I never respected those kids. I never respected and still to this day can not bring myself to befriend someone who is not willing to stand up to me and tell me to STFU if I need to be told so. In junior high I had friends here and there, but the thing about me was that I never really cliqued. My friends were the jocks, and the freaks and the kids that didnt fall into any catagory. But were my own friends to harrass the retarded kid, or the kid that was too fat, or the kid with the thick glasses, they could more or less expect me to jump on them and pound them in the face. I was never one to stand and ignore injustice.
Wow, did this NOT comply with the standards set at home. At home I was taught, a lady always acts like a lady. Ladies do NOT hit. Ladies do NOT hang out with boys non-stop. Ladies stand STRONG, but silently in the back ground. Ladies DO care what the neighbors think. Ladies do NOT draw attention to themselves for any reason. I think I got the best of both worlds though, and I do not regret it for an instant.
I willl end Part I though on this note.
From my fathers italian standards, I DID pick up most excellant table manners. I did learn to care just enough about what the outside world thinks to have and show some class in my living standards. And I did learn that even if you can't have your own children, kids that you love just as much as you would your own blood, would feel greatly loved and would still be the little girl who loves their Daddy endlessly, even at 33. (I still call him Daddy, never called him Dad, not once)
From my mother I learned to bend sometimes, but never ever break. To never show fear in the face of adversity. To find faith in whatever moves me, and never let anyone take that away, hoard it, hide it if you have to, it will be the steel that strengthens your spine when you feel like turning to jello. And to remember that children ARE children, but they are also future adults and that without some firm guidance and discipline, they will end up the adults that you would never call friends. And most importantly, sometimes Mommas have to be the bitches. Daddys are too busy being the friends and the breakers of Mommas rules, and that even though it might break Mommas heart, sometimes she has to say no, for you, for your future. Dont let them see you break, go to your room, cry your heart out if you have to, but return to them the same strong Momma that they KNOW loves them, but just wont let them get away with murder. (Still call her Momma too. Maybe this is a girl thing cuz my son calls me Mom, hasnt called me Momma since he was around 10)
Til Part II...