If only I could hack my heart with an ax.

Photo by Christopher Burns on Unsplash

I’ve always suspected that I was an empathic reader, the kind of reader who weeps at dead characters, who “feels” the loss and pain of heroes and villains.

“You can never choose. I’ve loved all three of you.” Sebold, The Lovely Bones

There were many parts of this novel that forced me to put the book down and cry like a normal adult. Seriously. Which reminds me of…

“A child should never have to choose.” Albom, For One More Day

I think there are also some similar lines or contexts in Amy Tan’s The Joy Luck Club. I wondered what it is with these lines that leave me emotionally reeling, in tears.

I think I know why.

These lines echo one of the hardest phases of my life: choosing between my biological and adoptive families. That sh*t broke me in ways that aren’t obvious. The lack of visible signs of trauma made it easy to live and act like the rest. But when I read a book, see the character struggle over making decisions, picking one versus another, gaining one but losing another. And then I’ll be reminded just how painful it was. Or is.

In romantic or rom-com movies, they’d do a good job of showing how broken the non-chosen person tends to be. Almost everyone pities this character (say Popoy of One More Chance). But for me, being the one in the middle is heart-breaking, too… character-breaking even.

At least now I know why I don’t fit the stereotype.



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