Image by State Library and Archives of Florida via FlickrLately, in pensive thinking of how to converse with my Mother about our past issues, many points of thought come to mind which I am not clear in. One of those is getting a clear picture of how my very religious family could have handled my leaving the "fold". I want to compare it to a normal family who has a teen/twenty-year-old, free-thinking child who wants to leave home and start out on her own.
Here is the history of how my story went down and I'd like feedback on how it could have been handled "normally", so that when my Mother and I speak about it there is a clear picture of how they could have reacted differently.
Growing up as the 3rd eldest of nine children in the home of a Primitive Baptist preacher, we grew up very sheltered, in a bubble so to speak. Our entire life consisted of church, people in the religion, school in the religion and then homeschooling. Our year was full of various trips to church meetings and such. The whole extended family on both sides of the family tree were in the religion, so there was little to no influence from "the world."
Coming into this family, was me. A headstrong, self propelled youngster, but very beloved. As I grew, there was always a feeling that I was different, but at the time I was very concerned with fitting in and so I tried to mold myself to fit. However as my teens raged on, my desire to "fit in" to this crowd began to dim in comparison to finding personal identity and to finding answers to a multitude of answers. The problem was that #1 there is no room for questions in the religion, it's about trusting and blind faith, not logic or analyzing. Secondly, there is also no space for personal identification unless it is one of the pre-established molds of the virtuous women around me, which were constantly being exemplified.
So, off I go at the age of 18 to a massage school, four states away from my home bubble, to stay with cousins of my dad who just happened to be much more open minded. My world opened up as I began to experience music unlimited (we always had to sneak back home), more stylish clothes, and so many ways of expressing those hidden aspects of self that had always been restricted before. I was loving it!
Back home I went, my horizons broadened, trying to fit this expanded self back into the tight mold expected of me in my home. It did not work, and my mother and I went to war. Over clothes first, she did not approve of my new look... it was horrid. All the "virtuous," "holy" women in my church and family talking to me about the sin of drawing attention from men to me, and on and on.
To make a long story short, I moved out and my Mother told my siblings not to talk to me, and began a long seven year program of turning their hearts from me. In short, she was trying to "protect" her remaining children from my influence, so she "HAD" to sow seeds of fear and distrust in their heart about me.
I came home briefly, but during that time felt completely out of place, etc. Now there were things during this period that I definitely did wrong, like lying and covering up, etc. I was afraid of facing the opposition head on, though.
Now, skip ahead 5 years. The man I met during that time, and I moved away, cutting off most contact with my family, by necessity. My mother told me that my siblings did not want to talk to me because the had nothing in common with me anymore. ON top of that, for example; my baby sister was 4 at the time and did not understand why I left, and there was no way for me to explain it to them, but my mother held her while she was crying for missing me and told her over and over "Don't worry, Mama will never leave you like your sister did..."
Now here is were I get confused. Don't lots of sisters have to move away to different states? What would normal Mothers say to comfort a child missing their sibling? How would a normal family treat their member who has moved far away, and how would they reference and talk about them?
It's all such a blur to me as to know what normal families even act like. Coming from such a seemingly "loving" family all my life, then being cut out completely was an experience.
Now I am back here with them and we are trying to sort things out, to an extent. Things will never go back to the loving ways with my siblings, they have so much distrust and fear about me. My little sister does not even want to be alone with me. But I have found my strength to confront my parents head on with issues. That is why it's important for me to figure out what's normal and what's not.
Thanks for reading!