Wednesday, December 6, 2006

Before Vijay Busts a Gut...

So while over at Vijay's place the other day on scan man's notes pitifully mourning my low IQ score from his online test (108--I normally rank around 130, I swear!!!) I inadvertently made the mistake/discovered the art of link baiting. Oops! I posted that his part of the world (or nearby) was very near and dear to my heart.

I've been trying to map out in my head how to talk about my family. There's just so much of it. I guess you just go with the flow and start typing? So, I may as well drop this bomb. I alluded to it in one of my lists on the right...someone I'd like to meet.

My biological father is from Pakistan. I know very little about him. I might not ever know much more. You see, my Mom is quite ill--mentally--and really in denial about it all. I mean, she's crackers. I've been trying to think of ways ever since I found out this choice piece of information, how to talk to her about it but I may never get anything out of her.

But I'm getting ahead of myself.

In the very late 1960s my family (well my non-biological father) was in Karachi on business. Back in those days, companies paid for the entire brood to travel abroad, especially if it was for extended periods. My older sister even had part of her first year of school (a version of Kindergarden) there.

Mom never adapted very well to the cultural change. And she was tremendously agoraphobic. While the other Western woman of the colony would socialize and shop (while the men were away working) Mom would just hide. She was terribly lonely, I think. She ended up having an affair with the hamal, basically a porter or servant in the home. They had several servants, a cook etc... being Westerners. My mother spent a lot of time with this man, as did my father (they were the same age and became good friends) and I believe that she really loved him--that they loved each other. She even nursed him through a terrible case of Dysentery so I've been told.

I was also a twin--or so they thought. Mom miscarried in her first trimester but upon further examination, she was still pregnant. The explanation was that she miscarried Sister? Who would know? But the story is that another foetus was there. She was advised to travel to London as the pregnancy and delivery might prove to be difficult but she refused to leave. Was that because she refused to leave the man who fathered me? Or did she just not want to be alone and travel to yet another foreign country? Perhaps both? I have no answers at all surrounding these issues of my birth and so many more.

My family travelled home to Canada and I was born without incident. Oh but I sure looked different! My sister was fair with almost flaxen hair in her childhood. I was so dark! A convenient foil? Oh, there were black genes waaaay back on my non-biological father's side. That was it!

I lived under this assumption until I was 29 and had my first psych hospitalization. I did not call my mother as I did not need absolute hysteria as I could barely deal with my own. Actually, I was more like a puddle on the floor but you get the idea of a world crumbling all around you. I did call my non-biological father (my parents divorced when I was 14.) He told the hospital psychiatrist treating me that his history was irrelevant as he was not my biological father but I did not know this. The psychiatrist told him that everything was relevant.

Sometime later after further hospitalizations and record transfers, I was speaking with a social worker who told me that something "didn't make sense" regarding that hospital stay. She told me of the conversation and I lost it. I got so angry of the accusation that my father could not be "my father!" She told me that was a pretty strong reaction. Could there be any truth in it? I sat silent for a moment and thought about it. I denied it and quickly left the appointment.

Truth time. I called my father and basically caught him in the lie. He came over to my apartment and we talked for about three hours. I tried to get as much information out of him as possible in between trying to just get over the shock. Part of me wasn't shocked, however. I was never "my father's daughter." I was always more his pal, his buddy. And I already knew way too much more about my parents marriage courtesy of him than a child should--like they were swingers and had affairs and things like that. Boundary issues with my Dad? Gee, none at all!

So maybe it wasn't much of a surprise really? But it rocked my world. It did. And I wasn't mentally stable: in and out of the hospital, not on the right meds, drinking every day...this wasn't exactly the news I needed.

So, I guess that's what I was trying to say, Vijay...I'm half Pakistani! I had DNA testing done and everything. I wanted proof that after all the years of lying and deceit that the man who raised me truly wasn't my biological father. Tests conclusively proved that fact. That cost me a lot of money though!

Where to go from here? Who knows? Maybe nowhere but at least I have a better sense of who I am. It's painful. My therapist says she sees it a lot in people she works with who are adopted. It's like you're missing a part of who you are.

It's funny. My mom made me sit down and write this virtual--no complete-- stranger a letter when I was about six or seven years old. I challenged her as I said, he didn't even know who I was! She got very angry and told me to just do it! So I did. I still have the letter he sent back, written by a scribe as he could only speak English, not write, nor read it. Unfortunately the return address got torn off. I'm not even sure how to spell his last name correctly. I wouldn't know how to begin to try and find him.


sisiphusledge said...

Gosh, some story! No wonder that one of your wishes is to meet your biological father. In a way, it sounds romantic, but it must have been so traumatic to find out so suddenly. Do you have any idea where your real father might be now? And, if you did find out, would you make plans to meet him sooner or leave it whilst you thought about it for a bit?

Patient Anonymous said...

Hi sisiphus,

Last I knew, he was in Qatar but this was in the late 70s. The story is very romantic in one sense but it's also very tragic in another. Maybe the two aren't mutually exclusive.

I sense that this man knows he is my father as he asked for a picture of me to hang in his home. Why would he want a picture of a young girl he had never met? I'm not sure but it sounded like a strange request even to me as a young girl.
But he was close to our entire family so who knows? I grew up always knowing "about" him. He was like this huge mythological figure. Also odd that he would be talked about so much when I was young?

It's all so bizarre but welcome to my childhood.

Oh, if I knew where he was I would jump at the chance! I'd contact him in a heartbeat!

Vijay said...

Dear PtAnon.

When I read this in your comment...

"Your part of the world has a special place in my heart…look for it in a future post on my blog hahaha."

and I responded with...
" Now you have me hooked…I have to keep checking your blog to find out what it is that you are going to post about India."

I had no idea that your post would be about such an intimately personal issue. I apologize if my response pushed you into writing this post.

Having been blessed with loving and a bit over-protective parents, I can't imagine going through the kind of emotional trauma that you underwent.

Patient Anonymous said...

Oh vijay, you are so sweet. Thank you but you know, I was planning on posting about this at some point anyway. And I wouldn't have alluded to doing so in a comment section in someone else's blog if I wasn't going to be honest. That's not right.

This blog is going to contain intimate details of my life, I suppose, so why not start off with a bang.

There'll be more trauma to come, I promise that too *grin*

Thank you again, friend