I came from humble beginnings. I’ve mentioned it before, no need to rehash. But 11 years ago, I was fortunate enough to be reunited with some of my biological family. Our dear Texas Gran, who filled in some blanks of our father after he abandoned us. My baby brother, also down in Texas and actually grew up near the place we once lived as a family. Our Mother’s family on Maui including our beautiful Auntie and cousins. Sadly, our Mother had passed away so quickly after losing us she never got to see how strong and wonderful her children have become. The only missing link is our older sister Becky. The one who ensured that we would get some food in our bellies at times, lots to take in for a four year old.
And then there was Carol Sue U’ilani Knapp. She was, as it turns out, my constant companion. See, she was me when I was born in Wailuku. She seemingly disappeared when I was adopted and became Juli Peterson. Dismissed, not needed any longer. Her chaotic life for over two years wiped clear. Or were they?
I’ve been going back and forth about writing on this. It’s personal. It’s deep. But it’s growth, and it’s freeing, so here goes.
See, Juli and Carol were deeply entrenched. Carol was hungry and abandoned. So Juli had to take care of her. I (Juli) would hide food for Carol Sue so she was never hungry again. Carol didn’t have a voice, so I spoke for her. If she was scared (and she was always scared), I would fiercely protect her with my anger. I wouldn’t let anyone near her again who could hurt her. There were times where scary things happened to both of us and neither of us spoke out. This made me even more angry that I failed to protect Carol Sue. She’d been through so much already, I couldn’t abandon her again. More anger, more fierce protection. My job in life was to make sure she never hurt again.
It was exhausting. Cuz life hurts sometimes and I would fail to protect the sad little girl who was always with me. So I had to try harder. Always her protector, always ready to battle no matter what the cost. I would leave people behind who threatened her, of course. It was our way. We’d walk away. There always had to be an open door for us and we always had one foot in it. Waiting for the one fight; the one criticism; the one chance to leave. And we always left. Had to. Had to protect my sad little girl.
Until now. Actually until about three weeks ago. When I realized that if we left again, Juli was leaving behind the life of her dreams with the man who led them. Uh oh. What to do. I couldn’t abandon little Carol Sue, could I? It was that night, as Matt and I were trying to patch back together a mess we had sewn, that I realized I wasn’t abandoning her…but letting her go home. She had me to walk her to the door, give one last hug, and let her go. Matt was there, helping me watch her leave. It made me so sad.
But it was time. Time to stand on my own, let go. And stay put. No more running, no more fighting for her. I’d like to think she’s at peace now, at least in my heart she is.
And here we are, as many of you already know, getting married. Yes, we announced it on the Facebook. Why? Because there’s a whole bunch of you people who have had an amazing impact on our life together and sharing with you has been just as important as sharing with family members. Some didn’t like it and the fact that my betrothed had to sit on the phone and apologize profusely when we should have been celebrating together speaks volumes to me as to whose energy we will seek when we tie the knot. In all, the well wishes, good thoughts, love and messages we’ve received are completely overwhelming. We even got our “Iz Good!” from our wonderful Finnlander friend. We’re taking all of this wonderful energy into our daily life. The wedding, if there is one, will be small. Simple. Good energy. Loving thoughts. It will revolve around us and our future together surrounded by those of you who got us here and for those of you who can’t make the trek for a small gathering, we know you’ll be here in spirit. That’s all. My constant companion won’t be there though. She’s moved on and is secure and happy wherever she went. That’s comforting. As is the future with Matt.
Deep. Growth. Real. All gifts just in time for Christmas.
Life itself is the most wonderful fairy tale.
Hans Christian Andersen