I've written many times about how wonderful my adoptive father was, how valued he made me feel. I've written a little less often about my adoptive mother. She was a wonderful person, she was just very frequently and very regularly not wonderful to me. My brothers don't see or understand that. No one who knew her as a friend or acquaintance saw that about her. One of Mother's sisters understood what was happening to me at home, how my little adopted self was be turned outside-in, converted into a lost child, but she felt powerless to stop the conversion. And Daddy, as wonderful as he was, worked so many hours establishing and then maintaining his thriving medical practice that he wasn't home enough to realize what was happening to me and to possibly put a stop to it.
I loved and identified with my father. And the cousin I liked the most was one of Daddy's younger brothers' sons, who was closest in age to me. We didn't see each other often, but I felt we "clicked" whenever we were together. I identified with him as I did with Daddy.
In last night's dream, I got a new job. I didn't really understand what my function, my role, was in this company. I worked in an office, a large open space with about fifteen desks and workers placed erratically in a willy-nilly maze within this large space. Our tasks were involved with computers and editing, the two fields in which I was immersed for most of my career. But I felt out of place, as I just couldn't understand what I was supposed to be doing or why I had been hired—out of the blue with no interview. (For many years, I would be contacted by people who had heard of me to come work with them. I was frequently "in the right place at the right time" when it came to jobs. And yet I never was able to escape the feeling of not fitting in.)
So at this new job, I continued to feel I didn't fit in. And then one day, when I was closest to feeling I needed to quit this job because of not fitting in, I realized who the head of the company was. It was my cousin Ronnie. Ron. Suddenly I realized that Ron had somehow heard what my most recent boss had said—that I was the best editor he had worked with in his long academic career. I recognized that this company was not quite thriving and Ron had been looking for someone to help him pull the company back from its doldrums to reach its former glory and potential greatness.
I was wanted. I mattered. I fit in.
Rather than feeling defeated and wanting to quit, I felt valued and motivated. I picked up the company's catalog of publications and started to read about all the books at its core. And my eyes latched onto one book with a nautical title. When I picked it up, I realized it was a history of Gloucester, Massachusetts. My soul's home. The town where all my DNA had come into being. I had the most stunning "aha" moment.
And woke up.
And felt centered. A sense of belonging. A sense that I mattered. That ever-elusive sense of fitting in.
Whatever it is that is not quite working out in my life is going to work out.
Ah, inner peace.
Photo of two Common Terns on the beach in Gloucester, MA. © Kim Smith.