I am guilty of being born into a guilty situation, I am the wages of sin, I am the outcome of sin, I am the bastard child, the orphan, the one who was not meant to be here, the mistake, the accident, the problem that needs to be dealt with, the unloved one, the one that needs to be punished not celebrated for his arrival on earth. I am the complication that sent the State and its government department into action, I am the one that the priest turned his face away from, I am the one that the nuns would have none of, I am not the golden one, I am not worthy of celebration, I am only worthy of punishment. There is no joy here, there are thrilled voices crying out welcome, I am merely an entry into a ledger, I am the motherless and fatherless child sitting alone in his cot waiting, I am the one who always cries and never shuts up, I am that problem in the corner who should be grateful for being looked after at all, I am the one who should be guilty about his existence and blessed by any crumbs that are swept off the table of life in my direction.
Who am I? Illegitimate, who am I? A bastard, who am I? Unwanted, the one about which one needs to make a decision, who am I? The black sheep, the accident, who am I? The one who brings perpetual shame to his family, and what did I do wrong, I existed, I was brought into existence the wrong way, not the planned way and for that I am sorry, can the makings of you be viewed as joyful, the sex as free spirited and triumphant, there is no joy in sex, only whores take pleasure in sex and give it out, sex is only for marriage and your Mother, whore that she is forgot that.
Oh take me home, country road to a place that I belong, a song that I loved as a child but there was no home, home for me had to be earned, there was no place for pure belonging, life was no idyll, life was no pleasure fest of the senses, life was hard, a punishment that needed to be borne with good faith and humility otherwise nobody would love me, the homeless one, the one who did not belong who was through the Grace of God allowed to reside with others.
It is obvious , well at least it was to me, I had done something wrong, and that was why she was gone, long gone and with her all my happy days but were there ever any happy days, my conception was in the eyes of society a sin, an abomination, outside of marriage, and nobody wanted to admit that nice girls did that or enjoyed sex outside marriage and if you did indulge and got caught, they were all at it, then you, yes you were a guilty slut.
But wait, they were I protest, all at it, even back in the 1920’s pregnancy outside of wedlock was as high as it was in the so called scandalous era of “closed adoption” post-World War Two, but now they had a solution, a final solution.
But wait I hear you say, in this glorious period of post World War Two science was King, the age of scientific rule and benevolence was in, the Welfare State would take care of all our problems in a caring and sharing manner, not the Church and its Institutions. But the Church was there, out in the open, amongst the Bunsen Burners and science, informing the morality of the time, sex was bad, sex was guilt, sex outside of marriage for pleasure had to be reigned in and now the y had the full weight of the States “Closed Adoption Policy” behind them along with the social workers who were determined to make their work a profession by preying upon unwed mothers.
But wait, I had nothing to do with this, with her pregnancy, well she does claim that “she was raped”, maybe you are a bad seed, you carrying him inside you, his genes, maybe you are like him, you carry the sins of your father don’t you. And as for her, she hates sex, always has, so one of your brothers says, obsessed with it all her life, dirty, not something that she enjoys or ever has, not good, a good Christian woman is she, sex is a duty that a woman does for a man once bound in the arms of marriage.
Oh joy, joy, joy, I swam in her guilt, I was bathed in it, I was made in it, I was soaked in it as she carried my brother and I around in her womb, how could she hide us, the fact that she had no wedding band, the fact that she was alone, unmarried, a sinner in need of punishment. But she was not alone, she had found him, a new man and he did not want us, the wages of sin outside of marriage, no he wanted like a feral animal to replace us, to punish us, to kill us, to banish once we had reached the world so that we could be replaced with his progeny produced the right way, through marriage, because nature decreed that only marriage makes fit and proper babies that are right for keeping.
He gave her an ultimatum, it’s them or me, she chose him, she chose the right way, yes he was giving her a chance as the theorists of closed adoption had maintained to begin again with a blank slate, putting her past, her unfortunate mistake for which she had been rightfully punished behind her. Her breasts were swollen with milk, her nipples were tight, she was ready to nurse the bastards but what to do with all that milk, all those signs of her sin when the bastards had been taken away. It would not take long, within a year she was pregnant again in the right way to him and we had vanished into thin air, a secret, a bad secret that she could lay to rest in her marital bed in which she was very busy doing her duty but not enjoying it as more and more children replaced us.
But what becomes of the mistake, of the replaced, well I was still here, in this world, in the loving care of the State, fed by the nurses from a Breast Milk bank, yes my milk as befits a no good bastard who comes from nowhere came from multiple woman, I had no mother now, I had no father, I was a motherless and fatherless child as like the blues song but I was bluer than that, for I was guilty, yes I saw myself as being terribly guilt of some unknowable crime for which I was being punished in the most cruel ways possible, why else had she not come back?
Well she was never coming back, she had been punished, banished in one direction and us in the other, none of the family wanted me or my brother, we were skeletons being silently confined to the closet , our Grandfather had died, not that he would have been much use given his problems with the sauce, too much death he had seen in that State sanctioned murderous sport for young men called war, he was a medical orderly, he liked to save lives but he could not have saved us, our new born lives were destined to die. My Mum claims that my Great Gran sat in the car outside the hospital, she was too ashamed to come in, my Gran on the other hand did, only to deliver the message that “your step-father does not like boys’. The message was clear, there was to be no support, she had had a baby out of wedlock and had then married my Grandfather whom she met halfway through the war, yes a shotgun marriage much like my mother intended. Unlike my mother, Gran kept her first child, a boy and when her marriage broke she only took him and my mother back to Australia and left her youngest son behind for adoption.
Oh she was a saucy character and a survivor was my Gran and unlike my mother she rather enjoyed the company of men and so it did not take her long to find a new one with whom she married and had yet more children. My mother felt left out, oh how she wished to have been adopted out along with her younger brother rather than having to put up with her mother’s abuse and constant punishment of her. Yes she was a third world, an imposition upon the new family and its happiness, or so she was made to feel, well hell I know where she is coming from, been there, done that. Not that anyone would ever listen, including her and I tried so hard for her to listen to me, for her to lift my guilt over her leaving, for her to make me feel that I had no part to play in this, for her to make me feel that it was not my fault, that it was not that I was being punished for being unlovable and that this was not why she had left me.
Oh I keep going on and one about this, I have done all my life because I feel guilt, I feel that I have done something wrong, something awful and that if I am not perfect I will once again be abandoned, be rejected and I could not stomach that again, all that fear, all that anxiety, all that waiting in my cot like a complete and utter loon, naked, vulnerable, dependent upon the good will of strangers, no one there to protect me, wide open to being hurt, to being punished, to having my heart crushed.
All my life I have wondered “why me?”, “why did it have to come to this”, all my life I have wished the opposite of what my mother wished, I have wished to undo my adoption, to undo the stigma of it, of the fact that my very own mother did not want me, at least her mother kept her, at least she was wanted, goodness imagine how my Uncle felt being the one that was left behind like some third wheel, like a dead weight, ye t my mother sees him as the lucky one.
I am going crazy, I cannot stomach the magnitude of her gift, of the fact that she really felt that she was handing us the keys to the lottery, freedom from her, from our family, how bad was that family, I do not understand her, this, why she felt compelled to do this, why she cannot say sorry that she did this and thereby lift this burden off me, this burden of feeling that this was all my fault, yes all my fault that I got left behind, beached along with my twin, goodness imagine what it would have been like if she had of decided to take one of us, what would it have been like for the other. My Gran claims that she was happy that we were twins because at least we had each other but we never had each other because the moment we were born the pain of mum leaving tore us apart. He took it out upon the world and blames me, I went inwards, he went into a bottle, he went into drugs, he went into prison, he was punished, he was not perfect. Yes I was perfect, always trying to be bloody perfect and punishing myself when I failed to be perfect. I am the self hating one, well he is to, it is just that for me it is obvious, all that self analysing, tearing myself apart, wondering if God was punishing me for some unspecified crime and that is why he/she had taken all my family with the exception of a twin whom I do not get on with, from me.
And as for that family, once again, I float around it, the depth of this despair, the depth, the true depths of my self hatred, loathing and pain as I lay there in my cot, stuck on this wound, like a fly caught on fly paper, never able to escape from it no matter what I build to accomplished because at heart felt that I was never good enough, that I was rotten to the core inside, unable to be loved because if your very own mother is unable to stay, love and look after you then who will.
Yes, the seeds of self punishment were planted inside me from the moment I was born, my guilt over her, yes over her, and where was he, the one who had planted the seed, come to think of it, where is he, the one who was never held accountable for this, the man that she claims raped her, whom I have never met, the silent shadow that I fear, the rapist that I fear I might be deep inside, the bad seed, but did he really rape her?
The truth is a long way from coming home, few believe my mother but the guilt remains, walking down the street years later one of my half brothers asks me” is it true that your father raped our mother”. I carry the sins of my father and I carry the sins of my mother, I am punished for both yet I have only met her and that side of my family. Who is he? Is he like my brother a bad seed? Well my adopted father claimed that my brother was a bad seed and that was why he had defied him that was why he was a drinker that was why he acted out so much.
I tried so hard in my cot, I tried so hard as a child to hold it all in, to hold all this pain in, it was after all my fault that I had wound up here with strangers and their two daughters, how else could I explain her leaving me, why else would a mother leave her child behind, leaving him with nothing, no information, no clues, no traces, leaving him with strangers who do not love him leaving him to stand on his own.
The moment that they told me that I was not one of them in an argument it all made sense, yes my adopted mother waved her arms, pursed her lips and told me that I belonged to someone else, I knew it and now I understood why I needed to find her because only she could make me feel better inside, only she could make me feel loved.
I kept my love for her, deep inside, I kept myself hidden so that my adopted father could not find it, myself was my gift for her. Meanwhile my brother was punished for being bad, a bad seed, acting out, stealing money, trying to burn the school down, tantrums, being chased around the school room, for being an ungrateful little bastard. It was clear that he needed to be punished, banishment was the only option, our family took a vote, I put my hand up, that made it alright, and he was gone.
I helped him run away once, I helped him pa ck his bag, I helped him climb out the window into the starry night sky, once he was gone I told on him. There was me and there was them, nothing I did was ever good enough, I lived in guilt, taking biscuits from the cupboard with my brother a few times, we were not allowed free access to the cupboards because we could not control ourselves, our sisters who were flesh and blood to them had free access. I was not as good as them, I was never perfect, they never had to be perfect but I knew that I had to be, I had to be perfect at everything in order to belong otherwise they would not keep me. I tried so hard to please them, to please my teachers, to please everyone around me. I took it all to heart, I was not good enough, I did not belong anywhere, I did not know where I came from, there were no clues, there was no way of going back to where I had come from so I had to do what I could to fit in, to survive and life was survival nothing more, nothing less. Love was not free, it had to be conquered, it had to be won, love was a competition and there was not a lot of it to go round. Did they love me, I will never know, I was never hugged, I wish that I had of been.
But this is the wish, this is the dream, this is the reality, this life of constant toil, of constant gut wrenching guilt, of always feeling far from perfect, of feeling second best, of being so bad that they had to hide where you came from. Of where you came from being so shameful that it has to be hidden, that it has to be a secret that is not talked about by anyone, you are not special, you are a mistake, someone who does not deserve unconditional love, a home or a family, you have been taken, there is no place to call home.
And so you punish yourself and push yourself relentlessly, you must succeed, you must be perfect otherwise you will be punished and he does punish you all the time, he does punish you relentlessly and so you wander around feeling permanently guilty as if you have done something wrong all the time. Years later he tells you that you were much too sensitive as a child and that he felt that he had to toughen you up for the hard knocks of life by punishing you all the time. The man is sick but his is your punishment for being a bastard, one of two bastards that is and boys and especially twin boys are hard to place.
There can be no room for mistakes, for love you have to be perfect and inside you know your guilty secret, you are not perfect, your mother did not love you enough to keep you and so you were adopted, you must keep this fact away from people at all costs, you must keep your adoption like everyone else does a dirty little secret. You must blind them with your achievements so that they do not see who you really are, that guilty secret that you carry inside, that unlovable self that you drag around like a millstone.
But what happens when you cannot rehabilitate this self, when it is beyond redemption, when even a reunion with your own mother fails to lift this curse of unlovability, when she reminds you of where you came from and that you might be like your father, a bad seed, a rapist, what happens then, how will you live, how will you continue in this life now that all hope of lifting this curse has gone?
You will run back into the arms of academic success attempting to banish how unlovable you feel to the very depths but it won’t work you have now a hunger for love, a hunger for redemption, a hunger to prove that you can be loved, that people can love you, that your self can be taken and adored by another and so you find her. The most abandoning woman that you can find, a straight woman who reminds you of your mother, who lures you with the promise of belonging to the middle class, to proper society, the lure of belonging at last. And so you do everything that you can to convince her to love you, you cut of all your interests, all of who you are, you do what you have learnt so well in this life, you perform, you please, you beg, you do everything in your power to turn her round and by doing so you break your heart, your soul, your mind wide open on the altar of your pain.
Out comes the pain of your adoption, of your mother abandoning and rejecting you, it overwhelms you like a tsunami and because no one has ever told you that it was not your fault you blame yourself for how you feel, you blame yourself for not being a perfect student, for not being a perfect lover, for your collapse, for your breakdown and so you condemn yourself to death as an unlovable failure who does not deserve love.
You punish yourself, you feel guilty for what you have done all in the name of love, of trying to be loved and so the years, the restless years of wandering in the desert, wanting to die, not knowing how to heal because no one has ever taken your pain seriously begin. You have no option but to keep walking or die as you flagellate and blame yourself for what has happened, the loss of all your family, the loneliness, the despair, the loss of your mother substitute which was sadly academic success at a University, your anger at your denying your intuition which told you time and time again to leave her, to stop trying to please her but you stayed and broke down instead such was your hunger for love.
But this is the only way out, total destruction is the only path towards healing and mercy but you do not know this yet, you asked for rebirth, you asked for healing and that can only come through the destruction of everything that you built in this life in an effort to shield yourself from the shocking pain of her loss. The only way forward is the dark path through the valley of death, the only way forward is for you old life to die, the only way forward is death for only through death can you be truly born free of her dark shadow, free at last be yourself.