Thursday, March 25, 2010

Emotions, Surrender, and Justice, Oh My!

We mothers of SMAAC often get criticized for being angry like that is some kind of character defect. Well, it can be, I guess, if it isn't justified and properly channeled. But this is the picture that those who say we are bitter and angry see in their minds. They seem to think we wear that anger, like a hair shirt, 24/7. Well, Yeah...we are pissed over a grave injustice done to vulnerable girls and women with impunity, just because the doers could. But give us a break. We do have a life. What we do with our anger is to direct it into activism, writing, voting and bringing to light the cause we hold dear. We are no longer naive nor are we without intelligence and experience that allows us to find a healthy way to use our displeasure. Righteous indignation is not a crime.

The same group of critics think we are languishing in depression and grief, never able to pull ourselves out of the dungeon of our despair. Anyone who has ever lost anyone dear to them will tell you that there are always moments of sadness when you think about that loss. But that doesn't mean we cover ourselves in ashes every morning. Would it surprise anyone to know that we joke and laugh and even do fun things with our families and friends?  I have a flash of grief when I remember my mother's death and the death of my step-son. Who wouldn't? I cannot say that I don't feel a pain in the region of my heart when I remember saying goodbye to my babies.

This critical bunch also has accused us of overreacting to certain events. What do we have, they wonder, about which to be alarmed? As long as it doesn't affect us directly, it shouldn't matter, should it? Why do all that blogging and write all those letters and get yourself all "worked up?" Why debate certain points on forums and get involved in arguments? What's the pay-off? Can anyone benefit from this? Jeeze...what about peace of mind and positive thinking? The fact that a single person could get educated seems to escape the Nay-sayers.
All of this really makes me want to laugh, at times. We, as a nation, are so afraid of our emotions that we give them entirely too much power. The stoical, judgmental Puritan lives on and on in our society. Emotions are just that, emotions, neither good nor bad. It is how you act on them that makes the difference. Anger, for instance, is not toxic unless we let it become a source of resentment and hostility that precludes any meeting of minds or hearts. Used as fuel for a just cause, it can be positive and a rational, reasonable response. Twelve-step programs are great for teaching people how to cope with emotions and not to fear them. In fact, they see fear, not anger, as our greatest enemy.

Now courage, as most already know, is not the absence of fear, but doing what you think is right in spite of your fear. It takes a lot of ovarian fortitude for women who were told to go, sin no more and keep your mouths shut or your life will be ruined and no decent man will ever want you, to come out of the beemommie closet. When we do, we have a lot of intense feelings through which we have to sort and conclusions to reach. Some of us have reached the conclusion, after our emergence into the light of truth, that we can best deal with our experiences by trying to find justice and equality for us and our children. Gosh, what a concept! I don't know that I expect to find it in my lifetime, but I will be happy to sow the seeds for a later harvest. You see, I have a darling great-granddaughter and I want the horror of surrendering a child to the adoption industry to be completely off her radar.

So go ahead. Gibe, slur, slam and get snarky. Each person does what they have to do. But I choose not to see emotions as either negatives or positives, but as internal indications that there is something going on which I need to investigate and respond to, rationally. I will continue with SMAAC, with writing this blog and my other blog which is my paean to liberal politics, I will continue to be alarmed and indignant about dirty open records bills that teem with contact vetoes and intrusive demands for "medical information." I will wipe away a tear when I think of the dear ones I have lost, the time I have lost in my children's lives, and the way I was treated as a pregnant teen. If there is something about which to get huffy, then get huffy, I will.

And, most of the time, I will be glad to be alive, to have people to love and to find life, itself, so laughable at times that I can even laugh at myself. My cup is half full and I won't let this crap take me down with it. Heck, I can even get pissed, now and then. A good fight never really diminished anyone. I breathe better when the air is cleared.


Anonymous said...

As usual, you hit the nail on the head.

People truly think that we are just supposed to go away, hide in shame and let them live their lives with our children and grandchildren; sans our (rightfully so) very loud voices in the background saying that we deserve to be heard and the injustices against us by the corrupt adoption industry need to be exposed for what they are: lies, greed and devastation for us who are forced into the shadow world of the beemommie...

We DID NOT deserve to have our children and grandchildren taken from us by the adoption industry and their selfish, self-entitled paying customers, who think they are so much more worthy of our children than we are.

I love your blog and the truth you speak here. Don't ever let anyone keep your stong voice from being heard.

Those who oppose what you say and get snarky are the one's who are threatened by the truth. Who better to speak the truth of what adoption is really about than that of the person who lost everything, the first mother.

Sandy Young said...

Better to get things out in the open, air them out, let them see the light of day. It was the idea that staying quiet, worrying about what the neigbors would say, and being afraid to offend others was a superior way to handle problems that landed us in maternity homes, and in Natural Mothers groups in the first place.

Anger is not always sin. There is a type of anger of which the Bible approves, often called “righteous indignation.” ...Two Greek words are used in the New Testament for our English word “anger.” One means “passion, energy” and the other means “agitated, boiling.” Biblically, anger is God-given energy intended to help us solve problems....Notice that none of these examples of anger involved self-defense, but a defense of others or of a principle.

Anger turns to sin when it is ...or when anger is allowed to linger (Ephesians 4:26-27). Instead of using the energy generated by anger to attack the problem at hand, it is the person who is attacked. Ephesians 4:15-19 says we are to speak the truth in love and use our words to build others up, not allow rotten or destructive words to pour from our lips.... Anger also becomes sin when the angry one refuses to be pacified, holds a grudge, or keeps it all inside (Ephesians 4:26-27). This can cause depression and irritability over little things, often things unrelated to the underlying problem.

I think that righteous anger in the face of abuse is the Godly thing to do and the sin is in suppressing it to the point of self-destruction and allowing the destruction of others.

Anonymous said...

kitta here:

good post!

Jesus got angry in the temple when he overturned the money-changers' tables.

he saw the fraud, the misrepresentation, and the profanity..the violation of a holy place.

Anger can be a justified response to injury and pain. It needs attention, not denial.