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.

 

teen years, Uncategorized

Forgiveness or forgetfullness

Forgiveness is such a complicated word. The words meaning hard to define. It is difficult to find the right adjectives to explain.  The meaning and reasons never the same. For each of us, it differs.

Let’s go back a few years… I was 16 and working my first real ‘wordly’ job. I had already begun to accumulate furniture. Free couch from someone’s front porch. Dresser my mom let me have.  Mattress from burnt out boys group home. I was all proud I had a job at a local fast food restaurant. I was given the position of ‘closer’ with a 50 cent raise even though I was the youngest employee. I wasn’t invited to visit co-workers homes. Maybe because I was the same age as their daughters who played soccer and went to after-school tutors. But I was respected for my work ethic, my positive attitude.

I would call my mother every Friday night. Collect from the slight warmth of the closed phone booth. We would catch up on each other’s lives. Hers filled with toddlers, efforts to find healing from her grief, and of course church. Mine with teen emotions, work, my learning curve, and overall trouble adjusting to a life she didn’t warn me of.

On one particular call she mentioned that Mr. W was passing through town in a few weeks and would love to take me for dinner. The W’s were family friends as their children attended the high school *1 that the community had. Many families who heard of mothers loss and grief tried to support and sent their many prayers on her behalf.

I was rather excited to be going for dinner. Seeing someone who knew my past life. An escape from my dull life of work and sitting in my lonely barren basement suite. I put on my best new to me clothes. Walked the dozen-plus blocks to the designated restaurant. The only one I really knew of. It sat beside Mr. Mikes all you can eat salad bar. I splurged on paydays and gorged myself on the food.

Mr. W and I had a quick hello hug and went straight in to be seated as it was a chilly late fall evening. No sense spending any unneeded time getting a chill. The lights were the proper dimness of an evening restaurant. The music quiet in the background. He ordered a bottle of wine for us and appies while we perused the menu. It was still such a rare occurrence for me to be in a restaurant. I was careful to never order anything very expensive yet not the cheapest for I wanted to maintain an unobtrusive middle ground at all times.
The evening was quite nice. We chatted reminiscing of a time gone when had a family and knew life no different from the sheltered commune. He caught me up on how the children were doing. Young adults now really. Attending a Christian college down south. Back then it was a time of snail mail. I diligently wrote many letters. Few returned them. Some grand friends I have to this day did. I kept those letters carrying them with me from place to place for decades. Hugging the friendship and love to me that they meant.

The wine finished, table cleared, and bill paid. We made ready to take our leave. He offered to give me a ride home as it was now dark and snow had begun to fall. I gratefully agreed and hopped into the front passenger seat. Before I had time to latch my seatbelt W reached over to give me a hug. But it wasn’t just a hug. It came with hands groping and a wet tongue reaching towards my aghast open mouth. My quick ducking, flailing arms, and wiggles to evade advances thankfully were not fought physically. Verbally, of course, I was berated for enjoying a dinner without wanting to give a proper thank you. Fortunately and sadly I was becoming quite agile at these piggish men. Those are different stories. I walked home steaming mad at this end to what had been a great evening for me.

The next time I spoke with my mother I shared my shock my anger my betrayal of this man who was to be a safe person. This is when the worst blow hit. My mother’s response was, ‘Oh I forgot to mention that about him.’ She arranged this dinner. The time, the place, the man and HER daughter who was but a child teen still in need of guidance, of protection. She FORGOT to mention to me she was setting me up with a known pervert.

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This is where the problem with forgiveness lies. The version that was being used at that time by those people. It was a forgive and forget motto. Oh, you said a swear word pray then forgive and forget. You had an affair, you hurt that child, you went to jail for abuse, you starved your children, the list goes on. We will have the congregation pray for you. We will forgive and forget. Although we will try to remember to not leave our children unattended with you. We will try to warn others not to leave their children alone with you and maybe your offspring for who knows. That is the forgiveness I grew up with from 10 to 13 when I walked out. Now as an adult I don’t give a shit when being told ‘I’m sorry’. I care about actions.
I didn’t intend this post to be a rant, however, I recently read an article on forgiveness. I also had this memory pop into my thoughts. So I have jumped ahead a good few years in my reminiscing. However, writing from the heart is more important than chronological order right.

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I would love to hear your thoughts on forgiveness. For it is a powerful weapon wielded by the ‘victim’ that takes away power.

 

 

 

childhood, Uncategorized

Why did I bite the man

How come you bit him my parents asked. “Because he said I could,” was my simple answer. Earlier I had been sitting on the stairs coming up from the basement. I wasn’t allowed downstairs but I was halfway so technically I was obeying. The men lived in the basement once their cabin burnt down. We all ate meals together and worked together as a whole.  This man that I recall feeling close to yet had loathing for had come by me on the steps. Maybe I was waiting for him. Hard to know what my little five year old brain was thinking.  I have no recollection of asking him. The only memory I have is sinking my teeth into the soft flesh of his hand between his thumb and forefinger. Once my teeth clamped down I just wanted to keep biting harder and harder not letting go. A voice in my head said I couldn’t. It would hurt him I thought. I need to let go I thought. Yet my jaw was locked into the bite. I don’t recall him making a sound. I just clenched my jaw, sunk my teeth in trying to hard not to go too far. Not to bite too hard. My teeth marks were there to stay. Little teeth indentations in dark shades of purple. I don’t recall having any repercussions from that action. I suppose the fact that I had asked permission and he’d said yes was enough. As a youth I wondered what would have caused that want in me as a young child. Did he do bad things to me? I would never know.

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As a youth of the streets my mother would cry out for prayers for her wayward  daughter. Why was she gone, why did she deny the Lord, why was she a herion addict and drug user, as loose woman. Ironically I never touched herion, didn’t really do hard drugs, didn’t drink often and always choose to do it safely where some pervert couldn’t get me. My mother and the leaders of the school never once mentioned I had been denied return to the fold. Never admitted to the community I had come back begging to live with my mother to be one of them again. Promising to be a devote follower and never question them again.

So I wondered. Mother wondered. Others wondered what could have happened to me as child to cause me to turn my back on God, on life in the community, on my family. Who could have hurt me so. Was it the man that I bit, some other man who lived in our home. No one  not even me thought maybe it was being turned away from my own mother. Being sent away as an unwanted bothersome thing. No one thought what internal damage that trauma might cause my already aching heart.

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I will never know why I bit him. Maybe it doesn’t matter. I may never know why I did many of the things that I did. I now know that the biggest hurt of all even more than my father, was being turned away by my own mother and the community I was born into.

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childhood, Uncategorized

First scary memory

I took a self-help course and they wanted to know our first traumatizing event. What shaped us into who we are. I didn’t know what to say. My dad falling off a cliff, my mom passing away on Valentines for Pete’s sake, or maybe all those other painful moments. So I focused on the ‘first time’ of the sentence. The first time I knew fear, bone chilling, teeth chattering fear. It is also when I met my stubborn, embarrassed self. The one who has difficulty admitting the need for anything I can’t do myself.

I was maybe 5 or 6 years old. Fall had already begun. The cool chilly nights. Darkness enveloping the world by dinner time. On this particular day, a thunder and rain storm had begun to roll into the valley before we headed back up the mountain. A lightning bolt hit the mountain across the valley and started a fire. The hillside was bone dry from the hot summer. It burst into flames spreading as only fire can. My father and the other men in the car needed to go to investigate. Apparently, that could only be done by putting me in the hay barn alone in the dark to wait for their return. You can imagine how that went I am sure…

How many 6-year-olds do you know that can wait alone in the dark watching a forest fire spread. I became certain he wasn’t returning. The fire monster surely had eaten him and I needed to do the only logical thing. Walk to the nearest home to find an adult. No flashlight, headlamps weren’t even a thing yet. Barely a sliver of moonlight to guide my little feet along the lane towards the road I needed to cross to find the nearest residence. I passed various paths and lanes that led to empty homes or sheds. My eyes had adjusted enough to see the large shapes looming out of the darkness. I was terrified a cougar or other creature would jump out and eat me or worse.

As I was walking along with the fingers of fear wrapped around me I began to think. I had left the barn. I had expressly disobeyed an order from my father. That became scarier than being alone in the dark. As a child, you do not question your parents’ knowledge or authority. You blindly obey and follow with a deep love and devotion only a child feels for their parents. For our family is the center of your life. So here I was a disobedient child far from the barn, far from home and too scared to knock on the door. Scared to walk out of the darkness to the warm yellow light beckoning from the porch.

Standing in the shadows I can see my friends home. The light beckoning thru the darkness to me. Yet how could I explain why I was there. I couldn’t very well say I had disobeyed. I didn’t know what to do. I was too scared to walk back to the barn. Too embarrassed to knock on their door. So I turned away and began down their long long driveway. Cold, scared, unsure of myself, and now worried about facing my father. I had no idea now where to walk to. It was my first taste of insecurity, fear, and embarrassment. I was at a total loss as to what to do besides blindly keep walking in the darkness.

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Once I was back on the main road I began towards an elderly ladies home. She would know what to do. As I stumbled towards her lane a car pulled up. It was my father. He was so happy to have found me that the anger at my disobedience was overruled by his joy at finding me.

I now can understand his fear. The horrible feeling you have when you think you may have lost your child. Only a parent can understand the grip of despair, the band of agony, the ray of hope that it’s not too late. That your child is safe and you just have to get to them. That fear is much worse than the fear I had as a little girl. It just would take me 30 years to realize that.

childhood, Uncategorized

Gardening of my childhood

Gardening was a very big part of my childhood. We grew and bought enough food to keep us thru the winter. We had orchards, vineyard, and a huge garden the size of most suburban yards. We froze, canned, and dried fruits and vegetables in four digit numbers. Our dehydrator was the size of a refrigerator with sliding screens from top to bottom. We even made fruit leather. We had two deep freezes, large army containers filled with beans we had grown, and a cold room filled top to bottom with single and double quart mason jars. And don’t get me started on our canner. It was a huge square metal tub on legs in the yard. It had wooden wracks on the bottom to keep the glass jars from touch the bottom and shattering from the heat. We built a large fire beneath and kept it burning all day for weeks on end. Canner is pictured below behind the jars of pears fresh out and cooling from their session. Thousands of pounds of peaches, apricots, pears, tomatoes, and home made applesauce were processed each summer.2272_139595780496_3427_n

We planted beans, corn, broccoli, brussel sprouts, you name it we grew it. No sprays or pesticides were used. All natural methods only. One particularly gross therefore memorable thing mom used was cannibalism. Okay maybe an explanation would be enlightening. These weird worms were eating the brussel sprouts so mom took a few cups of them and blended them up with a few other ingredients. Then she poured them around each plant. Apparently the worms wouldn’t eat their own kind. That memory is burned into my brain. Every time I use a blender I think of it. It was until recently when I got a margarita maker that I began to have slightly happy feelings for a blender that didn’t remind me of worms!

The first picture I posted on here was of me barely 3 years old. I was holding giant potato that I had helped to plant that spring. I was so tiny that the way mom taught me was one two potato. You see my feet were so tiny I would take two toe to heel steps then drop a potato. Rows upon rows of them.

We grew giant fields of corn, delicious sweet juicy corn. On the way back up the mountain for lunch the others in the car would be husking them tossing the husks out the window as we drove. The pot of water would be boiling and ready for the husked cobs when we arrived.

My cousins came to visit once when I was about 10 or so. They had never scene a lifestyle like ours much less a garden. They had no idea that corn came from a plant in the field. I remember feeling quite sad for them to not know this. Running thru the rows of vegetable, sneaking a pea off the vine or a carrot from the earth and eating it to me was as important to my childhood as breathing air.

One taste I remember clearly once coming to the world is the taste of tin. Yes, I meant to say tin! I had never had processed or canned food from a grocery store really. The first time I tried peaches from a can I was so disappointed that I never bought them again. They didn’t taste sweet like a peach, they were hard almost with a crunch, after the sugary sweet of the glucose the tang of tin long remained on my tongue. When I had my children I canned peaches to use for baby food as I didn’t want to use the sickly sweet fruit and baby food available at the time.

childhood, Uncategorized

My first home

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The first home I lived in was up on the side of a mountain. About a mile up a curvy bumpy dirt road with a corner dubbed ‘suicide corner’. I remember my dad driving the volvo backwards up the hill the entire mile or two with people sitting on the hood and bumper to give traction when the roads were really bad.

The view I grew up with those first few years had a big part in shaping my love of nature. I will always remember the lush green valley with the river snaking thru it like a path to the world. Few house were visible as far as the eye could see. Even now decades later there are few houses or farms to be seen in that valley. Untouched beautiful nature.

I must have been almost 6 when the phone lines were installed. I sat and bounced waiting and watching as each telephone pole came closer and closer up the mountain side. Imagine my excitement to lift the receiver and put my chubby little finger in the dial turning it round back all the way to the number I needed. Hearing the sound as it turned round back to start ready for me to spin it to the next number. It was so exciting to be able to call my best friend the lived at the bottom of the mountain. Sometimes I would carefully lift the phone to see if someone else was on the party line.

Our house was a big three story cedar home with large windows over looking the valley.  Scorch marks burnt into the large beams from when a fire started from the wood furnace threatening to burn the house to the ground.   There was a great stone hearth to sit by with a roaring fire on the cool winter evenings. I have fond memories of playing at that hearth.  My mother would sit at the old singer sewing machine across the room from the fireplace. Her back to the room her gaze looking out at the valley. I wonder what her thoughts were as she would sit and sew with me laying at her feet.

childhood, Uncategorized

Losing your decisions

It’s funny. When you have to follow a routine; wake when your told, eat when your told, work, pray, read, free time when your told. When all of that is decided by ‘them’ there is no choice. On occasion I  was offered a choice and then had to do what they wanted me to do. When I asked why I had been offered a choice that wasn’t really there I was told I was to make the ‘right’  choice. My choice was only a figment, a tease, a mirage of options.

I asked many questions. I was a curious child. I  wanted to understand the world around me. The world that was created by them.That kept us in and separate from the evil. As a youngster I’m sure my questions were exhausting and annoying as any child’s are. The adults worked the fields, bakery, mill, and many other physical jobs required to keep the ‘self-supporting’ community running. I would ‘help’ and join in at the various jobs or sit and play with the odd coloured carrot or corn cob found.  As a pre pubescent teen my questions began to seem disrespectful and rebellious. At least that is what they said. I tend to think my questions began to be a concern for some.

If my father had lived I wonder if he too would have begun to question this blind following. This lifestyle he embraced and led others to join. The simple life that hid dangers, that wasn’t as simple as intended. Sometimes I wonder the things we would have had in common.

But I digress…

When you grow up with no real choices it can be overwhelming to have to make one. Much like walking into a market after spending time in a 3rd world country where they don’t have entire aisles devoted to different brands of the shampoo.

Choices can be scary. What if I make the wrong one. Which one should I make. When you never made any and then all of a sudden have to decide everything it can be daunting. Especially when there is no history no knowledge or experience of how to do so. It was  frightening to me as a teen all alone in the world. Those are different stories. Stories that may have been different had I been given choices. Taught how to make right and wrong decisions. For how can we learn without making wrong turns and learning from them.