By CHRISTINE ROGERS
When I was a little girl and people would say that I looked like my father, I was filled with an incredible sense of happiness. Alongside this, and just as powerful for me, was the belief that I was actually a princess, and one day my ‘real’ parents would ride up on white horses and take me away to my rightful home, in a castle of course. Torn between wanting deeply to belong, and knowing that I didn’t quite belong, was a feature of my childhood.
I’m adopted. It’s not an uncommon story, especially when I was born, in the 1960s, but it’s commonality does not change how powerful this ‘story’ has shaped all the stories of my life. Just as the child is at the core of all of us, at the core of me is the unwanted child.
I’ve heard it said that to be creative you needed to have suffered in your childhood and I certainly did my share of that. Being adopted meant I had a deep sense of insecurity – after all, if the woman who gave birth to you doesn’t want you, then what are the odds that anyone else is actually going to stick around? This made me one tricky customer.
Typically adopted children either conform in order to earn the love they fear will be taken away from them, or they act out, rejecting love before it rejects them. Me, I was the cling-on when I was younger, then as a teenager and later, the acting out type. All in all, I was not the popular girl that I secretly longed to be. Weird and intense, I covered my myriad heart’s disappointments with sarcasm and a cutting wit.