Thursday, January 17th, 2019

When I Chose To Start Acting Like The Woman I Aspire To Be

Published on October 25, 2014 by   ·   3 Comments Pin It

Have you ever felt that something in your life felt inexplicably wrong, that you needed to make a change but didn’t know how or were too afraid? This is the story of what happens when you take that leap into uncertainty. Writer Dina McQueen had been sharing her adoption story for years til something started to feel off, she trusted her gut, and was taken to a place of sweet clarity and resolution. Here’s her story of evolution:

“Happiness is not ready made. It comes from your own actions.” –the Dali Lama

On August 7, 2014, the South Carolina woman who facilitated our 2008 Ethiopian adoption admitted to submitting fraudulent documents to the State Department while employed with the agency that was indicted earlier this year. As an infrequent blogger for the Huffington Post, I once again felt compelled to write about our connection with her and the horrifying acts she and her coworkers committed. After all, I had published a book in 2011 that predicted this agency’s lies would one day be exposed; Huffington Post had published several articles I’d written about our experience; and I identified myself as a writer and activist. So, it was natural for me to pursue another published article. This is what I did, right?

This time, however, the idea of further detailing the fallout of the agency’s crimes did not sit well. A strong instinct to stop detailing information that mostly belonged to my daughter was brewing. I knew I needed to take some time before I hit “send,” an act that would ask the Huffington Post Blog editors to publish the story.

It was during the crafting of this particular story that I began to feel that my days as the author of stories that revealed glimpses into my family’s life were coming to an end. This particular article included information that I believed would illustrate why our agency’s staff deserved to serve the maximum prison sentence without parole.

But it also offered information about our family that I began to feel was nobody’s business; nobody’s business but our daughter’s. It was becoming clear to me that she should be the one to choose whether or not I published the story, but she was too young to make that choice. I had to be the responsible adult and make the choice for her. Which is something I was no longer willing to do.

There was a fork in my road as a writer: one way took me to the familiar territory of instant publishing with Huffington Post and the supposed accolades that come with that badge of honor; the other road was unfamiliar, but it was also clear, if that makes sense. It was a path that potentiated a new way of being in this world. So I did something I had not done before: I waited. I gave myself time before sending in order to read a story titled, “When Sharing is Wrong in Adoption” that was to come out in a few weeks, written by my mentor, Maureen McCauley Evans, adoptive mom, activist, and writer.

When Maureen’s article was published, I sped through it, nodding in agreement. Afterwards I sat still and breathed. The following moment, my self-identity as an adoption writer/blogger/activist came to an end.

road to a new life by omikron1989

road to a new life by omikron1989

What you will read about next is what happened when I chose to start acting like the woman I aspire to be, instead of continuing to behave like the She Who Can’t Stop Doing What She Has Always Done.

First I needed to clarify for myself what kind of woman I actually wanted to be!

When I admitted that I see my true self as clear; calm; a bright light; happy (rather than a bringer of darkness), I had to question the compulsion that used to urge me to write about “dark” acts that plague international adoption. I needed to examine the past: why had I chosen to write about my family’s personal story in the name of shining light on the ugly? After sitting with these questions, what became clear to me is that in writing about the negative aspects of adoption, all I was doing was exposing what is already known, issues that interested readers can find elsewhere.

I realized, with a deep relaxing breath, that it wasn’t my responsibility to change the world; it was my job to change myself.  More importantly, however, I came to accept that in publishing personal vignettes, I was destroying any anonymity that my daughter might one day wish she had been given. I had done enough damage in publishing and promoting a book about our adoption. It was time to stop. (Next I will work on forgiving myself for having publically shared her story.)

Finally, I came to realize that this kind of writing was not, nor had it ever served to create a more joyful me. Which I now accepted was what I wanted to be: Happy!

During the August 2014 Super Moon Full Moon, my career as a writer ended, and the path to Clarity Midwife was paved. I was away from home with my daughter visiting family in San Diego. It was nearly 11:00 p.m. on the east coast, but I called my husband anyway, and asked him to get on my computer and remove the Facebook page that promoted my book. The next morning I called my Portland-based publisher and asked them to remove the book from their listing with its accompanying website, and pull the Kindle download from Amazon. Then I contacted my other website host service and asked them to remove the website that advertised me as a writer, editor, and writer’s coach.

Though I really had no idea what lay ahead for me, I felt not a single moment of panic or regret. The only feeling that arose was total liberation, and a giddy kind of joy I can’t recall feeling since 1969 when I played “Bewitched” on the front lawn with neighbor kids and I got to be Tabatha, the girl who could wiggle her nose and make anything happen.


Dina McQueen

let go of the past, touch clarity, and welcome liberation

Dina McQueen is a recovering brooder, who now prefers to focus on cultivating a more joyful way of being, which includes displaying and selling vintage New Yorker magazine covers. Explore more about her transcendence and the kind of beauty she enjoys surrounding herself with at Clarity Midwife.

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Readers Comments (3)

  1. Kori Lane says:

    May I add, “Clarity” was a precious gift that came from working with you on writing. Our time together provided a pause–a chance to reflect on where I’d been and an opportunity to choose where I’m headed.
    I’m forever grateful!

  2. […] or too busy to tag along. As I wrote in the recently published GirlieGirlArmy piece entitled, When I Chose To Start Acting Like The Woman I Aspire To Be, “… it [i]sn’t my responsibility to change the world; it [i]s my job to change […]

  3. […] Such an inspiring post from Girlie Girl Army – When I Chose To Start Acting Like The Woman I Aspire To Be […]

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