I was talking with my father last night, my adopted father, and telling him that I always felt pretty disconnected from my family that I was raised in, both immediate and extended. I never felt like I belonged. I don’t even know what that means, ‘belonging.” As a transracial and transnational adoptee, queer, disabled, woman of color; all of it. I never felt deeply connected to them. Always felt odd; outsider.
So often it feels like a splitting. Like a fracturing inside of me. In a million different pieces; pulling one way and another at the same time.
We belong everywhere and nowhere at once, those of us living with multiple oppressed identities. We make our homes out of debris, migrating when the storms come—learning how to survive through the rain and snow. We make our home on the outskirts; on “this thin edge of barbed wire” (Gloria Anzaldua) and learn how to live without comfort.
Sometimes we have traded in parts of ourselves, just to know what it’s like to sit by a warm fire and sleep through the night. Just to have a break, take a breath and loosen our shoulders. But, I have found, comfort is never worth splicing myself open or erasing parts of myself.
We try and explain our lives through broken words and “well, it’s kind of like this” or, “no, no, it’s both and.” But how can you explain the complexities of a life? How can you explain the silent tearing of ableism? The way the ocean feels? The smell of garlic? Or the color crimson?
I try and explain to my white parents what life was like as an adoptee disabled queer girl of color and we wade through together trying to make sense of a life witnessed from the shore and experienced below the surface.
I say, “I just don’t know where I belong.” And they are silent because they know.