Facing fears as an adoptee

We all have those certain something’s that cause us to be uncomfortable, concerned or even paralyzed by fear.

A year ago I would have told you mine was taking on my new role as an IT manager. I was not so much concerned about leading my team, as I was communicating with the executive team and the company in larger groups. That required a lot more attention evolving my public persona; specifically, my ability to communicate with others both at the individual level and the public speaking level.

What I began wasn’t a mere shift in responsibilities; it was a dynamic change in the way I perceived and portrayed myself. See I enjoyed being the closet nerd focusing on the technology and the control I had over the systems in the back office.

This primarily led me to the need to obtain books on the subject of management, public speaking, and learning to be a better listener. Yet I was paralyzed by the idea of having to speak publicly.

At the crux of my concerns was confusion. Why had I avoided public speaking for so many years? Why had it become such a dreadful idea to embrace? I literally began to soul search about this fear. It opened up many things I did not know about myself, things that I had avoided all my life.

I can remember the moment when I had a handful of Christmas lights in my hands, staring up at my home in late 2014, yet again concerned about how high I was willing to go to show off our families commitment to the spirit of the holiday season.

I received a message during this time that a young former colleague from work had passed away unexpectedly right before the holidays. While I was still deeply involved in my personal journey, I set aside time to attend her funeral. In attendance I remembered the saying that most people would rather be in the casket than giving the eulogy. I could not help but think of all the experiences she would never be able to accomplish and that knowledge drove me even further into really dedicate myself to this growing bucket list.

In my personal journey to move forward I sought out the birth relatives that brought me into this world. However, it was initially to understand my own nature. I thought, if I knew them, I might learn how and where these fears may have arisen.

Ultimately the thing I learned about being adopted was that all adoptees fear rejection. See we started out life losing our primary caregiver and all those similarities everyone else takes for granted; the familiarity of those like us. Most of us learn to adapt at an early age to becoming social chameleons. Our very personalities are sculpted around the idea of abandonment before we even understand how to communicate it.

When I completed my search I understood why I was so paralyzed of rejection. I met the people I never knew and learned about my first story of how I came about. When it came down to it, I simply choose to take control of my life where before I was never truly in control from the beginning.

So I found my first family, I learned about my nature, I embraced public speaking, and this past year I hung those Christmas lights as high as I could on the tallest peak of my two story home. I cannot say that I am suddenly cured of all my fears, but I have chosen to no longer be a victim of circumstance.

Ultimately life can be traveled upon the safe road. However, you may come to the end of it and wished you had really lived a bigger adventure. Don’t let your fears keep you from becoming the person you really want to be. Take a chance, you may find out you actually like the view from a different height.