Someone I shall leave anonymous recently used the word “assimilate” in a post about adoption. In a good way. (???)
My comment was “What are we, Borg?”. I found that word “assimilate” profoundly scary.
The Borg are alien beings from the show Star Trek. They assimilate other beings into their collective (or family) and actually, physically make them into Borgs. In a strange sci-fi sort of way I think assimilation is really what is expected of a child adopted into a new family.
“Resistance is futile!”
This story below circulated around the Internet a while back. It’s a cute story about a squirrel that was adopted by a dog. It’s a cute and cuddly, warm and fuzzy story. You can read it here. The dog adopts the squirrel and takes care of the little guy, she mothers him. She loves him and cuddles with him, nourishes him and helps him to grow.
That is exactly what happens to adoptees. EXCEPT, and here is the vital difference between this cute and cuddly squirrel story and real live human beings that are adopted. The squirrel was NEVER expected to assimilate himself into a dog. Why would they do that to the poor little squirrel? How could they ever expect little Finnegan (the squirrels name) to never climb trees and store nuts? We would never assume little Finnegan would be O.K. with lifting a leg to pee on a fire hydrant or play fetch. It is lovely that the little dog took care of the squirrel. We use terminology like “the dog mothered the squirrel”. We don’t say the dog was the squirrels mother because she wasn’t. That terminology doesn’t work for humans because we certainly don’t want children growing up without a mother. I certainly view my mom as my mother. I have to because it is emotionally more sound than saying she mothered me. Which in essence is truthfully what she did. She mothered me in place of my real mother who, for whatever reason, did not.
What I have a problem with is the entire world not grasping that our true identity is and always will be a large part of who we are. Sure, environment shapes us but to love us is to love ALL of who we are. That includes the parts our adoptive parents had nothing to do with. For instance our nationality, our natural talents and gifts, our looks….all comprise who we are just as much if not more than our environment does. Why then does the world “expect the squirrel to not only ACT like a dog but actually BECOME a dog?” We go through life trying to act like a good little puppy but on the inside we know something is amiss. Hey, why am I so freaking small? Why can’t I climb that tree? I really REALLY want to climb that tree! This chow is great and all but what I wouldn’t give for a nut or two.
Why doesn’t the world understand that this sort of forced assimilation just makes us feel alienated, out in the cold, misunderstood? Instead of our whole and true identity being CELEBRATED, we are forced to not only become something we are not but we are actually expected to be GRATEFUL for that. “Well just be grateful you even GET to chase cars because you could have been left for dead under that tree!”
And the worst part about impractical and very pretend assimilation? We know what we are not but we have no idea what we are. Because society has deemed us unworthy to know. We have our suspicions. We see these furry creatures scurrying up a tree trunk and we think “gee, that feels somehow familiar to me”. But when we try to express our very NATURAL DESIRE to know and embrace all of who we are we are scolded by a self riotous and demeaning society.
So we behave. But on the inside…………
Why do we want to know who we are? Well why in the hell wouldn’t we? I don’t think it is entirely unreasonable to allow me a little selfish indulgence here. For the love of GOD I am almost forty years old and STILL don’t know if I am a squirrel or a dog or what. I try to listen to my inner voice, follow my natural instincts to discover who I am but that is such an unnecessary and difficult journey when you could just TELL me!
You won’t tell me and you say it’s because you might upset the fuzzy chick in the tree that went about her life gathering nuts and being who she is. That it would upset the natural order of the universe if everyone in the tree knew about me down here playing fetch.
I tend to think though that the real truth of the matter is that telling us the truth would go against the whole unnatural and rediculous concept of assimilation that everyone (but us tail chasing squirrels) seems to think is perfectly O.K..
“Ssshhhhhhhhh!!!!!! Don’t tell the little guy he’s a S.-Q.-U.-I.-R.-R.-E.-L., You might upset the dog!” “If we keep saying it enough the squirrel will actually become a dog anyway so no harm done!”
I have to go store my nuts now. Er….I mean lick them. I have to go lick my nuts now.