"When you hit rock bottom, you have nowhere to go but up"
- Pattie Mallette
"For years this disconnect had me convinced I was adopted, because I always felt like I didn’t belong.
Every now and then something would drive that powerful feeling to the surface and I’d go on a rampage. I remember one time in my teens when I frantically searched the house for a piece of evidence— anything that would confirm I was adopted. I had convinced myself my birth mother was somewhere out there. Maybe she was even looking for me.
I threw open every cupboard in the kitchen, rattling the glasses and china like an aftershock. I opened and slammed shut desk and dresser drawers throughout the house. There had to be something somewhere. Just one measly document. I rummaged through closets, tossing aside old shoes, musty sweaters, and dusty boxes of God-knows-what. I turned the house upside down that day like a narc looking for drugs.
With an unexplained desperation, I finally cried to my mom, “I know I’m adopted! Stop lying to me. Just tell me where the papers are. I know it’s true.”
My mom must have thought I was nuts. “Stop it,” she begged. “What are you talking about?” She grabbed a pair of photos and shoved them in my face, comparing our baby pictures side by side. “You look just like me! Why would you even think you’re adopted?” But I couldn’t stop thinking about it. And I couldn’t calm down. Something in me was still convinced I didn’t belong. This was not my home. She was not my mother.
Damaging feelings don’t just show up out of nowhere. They’re birthed from experiences, from moments that wield the power to shape us. Sometimes we can’t even recognize the magnitude of those pivotal events until years later.
When my dad left us, it ripped a hole in my heart—one that began filling with thoughts and feelings that would challenge and ultimately damage my identity and self-worth. The wound of being abandoned travels deep and forever changes you.
Even today I can still close my eyes and feel the emotional chaos that marked my heart when he walked out. I was only two when my dad left, but I still remember it vividly, as if it happened yesterday. In fact, it’s my earliest childhood memory."