April 10, 2018
“This is Janeen. I called to let you know that, yes, we are half-siblings.” An ice-cold sensation came over me and I trembled as that phrase came out of my mouth.
“Ha! I knew that already!” he quipped.” I knew he must really be my “brother” because this guy was really starting to irritate me like a sibling. His cockiness was beginning to overwhelm me.
“So, uh… Where do we go from here?”
No, soon after, that he said cheerfully, “Well, look at that! It’s national siblings day!”
What? I said to myself. You’ve got to be kidding me. About a second later, my phone beeped. David had sent me a text with a screen grab to prove it. Who invented that dumb-ass holiday?, I said to myself. And why is this the first time I’ve ever heard of it? It’s been only 24 hours since I’ve found out about my adoption, and David is jumping right in to claim is position as a baby brother.
Pause. For the record, Jamar Jackson will forever be my baby brother.
Later that day, I went to Facebook and posted a photo of Jermaine and Jamar for National Siblings Day. I was determined not to allow any situation nor holiday break us apart.
Let me explain the shock I went through when I discovered that my brothers, were not my biological brothers and that David is my blood brother. First, the impact was so more significant than finding out I was adopted. My brothers and I, growing up, had a powerful connection. Because we recognized that we three didn’t look alike, we found body features that brought us together. For example, Jermaine and I had similar lips, Jamar and Jermaine were tall, Jamar and I had the bodacious booties, etc. This helped us stay connected. Now, here comes David. I had an allergic reaction to his photo and to the sound of his voice. Every cell in my body itched uncontrollably, and my throat swelled whenever I said his name. I went from having two Black men as my siblings to a White man and his two sisters as siblings.
Suddenly, the foundation that was built for me began to shake and rock. The truth was trying to break free. Memories from my childhood began to crack, my identity sank in to the quicksand of chaos, and my emotions began to erupt. And with most disasters, I wasn’t prepared.
How do you manage under extreme stress?
How would you manage an identity change?