I’ve done a lot of thinking – wow, how dysfunctional am I? You probably don’t realize the last blog I posted was in October 2013. That was nineteen months ago! What was I doing those nineteen months, thinking about my family and all the emotions meeting them stirred up? Nope, I can tell you truthfully that I’ve spent most of that time efficiently and effectively avoiding all of it. And I’m very good at it. Most people disseminate information quickly. You want to get married? Well, let’s go get a marriage license and tell my family. The process is simple. Not for me. When it comes to my emotions, I compartmentalize everything. I “put a pin in it”, so to speak, then really try not to think about it again.
That’s not entirely true. I do think about things very much but it’s always on my time and in my own way. I have a very passive-aggressive personality. I may not tell you to your face I’m upset but my Facebook will look like a page from Psycho. Not pretty and truthfully, I’m not that bad. This inability to talk about my feelings has always been there. I can talk about anything on the surface – what I call “fluff” – church, my books, my family, and my friends. However, when you bring up my adoption or my biological family then you’re venturing into emotional territory and that’s an area under heavy guard. No one goes in there and sometimes not even me.
It seems a counter-productive way to figure things out but it works because I have gotten a lot of thinking done. Much has happened since the last time we spoke. My children and I drove to Oklahoma for Thanksgiving that year and I met three of my biological sisters. It meant so much to me because the information I got from the state said I had two older sisters only. That wasn’t true. In total, I have four sisters and a bunch of nieces and nephews. We kept the gathering small because it was very nerve racking for me and for them.
I got to see many more pictures of my mother, G, and found out that she too liked to write. I even read some of her poems and for me, that was a phenomenal moment. To know that not only did I look like her but that I took after her. I saw my family resemblance in all of my sister’s faces and found out the color of my eyes – which have always been unusual, not brown and not hazel – were exactly like my grandfather’s, Jack Buergey. I could go on and on with what I experienced but I won’t. It’s very personal. But I will tell you one more thing. I met an older lady. I don’t remember her name. She was in the kitchen at the Quapaw lodge and she was present when I was born.
There is so much that I still don’t know, about my family and my heritage, but I don’t think I need all the answers right now. I’m Indian but I was raised white, completely off the reservation with no concept of what everyday life is/was like on the reservation where my mother lived. I’m a child coming home and all the feelings I had as a kid are still there. What will they think of me? Will they like me? Am I one of them now? Who am I really?
That’s what I’ve been thinking about and I’ve come to a decision. I may not think of myself as an American Indian but I am one. I may not fit in there or anywhere but I’m going to try. I’ve had the paperwork to become a member of the tribe on my desk for a year. Last week, I filled it out and mailed it in. I got a call on Monday to tell me the tribe will meet at the end of the month, and at that time, I’ll be enrolled. This has been a long time coming for me, but it’s time.The “pin” is officially out.
This summer, my family and I are going back to Oklahoma and attending the annual 4th of July Quapaw pow wow where, for sure, I’m going to meet many, many more family members. And find out more information than I could ever possibly handle but I have a compartment for that. I’m sure nineteen months from now I’ll be ready to talk about it.