Category Christianity

74 posts

#LiesMyParentsToldMe

I’m doing a series of comics – I started on Monday and have posted every day so far except Tuesday – called Lies My Parents Told Me. It’s been enlightening and cathartic – in the spirit of Valentines Day, today’s comic is on purity and virginity and the damage that goes with those ideas.
Funny how writing and drawing it all out makes what was so normal seem so ridiculous and wrong.

lmptm5small

In which my genitals mean I don't learn math or science

Alright, you have my attention. Anyone who can wield a soldering iron like that is worth some attention. […]

youtube commenter (comment since removed by author – creepy part, also removed…by me)

I was denied physics because I was born female. I had been taught all my life leading up to that point that girls don’t use power tools, that girls don’t build, that girls can’t understand higher math, that girls can’t hammer straight, that girls can’t and don’t understand science or engineering, and that all of those things are for boys.


So when we moved and joined science olympiad and I was partnered with people who needed partners, and one of them was a dude and our project was to make an egg-car thing and get the egg to go so far and hit a tiny wall without breaking, I was unable to assert myself. I was told to sit on the sidelines because this was boy stuff, all the boys – my dad, brother, grandpa, and my partner, took over the project while I was a mere bystander.


Anytime I did try to help, I was laughed at and ridiculed because I couldn’t hammer a nail straight – because I was never allowed to build – my entire life, I was never allowed to build – I could hammer a nail into a wall to hang something, but not into two pieces of wood, that was boy stuff. They took my inability as an excuse to continue to take over the project and leave me out of it.


My job, in my science project was to put the rubber bands on the plexiglass wheels that the boys decided were best, and load the weights into the pulley that held the car-holder door shut and released the car/opened the door when it dropped (because weight). The only enjoyment I had was to call them tiny footballs because they were fishing weights and looked like footballs and everyone ridiculed me for that. I was so devastated about the entire project that I was just like, THIS IS THE ONE JOY I HAVE OKAY, LET ME CALL THEM THAT.


It was horrible. The entire time no one bothered to give me anything but cursory detail about what they were doing or how it worked. No one bothered to teach me physics, because I was a girl and wouldn’t need to know anyway, I was just there so my partner could enter. No one taught me the math or told me about the calculations or why they decided on plexiglass wheels and a twist system besides “this would work best because you (not me, my partner) can calculate how many turns you need for the distance”.


My entire life I have been afraid of power tools and under the impression that I would never be able to use them effectively because of my genitalia (like a vagina is power tool kryptonite). I was convinced that somehow something world ending would happen were I to try – or maybe not world ending, but it at least would break and not work. I was never allowed to touch anything, only told to stay away, barely allowed to watch, never taught.


I am angry that because I was born in this body I was not allowed to learn how to build, to learn about physics, but instead I was only told I was bad at it and ridiculed every time I made the slightest attempt to understand.
I would never need to know these things to be a wife and mother, so why bother wasting the energy, right?


Sexism and gender roles ruined my math and science education – they denied me either, and instead lied to me, tying my mental ability to my genitalia, and my life’s purpose to bodily functions. 


This is why building ikea furniture, and houses in minecraft, and learning how to solder, and making little electronics work is so huge to me.
This is me standing up against my parents – who were my teachers – and learning SCIENCE because I CAN, because it is WORTH LEARNING, because I am SMART and I HAVE ALWAYS LOVED SCIENCE and was never allowed to try, never given the math skills or the time of day to learn it because I was told my entire life it was pointless for ME to learn it. I was relegated to the sidelines when I was supposed to be being educated, but I’m not anymore.


I am building things and I am soldering and I am damn good at it. 
I hate it when I’m made out to be magical because I both have boobs and enough dexterity to solder. It’s not magic, I am not a unicorn, and thinking that it’s somehow remarkable for a person with female genitalia to hold a soldering iron is sexist. It’s the same kind of sexism that kept me from learning math and science in high school, and it is not okay.


Go ahead and be impressed that I can do things, but be impressed because I’m fighting against my past, because I’m carving my way out of the cage my parents tried to place me in, not because I have boobs and dexterity.
Fuck the Patriarchy.

Ham on Nye

I actually didn’t plan on writing anything about the Ham on Nye debate Tuesday night, I planned on drinking and eating popcorn and watching  everything implode in a talk-past-eachother kind of way. My mouth hurt, (still does, I have even better numbing stuff now, but it makes my lips stick together :P), we ended up getting milkshakes because Ham is more triggering and milkshakes are more comforting.
The debate went as I suspected it would – more cathartic for me and those of us who have left the Young Earth Creationist camp we were raised with. Ham had all the same material, I’d heard everything he’d said before at VBS, in DVD’s, and his theology permeated my “science” books even though they weren’t exclusively AIG. I knew all his answers, I’d seen all of his graphics, he said absolutely nothing new, at all, I remembered everything verbatim from my previous encounters with AIG as a child. To Nye, this idea is so unfathomable that he had trouble grasping and understanding his audience and I don’t know that he knew what he was getting into. To the people in that room, YEC is more than a science…theory(?), it is, in a very real way, a (the) foundation of their religion.  Believing in a Young Earth is somehow, essential to this brand of christianity, my whole family, I think, is Young Earth, my immediate definitely, if not my grandparents too.
None of the arguments made in the debate were really going to change anyone’s minds I don’t think. I don’t know how many people were listening to it like a presidential debate, being really on the fence about religiously-intoxicated creationism and mainstream science, but who knows.
During the Q&A session though, Nye said one thing, one groundbreaking thing, and I don’t know if he even realized it. He said “I don’t know“.
What he probably didn’t know (or maybe did) when he walked into a room and an audience loaded with people who have been raised or told all of their lives and all of their childhood that they have to know all the answers to everything all the time and that “I don’t know” is not an answer and if you don’t know, something is wrong – saying “I don’t know” in a way that did not have defeatist or negative connotations is something that people raised in this sheltered and toxic environment have probably never heard. Their parents may have, but have denied themselves and their children that option, they’ve rejected the idea of not knowing for the burden of having to always know and have thrust that upon their children at very young ages.
Fellow homeschoolers have written about having to know the answers to all questions – even questions about the legality of homeschooling from the time they were like 6. This is true and this is devastating and this is too much, no one, let alone any child should be required to know the answer to everything. Yet this is what fundamentalists do – they require themselves and everyone they gather into their brand of religion (or non-religion) to have all of the answers to everything. They must always be able to back up a question with a pre-scripted answer that allows for no nuance. I don’t know is invalid.
People asked him the questions creationists are scripted to ask evolutionists (because they don’t know the answer but we do! HA!) and he answered, happily, excitedly, unashamed, and like he had been waiting to say it all night because it’s such a beautiful answer: I don’t know.
Ken Ham, and every entrenched creationist in the audience I’m sure scoffed at Nye’s reply. But what he said, in those three words, is something more powerful than he can know.
Because to the people who were watching who are tired of having to know everything because they realize they don’t know, who are maybe doubting, who are maybe thinking, who are maybe just trying to keep their head down to get by but secretly (even so secretly they may not realize it yet) want to taste something different, something not straight out of the book, Bill Nye just introduced the concept of freedom.
Because the freedom to not know (and that be an okay, even good thing) after coming from an environment where you must know is so so powerful. But one of those things, where you only realize it’s power once you’ve come to terms with the idea that it’s okay to not have the answers.
Bill Nye just introduced hundreds or thousands of people to the idea that “I don’t know” is valid, and okay, and not wrong.
That is the most important thing (I think) that happened in the debate, that’s what I haven’t been able to get out of my head. I don’t know. And it’s beautiful.
Screen Shot 2014-02-05 at 12.53.27 AM

force

I have stress induced canker sores in my mouth and it sucks (like 4). I’ve been sort of on the verge of/warding off a meltdown. I am stuck in complete and utter apathy towards everything that I am invested in and love doing.
I can’t sleep or eat without pain, because face. I have peroxide wash now though and have been doing everything else, including painkillers.
Everything sounds horrifically dull.
I feel like I’m shrinking back into my shell. I feel like I’ve stopped caring – which, actually isn’t true, because then I have moments of intense caring which leads to guilt which leads to…
All of my plans and ambitions seem grey and pointless and impossible.
I have to force myself to do anything, fight through the fog of why-bothers, and everything feels so…nothing-y
but I still force myself. I still force myself out of bed (and spend the rest of the day questioning that decision), I still force myself to be around for people and projects and things,  I still force myself to draw humorotica, even if I can’t seem to muster up the strength to force myself to draw when I need to and draw for myself. but the point is, i still force myself, and it hurts and it’s hard and it’s a battle and it sucks and I feel so fucking alone and stuck and it’s not even funny, but I still force myself, because I don’t know?reasons.
I feel like forcing myself counts for something. I don’t know what – probably nothing. Maybe I force myself because there’s a part of me that realizes I still need to kinda pretend to feel kind of alive or human. Or maybe it’s just guilt. It’s probably actually guilt.

Paralysis

I’ve been in a block all month.
I haven’t been able to garner up the motivation to do anything that I actually/usually want to do – especially creatively. It’s taken all of my willpower to push through and draw the last couple comics and art journal entries. Things that usually energize me or at least make me feel better. I feel less explosive, but no less pointless and futile.
It’s weird how we – or at least I – can ignore the glaringly obvious, or at least not think about it. I was catching up on Wil Wheaton’s blog and found this (read the rest of the entry here < because it’s accurate and helped me figure out wtf):

And you feel like shit because you aren’t making anything, or creating anything, or actually doing anything.  And you desperately want to make something, but whenever you start, depression wraps itself around you and whispers in your ear, “Why bother? You know how much you suck.”

And that, dear void, is exactly. EXACTLY. how I’ve been feeling all month – in addition to the  weekly minor-ish tragedy that sends me into a tailspin for days, only to find upon resurfacing that there’s something new wrong with me, my life, or the world.
Between the depression and the anxiety I can’t help but feel that everything is so pointless. But I know depression lies, I KNOW it’s all bullshit, but I’m stuck in an infinite loop and it’s so fucking hard to escape it. Honestly, it takes me about a week to escape it (so yeah, the random gut-punches that have happened on a weekly basis this month, NOT HELPFUL), sometimes longer, and I can’t escape it by myself. My antidepressants help a lot, but they don’t mean I don’t ever feel depressed or don’t ever get stuck in a loop, or don’t ever experience depression – they just manage it so I can live normally most of the time (yay!).
It’s hard to bother getting dressed or out of bed, it’s hard to draw, I haven’t even been able to think about actual vlogging because I am constantly reminded by the voices in my head, voices from the past that I am inadequate, I am not enough, I am not worth doing what I enjoy doing, and I deserve to be punished and have bad things happen. Voices that tell me I’m being punished for some discrepancy against a cosmic asshole I don’t even believe in anymore. It’s weird how much crap sticks to you. It’s weird how much being told you’re a horrible worthless piece-of-shit person (under the guise of loving christianity) from birth fucks you up when you’re an adult.
When things happen close together, even if they’re unrelated, it’s hard for me to cope. I feel like I don’t have time to process the last thing and be okay before the next thing hits, and eventually (or rather quickly) it devolves into anger and self-loathing and paralyzing depression and anxiety (< which I’m not treated for yet, but I need to be), and lots and lots and lots and LOTS of self-doubt. Like SO MUCH self-doubt that all of the progress I thought I made, I don’t know where it went.
I don’t really want to wake up and deal with another day. But I know that’s a lie too.
It’s easy for self-loathing to start at one place and end up at another. Maybe I start out feeling like I’m just stupid, and eventually I end up also feeling ashamed and embarrassed about my anatomy (especially vaginismus) and I just start seeing myself as completely and utterly broken because I have a body. It’s times like this where I tend to disassociate from my body more, but that hasn’t happened so far – just a lot of anger at my avatar.
It’s paralyzing.
I’m scared and I’m tired and I feel like it’s never going to end. I’m worried this creative block is permanent and  I’ll never finish KieryGeek because I can’t muster up the energy to talk to a camera. I’m ashamed and embarrassed and I feel incredibly worthless and insignificant.
But I know it’s all bullshit. I know it will pass. I know depression lies. I just need time.

Child Marriage: I dodged the bullet

I don’t know that I’ve written much about the process of the relationship Alex and I had before we got married. I started this blog after the fact and before I had even begun to process the hellmouth that was my childhood.
With three creepy-as-fuck-patriarchs coming out in favor of child marriage – something they’d always been in favor of, I suppose, but just now coming to light – I keep remembering how close I was to that being my story, our story.
This might be timey-wimey.


Ever since I can remember, my mom really really really wanted to be pregnant at the same time as me. I don’t know why, I just remember her telling me this, often, and it creeping  me out before I was 10 – and after I was 10, but I remember being REALLY damn young when she was telling me this. I feel like I was 8.


When we started homechurching, my mom become obsessed, I mean obsessed with jewish culture. Like everything about it was perfect and not at all weird, and by jewish culture, I guess I should clarify, I mean old testament jewishness, and whatever of that was referenced in the new testament. Yes, how women were property and bought/traded for dowries, and how they were surprised for when they were getting married, and their parents picked out their husbands (my mom is also obsessed with betrothal), and then how they wait for the couple to do it, and then they bring out a sheet that had better have a bloodstain on it to prove…virginity – because, obv’s everyone bleeds (<nope).


She had, before I was a teenager even, basically planned out my wedding to be like that. Complete with my future husband building an apartment attached to their house, and even as a kid who knew nothing, this was the thing I fought against, this was the battle I always chose, I was NOT going to allow my mom to pick out my husband, and dictate my wedding and create the most humiliating ceremony I could imagine – just so she could get her jewish fix and fulfill her dream of carrying children simultaneously.


For context: She had also decided that I would marry at 18 to ensure that pregnancy thing would be feasible. She was pregnant when I was 18 (I’m 18 years and one-week older than my youngest sibling) and I did end up getting married at 18, but the simultaneous pregnancy hasn’t happened (and never will, thanks to my own birth control and my grandparents stepping in after the last baby and paying for my mom’s sterilization).


Anyway, back to the story…

So, my childhood was already riddled with disturbing fantasies from my mom in relation to my future love-life, and I had been fighting this battle for as long as I can remember. Thankfully, my dad was on my side here, and also thought that my mom’s whole wanting to control all of that thing was ridiculous, which made it easier to just look at her and say no whenever she mentioned it (that was the only thing I was ever able to do that with) even though she ignored it.


I had read too much Elsie Dinsmore to be cool with the idea of betrothal. 😉
Anyway, after we moved to Atlanta I went to TeenPact State Class and then TeenPact National Convention where I met Alex and we became fast friends over the course of the year. Later that year my parents told me they were done teaching me/had taught me everything I needed to know when I was 15 and they said I’d graduated. It was 2006.

I turned 16 in February of 2007, had my graduation ceremony at the state homeschool convention in May, and Alex came down for camp, and that fall we started courting (which is, in our case, another kind of hell). Because he lived in Maine, our relationship was Long Distance and we saw eachother less than a handful of times a year – which means most of our relationship involved lots and lots and lots of talking and getting to know each other over IM/Email/Phone calls.


Nonetheless, as soon as my dad said “okay” to us courting in September of 2007, my parents – especially my mom- heard wedding bells. Courting is basically like, “dating with the intent to marry” but with everyone sticking their hands and ideas into the situation but without actually caring about or getting to know the two people involved – they just want power and think they can because they’re parents, so they must be right, right? (no)

My mom, at this time, had just had my second brother, and so, my broom services weren’t as desperately needed. By december they were pushing Alex to propose, made him buy me a promise ring, and kept asking about when we were getting married, and don’t you love him? (yes) don’t you want to marry him? (sure) but why not NOW? (because I’m 16) We’ll sign the paperwork! eventually I just looked at them and told them, I feel like you’re pushing me out, and I don’t know why. They were like, we’re not pushing you out! and I forget what else they said, but in retrospect, that conversation, and me not coming home engaged after visiting and meeting his family for the first time after christmas changed things.


But one thing remained, they wanted me married. STAT. They wanted him to propose like, right away, and when he didn’t propose by my birthday, in February (because we both decided it wasn’t a good idea to get married at like, 17 and 19) they got pissed and over the course of the summer of 2008, decided to do everything they could to sabotage our relationship.


It was brutal and nasty and deserving of more than one post because it was fraught with verbal and emotional abuse, withholding, and bribery – complete turns of opinions and demeanor’s, saying one thing and then the next morning saying something else, the last pregnancy that ruined everything, and the reason I had to run away.


If I had complied, as I did in every other thing, my relationship with my parents would have been less strained for a short time, but neither Alex or I would be in a healthy place. 16 is too young. Much too young.


So when people talk about child-marriage proponents, I remember being 16 and pressured, unbelievably pressured by my parents, to make my boyfriend propose and marry me.
because it’s better to marry than to burn with passion 


I wonder if some of the logic of Swanson, Maranatha’s dad and husband, and Creepy Duck Guy wasn’t part of the logic my parents had too: female independence is bad, marry them off young so they can do what god commanded women to do – be fruitful and multiply.

New Year's Thoughts

First rambly post of the new year! It’s not really worth noting because, when are these posts not rambly? But whatever.
I usually reserve goals and things for my birthday, because that’s when the actual “new year” starts in my head, you know, because aging. Somehow that seems more…connectable, than a random day on a calendar, but I’ve had some interesting thoughts over the last couple days in relation to it being 2014, and I’ll probably have forgotten them all by next month if I tried waiting.
I’ve been doing this word for the year thing, and last year’s didn’t really connect well for me, but the year before that was a beautiful touchstone. I like having touchstones that I can remind myself of when I feel overwhelmed or lost or trying to make a decision. It helps, and is oddly freeing for me, I don’t really know why. It’s better than a goal goal, because it gives options instead of pressure. I think this is why I stay away from the word goal, and when I do use it, I use it in a very loose, I only have to do this if I want to/end up doing it kind of way. I don’t like pressure, I like options.
Anyway, I decided this year, my phrase, or touchstone, or word, is going to be in keeping with my journey  – stealing autostraddle‘s (or whoever’s) “You do you”, but inverting to myself (I’ll do me). Which is just another way of saying something like follow my bliss, or be, or just do what is best for me, but none of those have the duplicity that makes me giggle to myself, because one of those meanings happens pretty frequently. 😉
See, the hardest thing for me to do is actually assert myself and accept my own agency. I spent a lifetime conforming to be whoever and whatever the people I looked up to wanted me to be. I am excellent at denying myself (or even just not knowing) the things and opportunities that I want, in favor of pleasing other people, or helping other people.
Giving myself permission to say no to the things that I feel like maybe (other people think) I “should” do but aren’t what I want to do, or aren’t the things that make me come alive, and giving myself permission to say yes to the things that do – has been an ongoing struggle, and I’ve gotten better at it, but I think this part of my journey is going to take longer than a year to figure out, maybe even the rest of my lifetime. My first reaction is not to think of myself or my needs – and I’m not saying that pompously, I’m saying that’s a bad thing. I don’t like this about myself, I’m tired of putting myself last in ways and places that I shouldn’t be. It’s not healthy to constantly see myself as unworthy of pursuing anything I want to pursue, or asserting myself or needs because I feel like I shouldn’t have them. I’m tired of denying myself the humanity I try to extend to everyone else.
It’s not healthy to keep living as though I don’t matter, as though I only ever deserve pain and heartache, as though my purpose in life is to be a shell and put everyone else’s needs ahead of my own. Because, I do have needs, and those are important too.
I don’t know what doing me will look like (hahaha) in the next year, or lifetime even. Honestly the thought of actually thinking about myself and what makes me come alive first, before thinking of other people’s expectations, or needs, or approval, kinda scares me a little. Okay, a lot. I don’t even know if I’m really capable of it.
But I think it’s important. I think it’s important because of everything that’s happened this year, and 2014 is just a giant blank slate that is just waiting to be drawn all over.
In 2014 I’m going to do the things that make me come alive.
In 2014 I’m going to play with science, because science.
In 2014 I’m going to keep making comics. And hope that I get better and maybe bigger things come of it, because I really love humorotica and I’d love to see it take off.
In 2014 I’m going to keep playing games and keep vlogging. Maybe I’ll even do those daily vlogs, or make friends with vloggers I missed the chance to get to know over the summer (and I really really really regret that, because they are all wonderful and I’m always just geeking out over them), who knows.
Honestly, I don’t really know what’s going to happen in 2014, but all of those things? They make me feel alive and so I’m going to keep doing that and see where they take me.

On being a broom (and why I can't just relax and enjoy shit)

I realized why I have a hard time relaxing and taking actual vacations and even enjoying the holidays.
As a child all of the times that most children have “off” to play and relax and do their own thing, I never had. We never had summer break, we took Nov-Jan off every year instead, and during those two months we never rested. During those two months, my mom made lists, my mom kept us running ragged either baking or crafting or “ministering” to other people, or doing deep seasonal cleaning. I remember, vividly, begging, all of us, begging to keep ONE DAY in two months free so we could just watch a movie and relax and not make cookies (or make cookies that we actually got to eat instead of for everyone and their aunt).
We had “parties” that I don’t ever remember being fun, because the entire time leading up we spent deep cleaning, and cooking, and setting up, and then when it was party time I had to help mom keep the party and the guests organized and on-schedule, and I had to make sure the dessert came out of the oven at the right time, and often was interrupted with some kind of caretaking need in the middle of a group activity.
My mom hated it when I planned my own (graduation) party and I told her she couldn’t do anything and that I had no plans, and we were just going to hangout, maybe watch a movie and order pizza. Even then she still tried to dictate what happened when, I was still pulled aside, it was still stressful.
All I remember my mom doing during breaks, and actually for the majority of my childhood was sitting in her recliner, writing us lists of things to do, and getting upset when we didn’t do them all fast enough for her.
Her version of helping and “being productive” was sitting there, after giving us our lists, watching us do the things on the list and telling us what we were dong wrong or should do differently, or coming up with more things to do simultaneously.
There is no pleasing my mother. We had “breaks” solely so we could do chores and things we couldn’t have done while we were “schooling”. Forget that we didn’t school on Fridays, because Fridays were intense cleaning days, you know, on top of normal cleaning all week.
Even my dad, my mom would write HUGE “honey-do” lists for on his one week off (you know, when we kids just wanted to play and have him rescue our toys from the packaging). My mom was a slave-driver who bred her own slaves.
And yes, I do feel like I and all my siblings are just slaves in my mothers eyes. She wouldn’t say it that way, but that’s exactly how they live(d) and practice(d), and people wonder why I have horrible self esteem issues.
I mean, I was told, outright, for years, that my purpose and job in life (while I was home) was to serve my “family” (i.e. mom). I felt, literally (I cannot emphasize this enough) like I was just a broom with arms, legs, and a heartbeat. I remember standing in the kitchen one day, fighting back tears, devastated as I was doing two things at once, that I didn’t have 8 arms, because I could. not. keep. my. mother. happy. I could not physically clean, and cook, and hold the baby, and do the laundry all at the same time. I was human, I ONLY HAD TWO ARMS, and yet, there was my mom, in her chair in the next room, berating and harassing me because while I was cleaning the dishes and cooking and had a toddler draped around my leg, I hadn’t yet started the laundry, or brought her snack.
If I was “caught” doing anything that loosely resembled “relaxing” that was immediately rectified with other tasks (unless it was bedtime, or the like 90 minutes of “free time” I had that rapidly shrank). I feel horribly guilty if I am not doing some kind of mundane work when I could be, because I was never allowed to breathe.
I wasn’t a person until I ran away. Before that, I was nothing more than a breathing, walking, broom. 

Brain Stuffs

I crashed for two hours and I feel a little better about things.
I’ve been dealing with a lot of self loathing and emotional exhaustion and anxiety and just feeling like I’m the most horrible person ever to walk the earth (which is ridiculous if I think about it, because I don’t actively TRY to hurt people, but the fact that I do, or may inadvertently, tends to kill me sometimes, especially because I often don’t know if that’s actually happened because I’m just overthinking every single thing I think and say).
So, I feel a little less like I should just be eradicated from the earth, which is a plus.
A lot is happening and has happened, and I don’t know really how to deal with everything and I don’t know how to give myself what I need.
I don’t know how to extend to myself the humanity that I try as hard as I possibly, humanly, can to everyone else. And the fact that I often times, fail fucking miserably at it doesn’t help either, because then I feel like I really don’t deserve and shouldn’t be patient with myself at all.
I don’t actually know what brought this on, and I’m guessing this looks fucking ridiculous to everyone reading, but it’s not a healthy headspace for me (add the completely valid discussion of privilege, but used to call one specific set of people out and/or shut people down, and it’s sort of a recipe for disaster in my psyche. I KNOW that’s not how it’s supposed to work or be interpreted, but for some reason it’s a fucking loaded term and just triggers a complete shutdown and self-hate autocycle in my brain), and I don’t really know how to fix it, so I’m doing the only thing I know how to do that does actually help, which is put it here.
Feel free to ignore – this isn’t meant to make sense to anyone outside my head, I just need to like, get it OUT of my head so I can sleep and not deal with insomnia or try to build a house out of rocks so I can live under it.
 

Aging Backwards

When I was 8, I was expected to be an adult. I had adult responsibilities (taking care of kids) and was expected to act as mature as an adult – learn all the things, do all the things, cook all the food, wash all the babies – I had to fight for some semblance of my own childhood. My mom wanted me to grow up and grow up fast. I remember her asking me, before I was 10, to stop playing “dogs” with my brother (we’d run around on our hands and knees barking and stuff) because, essentially, it was embarrassing. I don’t remember the exact words she said, but that was the gist.
I just looked at her, and willfully ignored her until I was 11, and by then, I was too busy doing her job that I didn’t really have time to play with my siblings, because if I did, I was quickly ushered to change someones diaper.
Funny, because my mom said that I should be happy I have so many siblings/sisters to play with and that I don’t NEED friends my own age. But I never had time to play with them even if I wanted to – and honestly, they were so much younger than me, and she had them with such frequency, that I wasn’t even on the playmate list – I was the caretaker, the other kids, they all had each other, but I was quickly forced out, alone, and expected to be happy about it and have no needs.
I wasn’t allowed to have needs. I wasn’t allowed to be a child after I started puberty.
As I aged, I was expected to be more adult – not in like the normal, kids mature way, but in the I-was-8-and-was-expected-to-be-20-and-go-from-there kind of way. By the time I was 13 I’d lost any semblance of childhood that I’d had. I’ve never experienced the care-free years of being a kid or a teenager, because the entire time I was a kid(‘s age), I wasn’t.
I don’t understand teenagers, I don’t understand 18 year olds who don’t look and feel like they’re 40. I don’t understand 16 year olds who still play and aren’t crushed under the weight of grown up responsibility. I don’t understand 22 year olds who act like 22 year olds are supposed to act, and don’t have random existential crises because they feel like their life is over and they’ve accomplished nothing.
I’m 22, but most of the time I feel like I’m so. much. older. and learning how to act my age – I’m actively trying to become more immature, because I can’t handle the continued weight of having to be more responsible and older than I am, of having to be the parent all the time even though there’s no one around to parent (except myself, which isn’t healthy either).
When I got married, I was 18, but I felt as though I’d lived a lifetime before that even happened. It said 18 on my documentation, but in my head I was in my 40’s, most of my life lived – well, survived, and it was time to do something else. Most people are like, no, you can’t marry at 18, and I agree and feel bad about it until I realize, when I was 18, I wasn’t actually 18. I was much older than that – because I was forced and pushed into growing up well before I even had the ability to understand what everything meant.
When I was 8, until I was 18, I was given all of the responsibility of an adult, with none of the power. I often felt like the only adult in the situation, like I was the actual parent, but I had no ability to change things for myself or for my siblings.
My mom confided in me things that really she should have confided in other adults to – things I didn’t need to know and didn’t understand and had no idea how to respond to. You shouldn’t tell your kid about how you’re mad at their father, or what you do in the bedroom and how it’s sinful (because every sperm is sacred), but you just really don’t want to be pregnant again (and pulling out is SO effective) – bearing in mind, I still thought sex consisted of invisible metal tubes connecting at the belly button of the other person.
When Alex and I started going out, I wasn’t even 17, and they heard wedding bells. They wanted me married right away, it felt like I was being pushed out, which was strange, considering.
My parents wanted everything to move so quickly. They said “but you WANT to get married, right?” and I was like “sure, yeah, but not RIGHT NOW” (because, 16, even I knew that was a bad idea). They didn’t seem to understand the concept of time.  They wanted me to grow up so fast and never experience having grown up.
I never had a relationship with my mom and I think this is largely why.
I was the parent. I was the confidant. I was the one who had all of the responsibility, the consequences, and the anger shoved on to. I bore the brunt of her frustrations and I was the one who was berated for simple mistakes.
In every way, I never had a mother. I was never her daughter, I was only ever her tool.
The only time my mom was ever sweet to me was when she was trying to butter me up and manipulate me.
So when people say they’re so sorry I never had a relationship with the person who made the choice to give birth to me (and then demanded my life in return), I stare at them blankly. I don’t understand why they would say that. It actually hurts, because it’s almost as though they’re blaming me for not having or wanting a mother-daughter relationship – like I’m unjustified in my relief to have finally left her grasp.
I’ve grown in odd patches, with massive gaps where experiences should be, but aren’t. Learning what to do with feelings, and learning what needs are (after not being allowed to have them, because adult…which is BS, actually, my mom had ALL OF THE NEEDS). I feel old, I look young, I have experience and naivety in all the wrong places.
I hate having had to fight for everything – whether it’s for childhood, or autonomy, or myself. I am tired.
I don’t know what made me think of it – maybe it’s because it’s the holidays and I really want the gingerbread that we used to make, and that reminds me of the fact that holidays were chores and mostly unenjoyable, save christmas morning, and I get tired from the memories and the forced aging and I feel like Benjamin Button.