childhood, Uncategorized

Writing my story

I used to love writing. I wrote a short story when I was maybe eleven years old. Now I find it hard to write. Maybe it’s harder now as it’s easier to remember the negative the hurtful than the nice memories. Or maybe after not writing for so long. Maybe it’s a lazy underused muscle. Maybe my avid love of reading has made my writer side lazy.

 

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I just noticed the fascination for the name Giggles started at a young age with me!

 

When I was young a few very hurtful and emotionally damaging things happened. We subsequently moved and I lost the fragile hold of budding friendships. Lost the comfort of what I finally felt was home. I had been betrayed by my family, my friend, abandoned by my mother. The realization that nothing is real. That love and family is just a word hits hard and maybe never fully heals.

I learned in that time that without a doubt the Biblical time of the end we were being taught was indeed very easily an option. The second coming of Christ, the second death for those not deemed worthy. The hunt and persecution of those in the wrong religion. Ours, of course, would be the wrong one. It was us that would be put to death after horrible torture once our family had turned on us. That was some of my childhood bible stories. Who needs stories of the monster under the bed when you have those.

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Back to my point about why writing is hard. Why it leaves me with a sense of guilt. Yet another excuse to not put my pen to paper. Or in this case fingers to keys.

Since we were isolated there was little for options of lashing out, acting out. I knew nothing of the world except what was deemed appropriate to tell. The basis of truth behind the stories built upon the tellers’ opinion. An opinion from someone who chose to leave the world for a commune lifestyle. See how that is a questionable source?

I wrote as I knew no other outlet. I wrote my pain and anger. My story, my fears, my heartbreak. I had pen pals – remember those? I think my mail probably was blocked to them.  No matter where I wrote my story, where I hid it mother found it. She would be livid every time. How dare I write even in fiction about our pain. Our deep embarrassing secret that really wasn’t a secret as everyone knew it. How dare I put to paper what should never be admitted. I kept writing and she kept finding them. ‘Never write down what you don’t want people to know’ she would say. What she didn’t want to face up to is more like it. Eventually, I let it go and began a new quest… BOYS!

childhood, Uncategorized

Baking bread

Growing up we made everything we ate. Even at one point grinding our own flour. We made our tofu, mixed our seasonings, stored our food for winter by canning, drying, and freezing. As a little girl I ‘helped’ with all of this. Of course, I began to want to do it on my own! My first cookie dough creation was ‘tasty’ to be sure. I was maybe 4 at the time.

By nine I wanted to make some money and came up with the idea to bake bread and sell it to the families. I realize the contradiction of wanting to earn money when we rarely left the farm and certainly didn’t purchase items very often.  The farm had a store that carried many items that making yourself would be difficult. It was a brilliant idea really. The families received a ‘stipend’ for working there and in turn gave it right back to the farm by purchasing from their store.

It was the juice boxes that got me. We didn’t drink anything but water outside of mealtime. A juice box was unheard of prior to this store.  A tiny box filled with juice that came with a straw that bent… I was hooked.

Smiley orangy juice box boy with its shadow and a straw on it

So here I was with a great idea to bake and sell bread to the local families. My mother even supported it once we had dad’s approval. She got out a piece of paper and we labored over the cost of a bag of flour versus the amount used in a batch of bread that yielded 7 loaves. We did the same for each ingredient. The cost of electricity was harder to decipher. Pretty sure she came up with a low sum like 0.50 a batch. Now we had the cost per loaf and just needed to add on profit. I sold the loaves for $1 each. Making one batch each Friday. After paying mom back I probably made maybe 25 cents per loaf but was happy as a clam.

I knew the recipe by heart. Add yeast to the brown sugar and warm water. While waiting for the yeast to rise, mix the dry ingredients. White and whole wheat flour and a pinch of salt. Once the yeast had risen to a proper head add oil and mix it all together slowly adding more flour until the dough was the needed consistency to knead by hand. Shape into a ball and cover with a towel to let rise. Half an hour later beat and knead it back down. Definitely one of my favorite parts. Then shape into loaves placing them into the pans to rise again while the oven preheated.

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I did all of this alone as a nine-year-old for almost a year. Since no one was looking I used more white than whole wheat flour. I added extra brown sugar and oil to the batches. I had the best bread in the entire community and they loved it. The women would ask my secret and I just smiled and shrugged my shoulders. I knew what it was – adding extra oil and sugar. Less whole wheat and more white flour. You know the good stuff! I also knew not to admit that to anyone. Our diet was slowly getting better, we ate supper now, we had margarine instead of corn meal spread acting as margarine. We ate leavened bread and even had Mr. Noodles sometimes. But to admit to changing the recipe – well that would have ended my baking career.

childhood, Uncategorized

Hitchhiking with dad

 

I would often go with dad on his trips to deliver produce. It was a part of the market gardening project. Those trips enabled us time alone to bond. On one of those trips, I tried bubble gum for the first time. Dad spent that 12-hour drive trying to teach me to blow bubbles. One time we ate so much watermelon we stopped to pee every half an hour. Another time we almost died thanks to airbrakes and power steering. So many memories from different trips.

The time I am thinking of is the time the truck died in the middle of nowhere. Before cell phones were common and useful.  If nothing else when in a jam dad always showed me to be resilient and positive. To see that no matter what, there is always a way. “When the going gets tough the tough get going” he used to say.

So here we were driving a large cube truck thru the mountains heading home. The trip had been successful. All the produce was sold. The survival camping gear he wanted was purchased and in the back. It was just a matter of the long drive home. A third of the way in the truck began to lag and sputter before coming to a halting death at the side of the road.

We had recently passed a tiny town and so stuck our thumbs out for a ride there. The first and last time I would hitchhike with dad. Once we got to town it was realized we would need to catch the greyhound home. That meant getting back to the truck for our things and of course the ever important survival gear.

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We stuck our thumbs out and soon enough a nice man pulled over to give us a ride. He was an off-duty police officer who was in no mood to help a man and his young daughter. He dropped us off at the truck and left not caring how we faired or interested in giving us any helpful information. This frustrated my father as we as Christians believed in ‘giving the shirt off our back’ so to speak. Helping others with a part of our values. As a man of the law who was to serve and protect his country and his people, it was saddening that he wanted nothing to do with that when he wasn’t being paid.

There wasn’t much that we needed to get from the truck. Our backpacks and the gear. I don’t recall what dad all carried. However, I sure do remember what I had to carry. Two sets of military down sleeping bags. These mummy style sleeping bags would keep you warm well below -20 C. I had one bag on each arm as shown in the photo below. We walked the entire way. No one wanted to pick us up. Dusk had long since turned into the dark of the night.  Hitchhiking wasn’t getting us a ride, the lack of traffic may have had something to do with that. We were in the middle of nowhere at night. Drivers probably couldn’t even see us until they were right on us.

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I probably complained the entire way. The bags were awkward and heavy. The cords cutting into my arms. Dad had no time for my complaints. We didn’t know what time the bus might pass by. It wasn’t even certain that the driver would stop. We walked all the way back to that lamp post. Hoping and praying that the greyhound to come by and pick us up.

 

 

childhood, Uncategorized

I’ll never diet because… I was always hungry

One thing that seems to be a constant reoccurring memory is being hungry.

The first seven years we ate twice a day. Once at 7 am after worship and again at 1 pm. How that was enough on a vegan diet is beyond me. I must have been allowed snacks when I was a toddler for I was a cute chubby little thing. The diet I believe is part of why mother couldn’t conceive again for years. She had a miscarriage and then that was it for years. Raw vegan diet while working the farm just doesn’t jive with what we know is needed to sustain and provide energy to us. I still remember her paper-thin skin. The yellow jaundice tint to it when she was fasting and juicing bouts breaking up her regular diet of vegan, yeast free, primarily raw food. Under a 100 lbs and 5’5″. Images of her. Memories of the diets for health and religion keep me free of ever dieting or subjecting myself to the newest or reintroduced diet of the month.

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All three photo’s span about 15 years. Prior to religious diet and after years of it.

I recall as a little girl standing on tippy toes trying to reach the table salt and honey hidden in the very top corner shelf. I would alternate dipping my finger in the honey jar and shaking salt on my palm to lick off. Too sweet then too salty never satisfying my growling belly. One time I tried the soft heart shaped cat treats. Trust me on this – just don’t! I sat on the floor next to the water bucket in the pantry ladling water into my mouth for all I was worth. No matter how many ladles of delicious cold water I drank I couldn’t rid my tongue of that terrible taste. The soft treat had disintegrated into all the corners of my mouth filling it with that awful flavor.

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For as long as I lived at home I remember being hungry. Sneaking food whenever I could. At meals, we would stuff ourselves as much as we could. I remember food eating contests where mom would undo her belt and jump up and down to make more room. Still makes me giggle a little. Other times we would have contests who could put the most plums, or popcorn into our mouths at one time. Or who had the biggest mouth enabling them to fit the entire serving ladle into their mouth. Mom and I always won.

Now years later I try to stay active and eat healthily. I see my body and metabolism change as I grow older. The social media onslaught of eating plans and diets for various reasons and easy weight loss are everywhere. One thing is for sure. I’ll not diet and be hungry again. I will love and savor each bite of delicious food not taking it for granted.

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She looks much older than I at almost the same age.
childhood, Uncategorized

The funny thing about remembering 

A memory that has stuck with me since I was probably 5 or 6 is of Princess Leia being beamed out of the vacuum asking to be saved. Her image would fade in and out. Her voice sounding far away. In my dreams, I couldn’t actually hear what she was saying but knew it was important. She needed help, to be saved. How did she get locked in a vacuum? I’d best be careful when I used our vacuum. That image of  Princess Leia stuck with me even in when I was awake. I could feel the heartache, the desperation that she was feeling.

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Many years later I learned that the vacuum was in fact R2D2. A nifty little robot that in my sheltered knowledge could only have been a vacuum.  I will always remember that image wavering in out. Trying to get the message through.

I recently read somewhere that lapses in memory can be a sign of a traumatizing event or abusive action in your life. I can easily come up with a list of painful events, as we all can. I could surmise for days what may or may not have been the cause of my very spotty memory. I wonder though. If we do not reminisce, revisit our funny stories over the dinner table with family or friends lead them to fade away. If you never talk about that time you fell into the creek, broke your finger, kissed that boy, or snuck into the orchard with the girls then how will that memory not fade away into the deep recesses with no reason to be brought forth. Going so far back that it totally disappears.

There are years of my life that have such few faded memories. People I don’t know, entire friendships have disappeared. Adventures and laughter swallowed by the abyss of my forgotten past. I don’t know how it happened or when it happened. If it wasn’t for people having found me as an adult I wouldn’t have even know anything was really amiss. I mean we all forget some things. But entire friendships, entire summers, years that have gone? It is a bit disconcerting. Enough to bear upon my mind wondering where they have gone. A different viewpoint could be that our memory is like a revolving tape. A loop per say that goes round and round. The information is written over if no longer current.

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I realized I have been floating on my own from place to place since I was thirteen. So there were no family meals or trips. No annual get together where we spent time laughing, cooking, eating, pestering each other. Teasing each other over our mistakes and slip-ups that only the close the family know. If you don’t reminisce how do you remember? If you don’t have that pesky brother or sister who knows the embarrassing, the funny, the serious, to constantly remind you how will you never forget. I didn’t have any of those things so I could easily forget it all. Not even knowing that is what I was doing.

childhood, Uncategorized

So many contradictions​

When I was little I was shy and afraid. I didn’t want to draw attention to myself or be noticed as different.

When I was little I felt no fear, I could climb the highest tree, ride the fastest sled. I was invincible.

When I was little I did not know about perfection or imperfection. We were all beautiful on the inside. If not I could feel something bad when close and didn’t like you.

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I had an idyllic childhood. Free-spirited, running wild, loved by my community family.

I had a traumatizing childhood. So many different people came and went. Some good some so very not.

I grew up in a huge family. Encircled by love, prayer, and family.

I have no family. I am an orphan. Wiped from the church records, forgotten like a mistake they don’t want to be reminded of.

As a little girl, I loved nature and would play to my heart content in the woods.

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As a broken-hearted girl, I wept atop a tree terrified to come down and walk the miles home thru the woods.

Loved beyond bounds, tossed away with the trash. Taught so much, yet so little. Prepared for the time of the end. Unprepared for life before the end.

These memories confuse me, amuse me, hurt me, and hug me. Maybe a thread of words will appear and find a flow.IMG_0855

 

childhood, Uncategorized

Is it wrong to play with Barbie

When I was a little girl I was not allowed to play with Barbie’s because my parents didn’t want me to think I should look like her. Didn’t want mt to try and look like her. I never thought much about it other than it was another thing I was denied. I didn’t care much to tell the truth as I didn’t really see the fun in a doll that couldn’t do anything other than changing her clothes and hang out with Ken.

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I had better things to do like climb a tree, paddle in the pond, ride my bike, walk around with my bow and arrow’s on the hunt for the next great target. Who wanted to sit down with a tiny adult doll to awkwardly put clothing on it. Repeatedly. An over the shoulder molder holder shouldn’t be this hard to put on a doll or body for that matter. I love that bit from the movie Beaches. I showed my daughter the video and her facial expressions had me laughing so hard.  I digress. Barbies were boring to me other than of course one more thing I couldn’t have. I don’t think it was ever explained that I was beautiful the way I was. That any body type was to be loved. It would be unchristian to think of oneself as attractive more than necessary.

 

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Growing up we didn’t wear makeup, cut our hair short, or bother with fancy clothes. We dressed for what we were doing. Gardening,  wear layers so you won’t get too hot. Working in the mill don’t wear too lose of clothing or it will get caught. Raining out, wear raincoat and boots. Camping in the winter, wear layers with wool against your skin. Cayenne in your socks if you want to keep extra warm. The actual style wasn’t the main focus. Look modest and appropriate. Dress nice for church. Being off the grid so to speak we were behind the times. We also were a ‘get your wardrobe once a year’ unless something is needed kind of family. We usually shopped at the thrift shop on our yearly trip down south. The Sears catalog was for window shopping, cutting out to paste the pictures, and lastly for fire building. It certainly wasn’t to order from.

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My daughter has played with Barbie’s. Oodles of them. The jet, car, motorcycle, and a dozen girlfriend Barbies with a couple Ken’s to go around. She didn’t care much about them and cut off all their hair. My daughter also played in the lake, slid in the mud, camped in the bush, and overall got dirty playing. She played with makeup and hair stuff learning what its like. Turns out my daughter like the feel of makeup on her face as much as I do. Mascara usually about cuts it with us.  I hope that she will always be comfortable with herself dressed up for a night out and for playing in the mud.

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Today though I think back to that and realize what their intentions were.  It seems modern society keeps wanting to portray women shaped like Barbie in magazines, television, social media platforms. Looking a certain way seems to be advertised as the key or the link to happiness, popularity, dating, career. Lifestyles are built around trying to dress and change your body to portray this. So many women and girls I see online posting before and after photos. Some are extreme changes. Some obviously for better physical health. Some looked amazing the way they were. Before diets, constant work towards a look other than what they naturally have. I am incredibly happy to see there are as many women who love themselves the way they are. Knee deep in life enjoying every moment the best they can the way they are.

 

childhood, Uncategorized

I hoard toilet paper

There I said it. I collect toilet paper. And not that scratchy cheap no name stuff. Definitely not the Green planet friendly tp. That stuff is worse than the tp at the govt funded buildings. I mean Charmine, Cottonelle,  Royale, and other baby soft brands. If they are on sale it comes home with me. Stuffed under handbags, in the back of the closet, in the kids’ washroom.  I buy the kids’ Store brands or other sale but still quality brands because it’s cheaper and they have no sense of the word waste as teenagers.

I know why I buy it. I understand buying on sale is a good idea. That being thrifty is the way to become a millionaire. That is not why I do it. I have this fear hidden deep in the darkness of my consciousness. I am afraid of using paper thin, sandpaper rough, one ply tissue. The kind you would be able to steal from the local library. Sounds ridiculous right. Wrong. I was so broke – a whole different blog story there for another time… I was so broke I would sneak into the public library and stuff a half used roll into my backpack.

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I can still see clear as day me sitting on the toilet. My black canvas satchel with its cold metal buckles on my lap. Trying to get that giant commercial size roll out of the case without making noise or breaking it. The metallic taste of fear on my tongue. The desperate need for tissue at home.

So now I have toilet paper. Good toilet paper. So soft it’s a kittens fur wiping your bottom. According to commercials. Or maybe so soft bears love it. Hoards of it in my closet, in the bathroom, in the kids bathroom. And I bought more today because it was almost half price. I am sure it will be double when I need it. So I buy more. I buy it for the sale not because I can’t help myself. I tell myself I’ll be good and buy only one giant bulk bag, not the maximum limit. That would be silly right! 🙂 Then I stress all the way home if I should have bought more while it was on sale. Or if I spent too much buying things like toilet paper on sale when I didn’t need it yet. Either way, I end up with a stomach ache.

So there it is. Why I hoard toilet paper. And probably food on occasion. Definitely speaks to my dislike of wasting anything. Throwing away anything when it can be donated. For I will never forget having to steal toilet paper.

childhood, Uncategorized

Walking in the dark

After working the late shift the other night I climbed into bed with my 16-year-old daughter to visit and hear about her day. She had to take the late bus home that day which was a first. I asked if it was dark walking home from the bus stop. ‘Yes it was scary,’ ‘did you call your brother?’ I asked.  ‘No I used the light from my phone and walked fast hoping nothing would jump out at me,’ was her response.

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Her walk in the dark reminded me of the first place I lived after getting on my bicycle and riding away from the ‘farm’ at 13. That is another story for another time.  At any rate, I ended up in the same house I had lived in as a child, even had my old room back. Like that didn’t depress the shit out of me. The community school only went to grade eight so I worked at the bakery from 4 am till 1 pm Monday to Friday. The house I lived in was over a mile up a mountain. I watched the telephone poles be installed. There was no pavement, no street lights. Moonlight was my only guide if I was lucky. I would walk down the mountain using the path as a short cut. It was pitch dark usually. Occasionally the moon came out from behind the clouds illuminating the pathway. I was terrified of mountain lions, bears, and god knows what else. I have no idea how I managed to not only wake at that ungodly hour but to force myself into the cold darkness down that mountain.

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One day at church the elementary school teacher was speaking about things that made her day and my morning walk was one of them. She loved to wake up hearing me sing as I skipped along the path to work. Brightened her day waking to my cheerful song. Little did she know I was singing to keep the paralyzing fear from overcoming me. I had no choice but to get to work walking that path in the dark. Fear wasn’t an option.

Funny it hits me now that in all the things I have done in life:  fear or failure was never an option.

childhood, Uncategorized

Best mistake my father made

The best mistake my father made was to let me join him that one Christmas break watching the VHS tapes he picked up on brainwashing and mind control. It was an unintentional gift that has lasted me throughout life.

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I’ll never forget the families wanting to get their children back that wouldn’t leave. How they didn’t stop searching for them. Trying to get thru to the youth, the person that they knew and loved. How the person in the commune just didn’t hear the words. I mean really hear them. They would listen and try to explain to each other why the lifestyle was good or bad depending on who was talking yet neither party actually heard the other.

In the videos, it was explained how they got these lost souls, these people who were searching for something more. How that lifestyle was appealing and dominated all other choices. Why they stayed and believed. One young woman maybe early 20’s stuck in my mind. She wanted to leave but couldn’t get away. They kept at her until the methods worked and she became pliant to their lifestyle suggestions. Or maybe she just gave up and gave in fro sheer exhaustion.  Another young woman felt the opposite. She refused to leave she wanted that life regardless of the hurt and abandonment her family felt.

What made them pliant, willing believers? It wasn’t  beatings, rape or physical abuse like you may assume. It was segregation, hunger, lack of sleep, heavy physical labor that finally made her pliable to them. This is where I connected the dots that I was right. That it was wrong how I was being raised. Don’t get me wrong here. The community I was born into was nothing like Wako Texas and other extreme sects. It was a community built to live off the land, to be self-sustaining and off the grid. However, as with any good values, some extremists thinkers were a part of it. Of course, the deep religious beliefs didn’t help.

Earlier that year I had gotten in trouble for something I’ve conveniently forgotten. In the ensuing teen outburst and tantrum, I went for the phone to call child services as ‘it was wrong to be raised like this’. The consequence to that was to be locked into my room for a few days on bread and water twice a day brought to the door and escorted bathroom breaks a couple times a day. The hook and eye lock I had installed at the outer top corner of my door to keep my little sister out now had backfired for that is how they locked me in.

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I was livid. How dare they treat me like this. Make me a prisoner, lock me up, the injustice of it all. True to teenage form I got over it. I wrote the thousand word essay on my wrongdoings and after my allotted days I handed it over. And was promptly in trouble again for plagiarism for how could a 12-year-old write a decent essay? One who grew up with adult conversation and companionship, with books, sermons, and discussions, not friends, preschool, playdates, and television that’s who. Needless to say that disbelief in me further solidified my resentment. The resentment that had been building for a while and would continue until it burst out.

Many years later I was at a self-help weekend retreat. Similar methods were used. We had to stay at the hotel at night and weren’t to return home or be in contact with our friends and family. We shared rooms with strangers. Were woken early to hike a nearby hill prior to breakfast. We spent days digging deep into our painful pasts, resurrecting the scars that brought each of us to this workshop. I saw the signs and smiled to myself. I joined in all the exercises for you will only gain what you’re willing to put in. I believed there were life skills to be learned regardless of the red flags. I wanted to heal any issues I had so I could have the emotional tools to be a good single mom to my young children. I wanted to be able to provide the best childhood I could to them and mine wasn’t exactly role model history. So I did my best and ripped open my scars baring them to these strangers. I learned to accept myself and love myself. Near the end of the weekend, we were divided into small groups and given an assignment for the next day. We were given a song and told to come up with a performance. The stress of a public display, to dance and screw up, to fail in front of everyone was terrifying. The feelings of insecurity and fear. Clammy hands wiped on thighs,  nerves strung tight, we were all on pins and needles.  Thankfully my group didn’t have to go first and we were part of the big circle watching the performance. It was then that I noticed and saw exactly what was wanted what was being done.

It wasn’t a dance or performance. The leaders wanted you to jump and move in such a way your adrenaline would pump through you. That the fear and insecurity would be overwhelmed by the physical motion. Then you immediately stop close your eyes and fall back into the arms waiting for you. Your bodies natural reaction to the adrenaline the rush of emotions, the immediate calm with all those hands holding touching you that you had bared your soul to cried with was an emotional break. Shaking crying and the high from the release. It was an addictive feeling. Like the high of a drug that envelopes you with warm lethargic joy, love, happiness. Yet this was legal, expensive but legal. For those that didn’t realize what it was, what gave them those awesome feelings that would become an addictive retreat.  then came the pitch for the next retreat at an even higher price! Thank you, dad, for teaching me what you did!!