My File Part V: Searching for Self


This piece was originally written in 2012 as a part of a short series I wrote about exploring my adoption file. I believe this was supposed to be the final piece in the four part series. I have edited it and thought it should be included. 

My File Part I: A Baby’s Biography

My File Part II: Bites Away

My File Part III: Mouse Free

My File Part IV: In Lieu of Birth Certificate

Perhaps looking through the folder I was searching for something that helped explain me, or where I came from. Most of my life I have felt in-genuine, like I wasn’t truly who I am. I felt like I’ve been acting. I was looking through this folder to find me. I wanted to know who I was and the only way I knew how to do it was by trying to find my origin. Who my biological relatives were, where I was born, why I was given up and how I came to be where I am. This folder, the files from SOC SEAD, would surely clear up my true identity.

I felt that something was missing – my origin. Without it I felt I couldn’t properly be myself or understand who I was. This folder would hold these answers and set me free of my journey and allow my true self to take over – to be revealed. Something great, naturally.  After years of looking over that blue folder, finding more scraps of paper and files tucked away in other files and most recently my almost entire adoption application packed away in a plastic Tupperware in our basement I must stop my search. “Discovering” who my biological relatives are, why I was given up….etc will provide no more insight into who I am than I already know. Yes, it would provide some certainty and perhaps relief, but change who I am it would not.

Up until this point in my life I had always felt like my life began when my father landed in India and met me to pick me up and take me back to the United States. Being birthed was not an experience I felt I had been a part of, for there were no stories of it and no recollections on my part.

That illusive indeterminable true identity stares me in the face every time I shave or check myself out in a mirror or puddle.

This isn’t a strategic plan or a novel or a marketing plan. There is no narrative arch to why I am who I am. This is my life. No predetermined purpose, just what has happened to me and how I have reacted.

I’m not quite sure what I was hoping to find when I opened that blue folder, but when I closed it and put back in the Tupperware I felt disappointed and betrayed. Disappointed it had held so little of what I had hoped for. Betrayed by my self for allowing me to believe that answers about my past could be so easily accessed as opening a folder. I spent much of my childhood not allowing myself to think about my life before coming to the U.S. I got my hopes up and got burned the way I had told myself I would and it hurt like hell.

I opened that folder thinking it could tell me who I am. I wasn’t just looking for information about my life in India I was looking for clues to who I am. It was foolish, yet hopeful. Hopeful that there was still an easy way to resolve my insecurities and the uncertainty that fills my past. There isn’t an easy way, there is no silver bullet. I know this, but exploring the contents of that blue folder was the first time I actually believed it.

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