Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Nature/Nurture/Something Else?

There seem to be three camps. One is nature, one is nurture, and the third is a little bit of both. Which camp are you in? How did you come to this conclusion? What did you get from your parents (either set depending on your camp)? What is uniquely you?

I have no problem declaring that I'm in the nature AND nurture camp.  However, that wasn't always the case.

When I was younger, I'd defend the nurture only argument until I turned blue in the face.  I should probably preface this with the statement that I'm not really like my adoptive parents.  I'm a very passionate person.  They are laid back and chill people (which makes me seem even more over the top than I actually am).  They have different strengths.  It should have been clear to me.  But it wasn't.

My adoptive parents taught me a lot of things.  They taught me their value system.  They raised me a certain way.  I was taught to have certain personality traits.  Yes, some of my personality was taught.  I truly believe that.  If you were to call my house right now, you wouldn't be able to tell if it was my adoptive mother or me on the phone.  I was taught to answer the phone like her.  I hear myself using her phrases.  We're a lot alike in certain ways.  Some of that was taught.  My sister and I, not related by blood at all, have the same posture and hold our heads the same way.  It's the strangest thing.  That's how people know we are sisters.  Nurture influenced me a lot.

Meeting my first father was like a cold bucket of water was dumped on my head.  We're a lot alike personality-wise.  We both talk with our hands.  We're both talkers.  We could talk to anybody (except each other the first time!).  Our sense of humor is very similar.  We're very similar in a lot of ways.  I share a lot of the same mannerisms at my first mother and sisters.  I see parts of my personality in my first mother at times.  I went into the "family business" without ever realizing it.  There's no denying that I'm a product of my DNA.  My old tried and true arguments went out the window the minute I entered into reunion.

I don't know which one is a more powerful influence.  I do however know that both are at play in me.  And I also know that there are certain things that are uniquely me.  My skill at dance?  All me.  It's not in my adoptive family, nor my first family.  And it's something that I have just for myself.  My experiences have also helped to shape me.  My adoption plays a part in my life and did affect my personality.  That's all me.  It's not inherited, nor picked up via osmosis from my two not-adopted parents.  It's me.

Lately I've been learning something new about myself nearly everyday.  It's part of growing up I think.  I'm learning who I am and slowly becoming the person I want to be.  I'm free to be that person now.  I've met my past.  I'm moving into the future.  I can't explain it but I'm at peace with my background for the first time since meeting my first mother this year and I'm finally moving forward.  I'm learning to be me, not the person my family expects me to be as their raised child, or the person I would have been if I had been raised by my first parents.  I'm learning to be Jenn, the girl who was adopted but knows her roots now.  I'm a complicated recipe with lots of ingredients.  I think I'm turning out alright :-)