INSIDE THE WALLS
It was like those myths of amazing strangers, who arrive at an island, gods or demons, bringing good and evil to the innocence of the inhabitants . . . words never heard before.
Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness
When I was adopted and taken from the isolation of the orphanage, I found myself in a new world that has never ceased to amaze and bewilder me. As an orphan, I had been a detached and solitary child living with other detached and solitary children, who, like me, had muddled histories, derelict families, and little grasp of the bonds of blood and emotion. But in the world outside the orphanage, I discovered that I was no longer just a foundling among foundlings. I had somehow become an oddity among "normal" children. I was a kid with a confused identity, a borrowed family, a borrowed name, and an inability to connect with other children, for whom interpersonal connections were the most important function of both family and community life.
Like so many other "different" children, I became an outsider. And like many other young people, I was overwhelmed by a sense of alienation that I could not easily reverse by transforming "alienation" into