I have been on a journey.
I began this journey at a young age,
the age when I realized my life was not "normal".
I never felt like I fit in with the community where I grew up.
Everyone else had relatives close-by.
Everyone else had decent relationships with family members, parents.
Everyone else had been part of the church community for as long as anyone could remember.
We were outsiders.
We were different.
For many years, I attributed this to the fact that my parents were college-educated, and had a very different background that most in our community.
After some time, I realized that this only partially explained how I was being raised.
The other piece of my upbringing that set us apart had nothing to do with background and had everything to do with my parents' desire to isolate themselves and us from any outside input.
The reasons varied.
They wanted to raise us on a farm. A farm much different from those around us...organic farming was new and different, and was a far cry from how either of them were raised. It was an escape, of sorts, for both of them, from the rat-race in which they found themselves after college.
They wanted to have nothing to do with the "outside world", the world that might corrupt their children, or themselves, and might be watching their every move, reporting to the government.
They want to isolate us from the supposed terrible influence of publically-educated others.
They wanted to protect us from exposure to drugs, and drinking, and promiscuity, and rock music, and the Catholic church, and "them". Whoever "they" were.
Sometimes "they" were dark-skinned.
Sometimes "they" came in the form of the census takers.
Sometimes "they" were working for the public schools.
Sometimes "they" were the people laying telephone cables.
Sometimes "they" were actual criminals who broke into the family property and stole things.
Sometimes "they" simply drove down our very quiet road at a higher-than-acceptable rate of speed.
A piece of the isolation was this paranoia.
Another piece of the isolation was the very probable removal of us from the home for the very real, visible, regular bruises, cuts, bites, broken bones, and hair pulled out by the roots.
I have been out of that setting for more than 30 years.
Still when I think of it and process it, my heart starts racing, and I feel tears welling up for the abused child I was, and for the trapped and unseen feelings that accompanied the abuse and paranoia.
I have been working on this healing thing for a LONG time. It IS getting better, for which I am VERY grateful. I no longer flinch at unexpected movements or touch. But there ARE still triggers and nightmares from time to time.
Healing takes a LOT longer than I would like it to take.
Healing is also complicated, especially when people raised in the same house have different versions of what "reality" looked like.
I look forward to the day I am completely healed.