Patricia Clarke found the truth of her identity and why it was secret. This is her story and she is resilient.

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About the Guest:

Patricia Clarke is a British Columbia-based artist, writer and speaker who draws much of her inspiration from the natural splendour that surrounds her and real-life experiences. During her rewarding journey as an entrepreneur, she has won various awards and landed her imported specialty candy in stores like Costco, London Drugs and Superstore. In 2010 she left her import/export career so that she could channel her experience and energy into building out her art practice. Her intuitively painted art can be seen hanging in galleries, homes and businesses around the world. She’s been known to perform art classes and perform demonstrations on stages and television. Patricia’s art is influenced by the worlds of Georgia O’Keeffe, Frieda Kahlo and Emily Carr. She studied visual arts at Kwantlen College and the Academy of Art in Vancouver.

Her first published book, The Unknown Sister, became a best seller and her forthcoming book will follow in late 2022. Patricia has been seen on screens and stages educating about the topics of adoption, secrets, art and spirituality and often her art and book are woven into her speaking. When she’s not in her studio creating, you can often find her travelling and spending time in nature.

 

https://patriciaclarkecreations.com/

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Transcript
Blair Kaplan Venables:

trigger warning, the Resilience Project provides an open space for people to share their personal experiences. Some content in this podcast may include topics that you may find difficult, the listeners discretion is advised.

Blair Kaplan Venables:

Hello friends, welcome to radical resilience, a weekly show where I Blair Kaplan Venables have inspirational conversations with people who have survived life's most challenging times. We all have the ability to be resilient and bounce forward from a difficult experience. And these conversations prove just that, get ready to dive into these life changing moments while strengthening your resilience muscle and getting raw and real.

Blair Kaplan Venables:ondon Drugs and superstore in:Patricia Clarke:

Hi, Blair. Lovely to be here today.

Blair Kaplan Venables:

So happy. Okay, so your book just came out? Yes. Checked it on Amazon, you became a best seller pretty much overnight. And you're starting to get you know, publishing articles and other publications. What what is your book about? Let's talk about it. What is the unknown sister about?

Patricia Clarke:

Well, it's about my journey to finding the truth of my paternity. Because I did not have it. And I always wanted it. And you would think that it would be very straightforward that you could ask your parents, but apparently not, you need to know that the fastest growing hobby in the world is looking for ancestry on the various sites that they have. And that was the final chapter in me finding the truth of my identity.

Blair Kaplan Venables:

You know, for the listeners out there, you know, Patricia and I were connected through a mutual friend. And when I heard her story, I mean, her story is very, it's it's unique, because it's her own. But there's a lot of people out there who are learning about who their parents are through DNA tests. And, you know, maybe they're learning about siblings, they didn't know about, like me, I, through a DNA test learned that I had a sibling. And you know, that's a whole story for another time. But, you know, how did you know that the dad that raised you wasn't your biological father? Like, how did you know like, Well,

Patricia Clarke:

I had a deep knowing in my gut, from an early age, and I could remember him not being in my life. And when I was six years old, we were all gathered, we were going to go to an exhibition. So we I was with Mum and Dad, and it was a childhood friend of my mom's and all of her children. So we're all excited because we're going to go and have cotton candies and riots and this other, the sister or the brother to the sister that we were visiting came in the room and he walked around the room and had a little conversation with everybody, including my mum and dad. And when he came to me, he said, You must be adopted. You don't look like anybody in your family. And I knew that he had spoken The truth, but I had no idea what to do with it. And I was very, very afraid.

Blair Kaplan Venables:

So what did you do with it at that time?

Patricia Clarke:

Nothing. I just tucked it away. But the the sister that we were visiting, she came and escorted her brother quickly out of the room. And eventually, I heard the back door open and close, and we never saw it again. Because obviously he knew the story.

Blair Kaplan Venables:

Oh my gosh, wow. Okay, yeah. Let's fast forward to now,

Patricia Clarke:

to now and how things have changed. I'll just fill in one other little blank here. Because at 16, I was sitting at the kitchen table with my dad one night, he was paying bills, writing checks, and there was a brown leather folder sitting on the table. And he turned to me in a very stern voice said, Don't you ever, ever look in here. My dad never talked to me like that, ever. So some time went on. And then one day I was home alone, there was nobody in the house, but me. And you know what I wanted to do. So I went into the bedroom where I knew the brown folder was kept. And I stood by the top by the dresser it was in. And I said, you know, I want to be a really good girl. And what I'm about to do means that I no longer will be because I was told not to do this. I opened the top dresser drawer, and I took out the brown folder, and I put it on the bed. There was counsel checks and papers, and a set of white documents that I took out and I read my mother's name. My father's name was blank. adopted father, Norman, witness my uncle. I was ecstatic. Because I wasn't crazy. All those years that I thought that I was because I couldn't make sense of what was happening around me. None of that was true. I knew the truth.

Blair Kaplan Venables:

What? What, wait, hold on, you knew the truth. And now you're 16. And your truth is validated. It's

Patricia Clarke:

validated. I knew the truth all the way along. But what was so very wrong with me that people could not tell me the truth. I must be really, really broken. If you can't even tell me who my father is or why you won't tell me who my father is.

Blair Kaplan Venables:

So sorry. I must have been so I can't even imagine as a kid. How you must have felt?

Patricia Clarke:

Well, it was overwhelming. And after a couple of days, what I did was sent out a bunch of letters to private schools. And when the information came back, I said to my stepdad, I want to go to private school. And he said no. And the reason that I did it was because I would rather live with strangers than people that were lying to me.

Blair Kaplan Venables:

So you're at this time, you're 16. Yeah, no longer felt like you can trust your family. No, I imagine you probably felt really isolated and alone.

Patricia Clarke:

I did. And the really lucky thing for me was because my stepdad worked for the railway, and we could travel for free. I just got on the train and went to my grandparents. Because I knew I could feel safe with my grandparents, even though I did not tell them what I had learned. Because it wasn't their responsibility. And I find that at 16. That was really amazing that I felt like it wasn't their responsibility, and I wasn't going to burden them with it. And I felt safe there. And that was always my go to in all of the years. Every time I felt uncomfortable. I went to my grandmother.

Blair Kaplan Venables:

So you have this information. You decide to leave home, you go to your grandmother's, you're 16. Now 16 was a little bit of time ago. Yes. Let's talk about what did you do with that information? And what was your life like from that point moving forward?

Patricia Clarke:as conceived in the summer of:Patricia Clarke:

And I cried. This man might be my brother. This man may be about to tell me who my father is. Eventually we let go of each other. And I sat across the table from Audi and I just stared at him. I know it's rude to stare I did in any way. I couldn't believe we have the same dimples. We had a lovely conversation and he Explain to me that his father's name was Clayton Slyke. My father's name could be Clayton. Five years ago I moved to Clayton heights. How on earth did this happen? His last name would be Greenwood. My home backs on to Department of Fisheries greenspace with lots of Greenwood. I laughed. Marty right from the very beginning explained to me that he was not a good man. We are not guilty for the sins of our fathers is what I shared with him. Partway through our conversation, Grant phoned and says, Well, how did your conversation go? And Monty laughed and said, Well, we're still together. And Grant said, Do you think she's one of us? And Marty said, Yes. She's one of us. We asked the kind lady at the red Cal Red Velvet Cafe if she'd take a photo of Monty and I and Monty explained to her that we were siblings that had just met for the very first time today and her cut her cafe. She cried. The next day, I ordered two DNA kits, one for me and one for grant as grant would be the oldest sibling. Friday the 13th I received the results from the DNA test. Grant and I are 95.4% have siblings. I cried. I immediately phoned Monty and grant to give them our news that we were in fact scientifically proven to be half siblings. And they said to me, well, we don't understand. Why on earth would you waste your money on DNA testing? It's obvious you're our sister.

Patricia Clarke:

I love that. I love that. Any day that I feel sad because just because it's life. I remember that day. And how much it changed my life. The Red Velvet cafe. The Red Velvet cafe.

Blair Kaplan Venables:

Do you meet Monty there still?

Patricia Clarke:

Yes, we do. We went there for our first anniversary.

Blair Kaplan Venables:

Oh, okay. So the date? Okay. So I mean, I'm going to do something that I think it shouldn't even be taboo. But you found out at 16 You're the father. Your father wasn't your bio dad. Yes. old were you when you learned when on that? That the 13th? The Friday the 13th. When you I named

Patricia Clarke:

the 13th. I was 72.

Blair Kaplan Venables:

I'm bad at math, but that's a lot of yours.

Patricia Clarke:

Please don't count them. Okay. Don't worry.

Blair Kaplan Venables:

And listeners out there don't count. Okay, so you're 72. And for the first time, you're getting these answers?

Patricia Clarke:

Yes. Wow.

Blair Kaplan Venables:

Oh my gosh. Wow.

Patricia Clarke:

It the one of the very beautiful things is that this new family has an awesome sense of humor. Just like you. Yeah, kind of runs in the family. Love it. And we can joke about really stupid, childish things. Yeah. So one of the things that the family didn't want to tell me was that our grandparents were first cousins that were married to each other. Yep. And they were really hesitant about telling me and I said, Well, you know, if it's good enough for the royal family, it's good enough for us.

Blair Kaplan Venables:

Oh, my God, you're really special. Okay, so I want to talk about because what you're talking about, like you're 72 and you're you were 72. Now you're not

Patricia Clarke:

72 and a half. And so you learned that you learned who your real

Blair Kaplan Venables:

family is, but this is happening all over, like, Yeah, high level. For me, I learnt a few years ago that I have a half brother because of a DNA test that my cousins took. And they did the math and they learned that this this person's father was my father and my father didn't actually know about this, you know, son and it's the things are saying about having the same dimples and, you know, the same mannerisms and humor. It's, it's really fascinating because I went and met my brother in person and it was like, I was sitting next to a spitting image of my father and we walk the same and have the same time and it was very trippy, like really trippy. So I ended in the way it was different was I had no idea that this person existed. And I you know, all of a sudden he's now in my life. And you know, we have a, I'd say an online relationship where you know, we stay in touch. But you you have you developed a close relationship with Monty right like I've I read to you and you Montes over and Monty wrote a book And you wrote a book and you're working on a second book, like, What's your relationship like with your biological family now?

Patricia Clarke:

It's, we're really good friends. And I find that absolutely amazing because the siblings that I grew up with, I am not in contact with. And part of it is because there was always a glass wall between us because I knew somehow that I was a lie. And I didn't like that feeling. And so I was always very careful about how I approached the people that I lived with, because I didn't feel like I belonged there, there was something very, very wrong, if you can't tell me the truth. And, and my relationship with Monty is from the very beginning said, whatever needs to be said, we will say, and we will be honest, do you agree? I could not believe that. He said that to me, because that was the thing that I wanted. So so much was honesty, because you can deal with the truth. You can deal with the truth, whatever it is, lies are kind of mushy, and they move around.

Blair Kaplan Venables:

Yeah. So okay, so if let's talk about some messaging, if you were to talk to the parents out there, yes, who maybe have adopted a child but are not telling them the truth? What advice do you have for them?

Patricia Clarke:

Tell them the truth. And the sooner you do it, the better. Because one of the things is that the child also needs to be able to adopt you and understand who they are in the family. And there's too much guesswork. And as a little kid, you can make up a lot of stories about what's wrong with you. Because how many of these people that have done DNA testing, have intuitively known that they didn't have the truth. And now you're stripped away of half of your identity in my case, and you have to rebuild yourself, and I ended up rebuilding my identity twice. Practice doesn't make it easier. Just so you know. And I and I know people that have not told their children the truth, that the man that's raising them isn't their biological father. And they are playing with fire.

Blair Kaplan Venables:

Yeah, that's really important. I mean, the thing is, with technology, being able to order a test online and like spit in a tube, yes, there's a child there who has doubts, they're gonna investigate. And if they don't have doubts, and they have no idea, one day, they might found find out the truth. And then there's this whole other worm worm bag of worms, pan of worms, I think it's a can, there's this whole cam that's going to be opened up of worms, of like, you know, lack of trust. So why not just be honest, sit down with them and have that conversation because the truth is out there. And the truth always comes to the surface.

Patricia Clarke:

It is and it's too complicated. To try and hold truth back, especially in my case, because when my mother was pregnant with me, she lived at home, she was not sent away. Everybody in town knew about me, people came forward and offered to adopt me. But then when I, my mom left me with my grandmother and went and worked in another town, and when I was a year old, she came back and took me from my grandmother, which was very devastating for me. And I used to have nightmares. But it turned out that they were actually a memory of not being with my grandmother, who was the person that I was bonded to. And again, that left me with a lot of confusion. Why was I so secure with my grandmother and not with my mother? And as much as I tried to connect with my mom, I did not know how to do it.

Blair Kaplan Venables:

Wow. Okay, so now let's talk to those kids out there. Yes. What message do you have for that person who is on the search for their birth family or has that intuitive feeling like you had?

Patricia Clarke:

Well, I say, go ahead and do it. And what you need is you can reach out to adoption support groups, because there's lots of them around and they're not expensive. If you can, please get a counselor of your own and there are adoption counselors that will support you. The other thing is, don't assume that because you share DNA with with them, that you're going to have the same experience as me. You're dealing with people. There's mental health, emotional health, personality disorders, or All kinds of things. So I knew Monty for six months before I invited him to my home for a cup of tea. Because I needed to have that sense of security, that we were both going to be okay. But not everybody gets the same story is me. And I know people that have waited for two years before they did their DNA testing because they were afraid. Well, you can be afraid that you're going to have a not happy ever after story. However, it doesn't change anything. Now you have the truth. And what it does is it completes the circle of who you are. Even though my birth father was not a good man, he made awesome children. Even though my birth father was not a good man. I was spared all of that pain and agony. And I have to ask the universe why? Well, turns out so I could write a book.

Blair Kaplan Venables:

Yeah. And so you know, as we close up this interview, let's talk about it. So your book goes into the in depth story of your life, and your journey.

Patricia Clarke:a sister that passed away in:Blair Kaplan Venables:

When there's I love many synchronicities. That's a whole other like conversation. Yeah, you know what, like, let's, let's just support Patricia and buy her book, how can we buy your book,

Patricia Clarke:

it's on Amazon. And you can get it either with an e book or a paper copy.

Blair Kaplan Venables:

And it's on your website, too. And all your information is going to be in the show notes. And so guys, keep this in mind, Patricia Clark, in her 70s learned who her biological family was, and then wrote and published a book. That's a big frickin deal. And so I want to celebrate you, I want to thank you for being so brave and vulnerable with us for sharing your story for opening your heart. And for really, maybe opening up the minds and the eyes to the people who are listening to this to really, you know, if they have questions about who their maternity or paternity truthfulness is to investigate it, and you know, you are that lighthouse, you are that beacon of hope to show that there is truth out there.

Patricia Clarke:

There isn't it feels amazing, and you never know how good you can feel. I had to wait a long time to feel this good. It was worth every step of the journey.

Blair Kaplan Venables:

Oh my gosh, I love that. Okay, well, thank you so much for coming on radical resilience. I invite you all to check out her book, ebook or print books. She's worked very hard on it. It's a really beautiful story. And thank you for tuning in to another episode of radical resilience. Remember, you got this you are not alone, and you are resilient.

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