So many things to talk about. So many changes, so many shifts, so much goodness and light and beauty. After years of walking in the dark, walking in the belief that you weren’t a good person if bad things weren’t happening to you, I have broken through the forests of doubt and uncertainty and abandonment and found the most beautiful place. Join me in my journey. =]
Currently listening to: Changes in the Weather, by Barefoot Truth. Click here to listen along
I’m currently about two and a half weeks out from going cold turkey off of my three antidepressants (Lexapro, Wellbutrin and Buspirone). I had tried going off of them slowly a few months ago but fell into such a deep depression that I had to go back on my regular dosage. I was so worried about having to go cold turkey due to not having health insurance, but honestly, I’m so so glad I did.
I made an effort to do what I could to reduce the side effects: I meditate when things get too stressful or I feel anxious, I take vitamins, try to get enough sleep, do things that help me be mindful (like coloring, cross stitching, painting, etc), and smoke marijuana to ease any anxiousness or headaches (shout out to not having a job that prevents me from saying that >.<). I’ve had one really severe migraine, but that seemed to be more so weather related and I’ve only had mild headaches occasionally since I quit. I also have brain zaps pretty frequently. These aren’t painful at all, they just feel like an electric current running through your nervous system. They’re only annoying, not horrible, and they’ll go away in a few weeks.
The biggest change I’ve noticed is that my range of emotion has increased so dramatically. I cry at literally everything now, from a sad scene in a tv show to a text about something happy that happened to a friend. It’s ridiculous. I feel like a pansy. =P But honestly I love being able to feel these things again. I feel like I can finally enjoy this beautiful life I have now to the fullest. My creativity has gone through the roof again and I’m constantly thinking of new ideas for my art projects and for songs (oh yeah, hopefully I’ll have some new musical ventures that I can share with you soon =]). I am surrounding myself with art and beauty and love, and feeling every little vibration of it. I feel like I’ve been let out of a cage that had glass walls. I could see everything but none of it would touch my soul. I’m learning to control my candle wick short temper, but with the loving guidance of my wonderful wife I’m getting there. =]
But guys, as wonderful and amazing as getting those feels back is, I have something so much more amazing to share with you.
I posted a few weeks ago on Facebook that I’m in contact with my biological parents, but I didn’t feel comfortable sharing all the nitty gritty stuff there for all the world to see. This is my space here to share those deep meaningful things and you beautiful souls are invited to share in them. =]
Growing up I knew about my biological parents, but not who they were or where they lived or why they gave me up. I was always taught that the fact they gave me up was a very brave and selfless thing to do, it meant they knew they couldn’t give me the life they wanted for me and chose to make someone else’s dream come true. While I knew that and believed it, it was hard for me to believe that they loved me or even thought about me anymore. Having never talked to them or had any clue as to what they were like (aside from basic vitals and hobbies), all I had to go on was my own imagination. As a kid I’d often search for my features in the faces of strangers in the grocery check out line, in cars beside us, in restaurants and malls. Were those my cheekbones? Was that my laugh? Were those my eyes? Was that my heritage, my bloodline, my DNA in another person? I was desperate to find my beginnings, to hear my family’s stories, to find out where I came from, whose energy I had flowing through my veins? I would pour over the couple of forms I had that they had filled out at my birth over and over throughout my childhood/adolescence.
Every birthday I would think of them and wonder if they were thinking of me too. Did my mom cry on those days? Did she even think of me? Did they look for me in the girls who would pass them on the street? Every year that passed felt like another chain link away from finding them, from finding myself.
When my parents disowned me, my mom asked me if that was why I’d been looking for my biological parents, as if I thought trading one set of parents for another would solve all my problems. I hated that every time I mentioned finding them she would react as though I’d just asked for the receipt from my adoption so I could return myself. I get why she felt that way, I just wish she would have tried to be more understanding to what I was going through. I never felt more like I didn’t belong anywhere in the world than after they disowned me. To me it felt like not only did one set of people not want me, but the people who swore to love me and care for me forever just kicked me to the curb. I felt like a puppy in a box, destined to wander up and down back alleys,begging to be taken home but left to sleep behind dumpsters for the rest of my life.
In 2015 the laws in Ohio changed; prior to then anyone born in 1987 was not able to access their own birth record. It would take a court order with a damn good reason for a judge to release them over to me. Once the law was changed, all I had to do was send $20 to the courthouse ten minutes from my house to get my birth record mailed to me.
I remember the exact moment I opened my mailbox and saw that envelope sitting there from the courthouse. I slowly pulled it out, ran my fingers over the return address, my stomach twirling like a ballerina on coke. I remember power walking back to my apartment, slamming the door and scrambling into an Indian posture on the floor against my couch. I set the envelope on the floor and stared at it, my hands pressed to my face in excitement/terror. I had waited 26 years for this moment. Who I was, where I came from was in that envelope. I had spent 26 years imagining what their names were, what my name would have been. I was terrified. To come face to face with an identity you’ve been chasing your whole life is a very…..how to describe this….teetering on the edge of a plane’s cabin, knowing you have a parachute on your back but also that you’re about to do something incredible feeling.
I sat there for maybe ten seconds before I grabbed that envelope and ripped it open. The papers fell into my hands and tears welled up in my eyes as I unfolded them.
Mother: Margery Ann Vasher-Downs
Father: Michael Sherman Downs
Child: Kimberly Marie Downs
And there we were. There I was. I had something tangible, something real that could potentially lead me to the moment I’d longed for my entire life. I tried not to cry on the papers. I called my parents and told them, texted my friends, then sat there again, by myself. I poured over every resource I could find online, background checks, social media, grasping for anything that would show me a picture. All I was able to glean was a few addresses and phone numbers that might have been theirs or might not have been. Over the next few days I would lock myself in my job’s privacy rooms and call all the numbers I could find. My efforts were futile and once again I faced the fact that I might be out of luck.
This past July I found my dad’s Facebook page and sent him a very short, to the point message:
“Hi Michael, I know this is really informal and everything, but I wanted you to know that I’m the daughter you and Margery had together in 1987. I recently got my birth records and wanted to reach out. Just so you know there’s no expectations on my end, if you don’t want to talk that’s ok, but if you do I’m here. You can reach me here or my number is 740-777-0940. Hope to hear from you, Christine”
I pushed down any hope that I would hear back, put my phone down and spent the next hour drifting into a fitful sleep.
The next morning I woke up to a familiar ding on my phone. I opened my eyes and stared at the ceiling. It was the Messenger ding. No, it has to be just a friend. Don’t get excited, Christine. Don’t get your hopes up. I reached for my phone, stared at my Messenger icon and sent up a prayer to every deity that may or may not exist.
The universe halted, spun on its axis and sent every good energy to our little apartment. The stars shifted in their spaces and aligned themselves. The gods put aside their differences and sent angels to protect that little bubble in time and space.
“Michael Downs: Gonna need a little bit of processing time. I’m so very glad you’re ok…..just need some time.”
My entire world was suddenly different and would never be the same again. I ran out of the bedroom to the living room where Eden was; we hugged and cried and spent the next few hours talking about what this meant, what it could mean, what might happen and what might not happen. We talked about how I shouldn’t get my hopes up, that I needed to guard myself against the possibility that this could end with a glad everything’s cool, please go away again.
Twelve hours later, I get another ding.
“So, I was just about to turn out the lights but before I go I just wanted to say I know this is hard for you. Because I’ve been there. And the person I wanted to just have a conversation with hung up on me. I’ll never hang up on you. Just gimme a little time to answer the phone ”
I can’t really describe what that moment was like for me. It was like a fire ran through my bones and let me know that I was no longer alone in the world. That I’d never really been alone.
The next day I was driving home from a friend’s house when my phone rings from an unknown number. I get a voicemail and decide to wait until I get home to listen to it. I have voicemail that converts the audio to text, so I read it when I get home. It’s my dad.
Voicemail: Click to listen
That’s my dad’s voice. That’s the voice I’ve waited to hear for 28 years.
Me: “Oh my god. Oh my god. Oh my godohmygodohmygod. Babe get out here. BABE GET OUT HERE YOU HAVE TO LISTEN TO THIS.” Eden came out and listened to it, and I spent about ten minutes freaking out about calling him back. I decided that I wanted to talk to him by myself, so I went into our bedroom and shut the door. I sat on our bed and tried to calm my pounding heart and shaking hands. I finally took the biggest breath of my life and picked up my phone.
Part 2 to come soon. =] Thanks for coming along so far. ❤