“Pain is weakness leaving the body.” –Chesty Puller
April 14, 2018
Out of breath and in complete pain, I crept steadily up the Santa Monica Stair with my friend Kerrisha. “Come on, Janeen! You’ve got this!” she cheered 20 steps ahead of me.
Pause. The Santa Monica Stairs is a public stairway that descends from Santa
Monica to Los Angeles. It consists of 152 wooden steps and 18 concrete steps in a straight path, about 5.5 feet wide, separated by three horizontal landings. Altogether the 170 steps produce an overall vertical change of about 110 feet. People from personal trainers to beginners, like me, use these stairs to get their exercise on.
Kerrisha had given me a goal of 3 reps. (1 rep. = 1 flight up and down). I was on my way up from my first rep. and I felt sick to my stomach. “Pain is weakness leaving the body. Come on, girl, you got this!” She yelled from the top of the stairs. Is she trying to kill me? I said to myself. “Is my new discovery trying to kill me?” The emotional pain I’ve been enduring over the past week has been almost unbearable. I really felt like the Earth had cracked; I just happen to fall in it, and then it was slowing closing in around me, opening and closing every so often, giving me just enough space to breathe. I didn’t complete my 3 reps, but I finished 2, and I was okay with that. This was my first experience with this type of workout, just like it was my first experience with my life discovery.
When I got home, I relaxed and took it easy and checked my email. I had sent Jeannie an email on the 11th, and I was waiting for her reply.
Apr 11, 2018, 12:13 PM
I received confirmation, Monday, from the Children’s Home Society in NJ that you are my birth mother. I also confirmed this with my mother as she and my father never told me I was adopted and mixed-raced. My parents are (my father passed last year) Black/African American, and I was raised as a full-black child. I was cherished, well provided for, and deeply loved (and still is) by family. I am happily married and have to cute boys of my own.
I’m not sure where to go from here, as I know this may be as overwhelming for you as it is for me. I will let you lead as you see fit.
Apr 14, 2018, 5:08 PM
I’m a little overwhelmed to say the least. I am extraordinarily happy to be connected to you. When I think of our journeys, I am overwhelmed at all the turns that life and fate to bring us to this moment.
What would you like to ask me? I think that is an ongoing question. Can we arrange a call?
Yes, needless to say, the energy for the past 4 days has had me in a “twilight zone” state… My family and I are still in a state shock…
Sam and I are emailing each other, and I’m not ready to hear you or Sam’s voices just yet. So, if you don’t mind, I’d rather talk via email if that works for you. If so, I do have a few questions:
1) What’s my birth story? I’d like to know what it was like when you carried me. 2) Do you have any other children? 3) What do you do? Do you work? Are you retired?
That’s it for now – I know #1 is a deep one.
What would you like to know about me?
Apr 14, 2018, 7:08 PM
May I answer 2 and 3 first? Number 1 is big has a lot of mental weight for me.
I have 2 sons. Justin and Sean. Justin has two children. Sean has three children. I have 9 brothers and sisters. I am the youngest. I am a singer–A good singer. There is a lot to say. I am retired, but that does not mean anything. I will always work for what is good. I carry a cause. It’s in my blood.
There is a big family of loving, wonderful people all the country that is attached to you.
I spent the rest of my evening in an email exchange with Jeannie. I was a bit giddy until she sent me a brief email about details on the day I was born. Jeannie was 16 and gave birth to me in pain and in anger. After I arrived, she didn’t hold me. Back then, if you announced to the hospital that you were giving your child up for adoption, you forfeited your right to see or hold your newborn. She said this option was a good one for her because if she did touch me, she’d never been able to give me away.
After that somber email, I began to wonder what I may have felt during my moment of birth. Did I feel disconnected? I kept imagining myself lying in the nursery around all of the other babies crying for food or their mothers. The other babies had the opportunity to go back and forth between their nursery and listen to their mother’s heartbeat and voice. Me? No such event. I’m a very emotionally connected person, and if I was that way back in ’72, then I know I know I must have felt alone and angry just like Jeannie. I tried not to dwell on “Baby Jennifer,” but I am her, and she is me. However, learning about my birth brought light to two issues I’ve dealt with my whole life:
1) Trust in people
2) Separation anxiety
Out of breath and in complete pain, healing needed to happen to my wounded heart and spirit.