Archive for January, 2013

The Birth Mother/Birthday Clairvoyance

Posted in The Blog with tags , , , , , on January 24, 2013 by chateaucone

My birthday just passed, and it was, once again,  that weird day every year when I think I have some sort of mystical connection with my birth mother.

I figure my birthday is the one day of the year that she’ll definitely be thinking of me. I mean, she may be thinking of me on other days, but I can’t be sure of  which days those days are. Presumably, though, on the day I was born, 46 years ago, assuming she’s still alive–I mean, isn’t that the one day she’d be most likely to think of me?

So my birthday is sort of my place to stand in relation to my birth mother. I don’t know anything else about her (and as recent posts about DNA will attest, I don’t even know what I thought I knew).

And sometimes I need a place to stand.

Angel Guardian refused to give me that place, literally. I wandered around that building with my mother and our tour guide and asked all sorts of questions to determine if my birth mother had even ever set foot in any spot in the building at any time, and all I got was, “She may have, but she may have blah blah blah instead.”

“Just give me a spot,” I wanted to say. “A place she stood. For a minute. Forty years ago. C’mon.”

I can only stand in time, in a moment, think about her, and wait for something. I don’t know what. A sign. A shiver. The snap of a synapse. A flash of recognition in the mitochondria of a brain cell–so fast and small as to be very nearly missed, only felt in the echo.

This is somehow less satisfactory than being on a different continent than someone you love and looking at the same moon at the same time.

And anyway, here’s what really happens around my birthday. On the days leading up to my birthday, I think, “Oh. I have to remember to think about my birth mother on my birthday, because that’s the one day she’ll probably be thinking of me.” And then, on my actual birthday, I forget to do it. Or I do it sort of incidentally or half-heartedly. Not hard enough. Not in a meditating sort of way. Not in the engaged, forget-the-world-around-me sort of way that a spark would need to leap across the psychic synapses.

And then I feel bad for not trying harder. For forgetting to try harder.

This much didn’t even occur to me until I was about 40. All those years of possible psychic connection, wasted.

And what about her? What if my birth mother, after, say, thirty years or so, now goes through the whole day of my birthday without thinking of me, and remembers, maybe, only as she’s going to bed? Or only if she happens to write a check? How would she feel then? Would she feel bad for forgetting? Would she feel relieved? Relieved that she made it through the day, the big day, without thinking about the child she gave up, without being sad? Is she sad? Isn’t it a bit presumptuous of me to assume she’s sad? It’s been nearly half a century. Maybe she just put it all behind her. Maybe she repressed the whole thing and never thinks about it. I make all these assumptions–everyone around me does–that of course she thinks of me on my birthday. Of course. Of course.

But what do those assumptions mean? That she’s been miserable and missing me for 46 years? That’s not cool.

How do I want her to be feeling? What message do I want her to be sending me?

Just like the one I want to send to her: “Hey. I know you’re out there. I’m good. I hope you are too.”

The Time-Shampoo Continuum

Posted in Small Epiphanies on January 2, 2013 by chateaucone

Small Epiphanies: January 1

I have been using the same shampoo since 2008.

I know this because last night, I was trying to remember if I own a particular book, and so instead of going through the bookshelves, or the closets, I looked it up on Amazon, and ended up browsing through my purchase history for the past twelve years.

(Yes, I buy shampoo on Amazon. Free shipping. Cheaper giant size. No, not the same bottle since 2008.)

The point is, I have been using the same shampoo since 2008. At least.

How lame is that? Same brand. Same scent.

Time goes really fast as you get old. It’s crazy. It goes so fast that you don’t even notice that you are using the SAME SHAMPOO for four years. Four. Years.

Holy crap. I spent New Years Eve browsing my Amazon purchase history.


Posted in Small Epiphanies on January 1, 2013 by chateaucone

Small Epiphanies: December 31

This is the first year in a long time that my New Years Resolution isn’t “Finish my dissertation.”

And frankly, that feels kind of weird. I don’t quite know what to do with myself.

Usually, about this time of year, I’m trying to remember what my dissertation is about, and where I left off, and whether or not I can actually do what I set out to do when I started writing. Or whether I even want to.

This year, I am absent that sort of panic.

I am, however, having my usual New Year Fit of Organization. I just placed an order at the Container Store. All sorts of boxes and bins to organize my life and my desk.

I have, for years, thought this was a dissertation procrastination tool, but maybe not, because it’s lingering. The biggest post-dissertation indulgence I’ve been looking forward to is reorganizing my bookshelves, and purging. All the books I used for my dissertation that I don’t LOVE, or that didn’t change my life, or that I thought I was going to use, but didn’t–gone.

Imagine, on the shelves of your local Good Will, such choice items as Uncommon Sense: Theoretical Practice in Language Education,  or Writing the Qualitative Dissertation, or Composing Ethnography: Alternative Forms of Qualitative Writing or even  Autobiography and Postmodernism (although I think I might want to keep that one). Oh, but definitely The Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association. Someone might actually pick that one up.

Just let me know and I can hold any one of these for you.

And then, post-purge, I will create a new, fright-inducing, section of “Books I Have Bought But Not Yet Read,” aka “Books I Think I Should Read,” to inspire me both to read, and to stop buying.

Post-dissertation, I like to use “post-” as a prefix for EVERYTHING.

Post-creation of the new “Books I Think I Should Read” section, I will stop saying “should.”

And think about what I could do next.

Be it resolved.