Why is Adoptee anger legitimate?

Have you ever met an adoptee who somehow struggles to agree that adoption is a thoroughly positive win – win scenario? Have you ever met an adoptee who expresses negative emotions and even an anger you simply cannot understand? If this concept appears perplexing to you then look no further.

While there are many factors to adoption that could be seen as redeeming factors and some even are redeeming factors such as financial prosperity that should not be overlooked there are varying losses suffered by the adoptee that likely are not readily seen by some who do no know the adoption experience the same way as we do.

There are a key number of things that could be lost and will take some work to regain (if possible). The main ones are our biological families, our sense of belonging (and parts of identity relating to this), our nations*, our national culture both historic and contemporary with all the idiosyncrasies that go with it* amongst others.

*international adoptees only

Adoption itself is complex mentally on all parts of the traid** but it can be quite a mental process for the adoptees themselves. Different adoptees come to process their feelings surrounding their adoption at different times and the time spent processing each aspect mentally can differ greatly. It’s therefore possible for the adoptee to be in a stage where they are angry at the situation itself. It’s possible to feel a myriad of feelings and some can overlap.

** the triad is A) biological family B) adoptee C) adoptive family

In many cases the anger is an emotion that will pass after the adoptee has processed their feelings and done what is they need to do to personally find closure and move on. However some can be in this stage for extended periods and some may never leave it entirely. This is OK and a valid way to feel..

If you are not an adoptee and are a bystander then its highly inconsiderate to call an adoptee and angry adoptee, even if on the surface that’s how the situation appears to be. This person will likely have a mental struggle or even a few of them in their head and they may be processing it as best they can but are noticeably experiencing emotional discomfort. This can be true even when steps are being taken to “rectify the situation as best as possible” by the adoptee.

Many of us feel as though on some level held back by the “adoption is all flowers and rainbows” narrative offered by society at large. While most of us would admit to there being positives included in the experience most feel that should not take away our legitimate right to feel upset (or even angry) and even voice our feelings in order to let them out. This narrative can overbear us and some can grow immensely tired of “soothing other people” when we ourselves quite rightly have concerns to tend to of our own.

In adoptees depression as not uncommon and the adoptee suicide rate is higher than that of non adopted persons. There can be vast gaps in one’s sense of self and belonging which can evoke strong feelings including depression. Extended periods of depression can ultimately turn into suicidal ideation. Please think about telling us “how to feel” before you do so as these issues are very real for a lot of us and you could potentially cause more damage, even if you are unaware you are.

Samantha Eaton

La Reina Razonable

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Maximise your enjoyment of Art

20160703_160349I absolutely can’t get enough of art. It’s a real cultural gem that is capable of expanding your cultural horizons.

There are a number of ways you can aim to enhance your enjoyment of Art whether you’re a self-confessed Art lover or someone who is doing their first museum or art festival visit.

Read the guide or listen to the audio guide if possible. Most well established museums and galleries have these and they can be worth it to help you understand the context and background story to a piece. If you don’t fancy paying the extra then there are usually explanations that go with many of the major works and sets of works.

Listen to the human guides from time to time These bring a differing perspective as they often include their perspectives about the pieces and this can expand the overall perspectives surrounding the works. If you don’t have the desire to stick with the guide guy/gal then be sure to keep an eye on where they are so you know when they get to the work you have a burning desire to know more about.

Form your own sense of what a piece means to you While the perspective of a human guide might help to open your horizons a key facet to enjoying art is to “connect with it” on your own terms. Simply put this means to try to forget about other things and just “be with the piece” mentally and see “how you personally relate to it” and what it “conjures up for you”.

Exploration of abstract art may be beneficial to some. While these works have been heavily criticised by some they could serve as a way of practising “just being” with the art and getting a feeling for what this piece means and represents to you.

Find a style that resonates with you Once you have seen a fair few museums, galleries and fairs there will no doubt be areas of the art world you truly love and those you don’t. There are many artist’s, styles, techniques, periods, regions and some will truly be your thing while others won’t pique your interest in the slightest. I for example have little interest for art depicting war as I’m anti-war for example but am besotted with paintings and depictions of mediterranean european architecture.

Find art in everyday life Sure, Organised art galleries and festivals are great but don’t limit yourself to these or you’ll be missing out! There is art to be found in  vintage motorcycles to multicolored cars parked in equally unusual places. There is even art form to be found in such things as adult colouring books. The possibilities are endless with a bit of imagination and the right eye.

Do some research beforehand, if possible. I’m sure many see this as boring and I can understand why, However it helps if you know what’s there so you have a basic idea of what you are likely to see. I believe this could make your experience more enjoyable than turning up knowing nothing and hoping to figure it all out on the day. Having a small amount of knowledge pre visit will help with knowing which special or once off exhibits are in the gallery.

If doing an all day visit stop for coffee and a bite to eat Most of the bigger and established galleries have cafeterias where you can stop for a croissant and a coffee. This will help you not only slow down but also stop and talk about the pieces you liked and related to if with a companion. Art is something to be enjoyed and not rushed.

Gain an appreciation for techniques used in production Many art forms from Pabeo to Murano Glass have varying methods used to produce that type of art form. Some galleries have videos and boards detailing the production methods and even the smaller ones may have someone familiar with the production techniques that you can speak to in person. I was lucky to once find the artist who created a piece I was fond of and she told me about the techniques for that work and pieces like it. Background information like that is nice to know.

Samantha Eaton

La Reina Razonable

Why I’m still on the fence about Gentrification

20150711_152014Gentrification is the term for when typically wealthier people arrive in a neighbourhood and as a result the area changes for what many perceive as better. As a result the feel of the area can change. While change is to be expected as nothing in life remains static not all change is equally as desired. Now I’m 27 and have gained some degree of life experience I have experienced some degree of both sides of the argument for and against gentrification.

Pros

Your hometown will be freshened up and the number of derelict buildings of buildings in a neglected state will start to diminish.

Less undesirable behavior takes place in your town No one enjoys to hear that people are being abused in the street by a group of youths. Rubbish dumped in the street most days a week does not serve to encourage others (including visitors) to treat your town much better. Polite society typically doesn’t tolerate undesirable behavior for long.

More ability to take pride in your town I’ve heard of people who were never particularly proud of the towns they lived in, that’s until gentrification came to town. Now that the local councils are taking rubbish collecting and social problems seriously the town is visibly improving and people who would have never thought of visiting are probably thinking of passing by.

Restoration of older buildings Many towns and cities have buildings that are worse for wear. Gentrification can and usually does restore these to a respectable standard and the locals can be proud that their building is now in a presentable state.

Cons

Loss of culture or character of the town A lot of towns that have been gentrified have had their own subculture or feel to them. Nowadays while these towns look nice they often possess no sense of soul.

Community spirit While its fantastic to see some of the towns past problems disappear this can be at a tradeoff of community spirit. As nice as a new supermarket is, very little sense of community spirit will be found there.

Specific communities can lose their community I have experienced this twice in the city  of London first hand. There’s a Latin/Southern American community in North London I know of fairly well. This community has had to fight more than once to keep it. I also know of a lesbian bar I used to frequent that now is no more. There is only one left in the entire city. If you rely on specific communities like this at all then this is an obvious downside to gentrification.

Increasing rents Even if the cultural aspect manages to remain (or to some degree) many can be forced out due to rising rents and prices of goods and services. Not everyone is a high flyer in the career sense and that’s OK. Some of us a happy being working class and have no true interest or desire for the boardroom or anything remotely similar. However these people can be priced out of their own neighborhood fairly quickly.

The area loses out forever I know that the Latin/Southern American communities building was going to be bulldozed at one time. This was with the intention of building handful of designer shops and an appartement block. A lot of the areas character and charm will be lost and there would be little reason for people to want to visit that area over any other that already has designer shops. No amount of money, no matter how well-intentioned can buy community spirit or cultural identity.

Ultimately I think it can work well at times but only if the local culture and community is preserved (including any specialist or international communities). I am not so keen if there is no effort taken to retain the culture of an area.

Samantha Eaton

La Reina Razonable

Music, a great addition to your language journey

20160612_004126Hello Dear Readers

While I initially thought of writing this as something that could complement my Role Plays article I realise this can be of easy benefit to everyone and both introvert and extrovert personality types.

I started learning languages back in October 2014 and have been hooked to some degree ever since. I have gotten quite far in my language journey and listening to music in the languages you are learning is a must for a number of reasons.

The first is it’s a fantastic way to learn and embrace the language outside of materials. The natural way language is presented in music. While I’m not against learner materials (far from it) its nicer to have a way of enjoying the language outside of “grammar drills” and to be able to feel as though “you’re not studying at all”.

I would go so far as to say I personally believe music to somewhat be better than television and movies for learning a language. My rationale is that the melody is enough to keep someone interested even if they don’t understand it all or only understand a small amount.

To listen to music effectively you will need to find a genre you like and find tracks of that genre. The “catchy effect” is good for learning new grammar as since its encapsulated in a song which you love to bits and have probably played on repeat.

The only limitation is the tracks you choose must have vocals and quite a lot of them, it’s also preferable that the vocals are easy to hear. I’d suggest in most cases voices that are electronically synthesised and difficult to interpret are not the best choice.

Singing and dancing to the music you take a liking to is another way to make it a part of you and visit language in a way that “doesn’t feel like learning”. Depending on how much confidence/time/other considerations you have this could make an enjoyable experience even more enjoyable.

With a foreign music you will be able to explore areas of another countries culture, perhaps many countries cultures depending on which langauge it is your learning.

In addition a liking of foreign music could potentially get the listener into taking up a particular dance style or instrument involved with more classical genre’s. If you are a learner who is deeply interested in the cultural aspect as well then this is no doubt something to consider.

While listening to music alone is not a substitute for talking practise, its somewhat possible singing might be at least to some level, since you are producing the language. You can talk to people who speak the language you are learning about your newly found interests in music whether you prefer to sing or not.

You may find new genres that do not exist (or barely exist) in your native language. I have come across at least 3 generes  in Spanish that don’t exist in the English-speaking world (as far as I know). These are Ranchera, Cumbia and Reggaeton and there could even be more? Its fun and refreshing to find something entirely new.

The only time listening to music in a foreign language likely will not help you at all is if you haven’t actually studied the language at all. No amount of listening to ten entire playlists in Italian will help your cause if you have not studied Italian for even an hour. This is something that can only be accessed by those who have done at least some studying.

In conclusion I would suggest music does not fulfil every aspect required to successfully learn a foreign language but it does cover a fair few

I’m grateful as to the music I’ve found and I’m confident that I’ve progressed faster with it then I would have done without it.

Samantha Eaton

La Reina Razonable