Family photo 2013

Family photo 2013

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

On Not Fitting in and the Darker Sides of the Force.

It's a weird thing not to fit in anywhere. 

Too liberal for the conservatives. Too conservative for the liberals. Too doubting for the Christians. Too believing for the Atheists. Too right for the left. Too left for the right. Too home educator for the public schoolers. Too charter schooled for the home educators.  Too skeptical for the inter country adopters. Too snarky to be sweet. Too sentimental to be salty. Too many questions for satisfaction. Anywhere. 

I've long felt that way - on the fringe of it all. Mostly outside, looking into places I don't really, fully belong or embrace. I'm just no longer one of those people who can completely buy in, all the way commit, pay my membership dues and proudly carry an I.D. card, proof of my undying devotion and affiliation. To anything.   

I don't know if it's good or bad. It can definitely be lonely. Where are MY people? You know, the ones in My Club. Where we drink beverages together and talk about All The Things and we actually, like, agree. Hello? Are you there? Peeps? Anyone?

Recently, I've discovered the dark, (what I thought was secret) underbelly in the homeschooling community, of which I am a part. But apparently lots of people knew about it. 

There are a whole host of first generation born and bred homeschooled kids who are now grown and speaking out against the child rearing of their youth. 

They talk about the abuse they suffered at the hands of their parents, the ultra religiously conservative fundamentalist Christian faith of their families, the way they were taught to fear the outside "secular" world, the environment of complete control in which they were raised, the respect they were required to maintain for authority, even when their authority figures repeatedly ill treated them, their lack of identity because they were never allowed a voice of their own, distinct from their dads and moms, the damaging effects of a household steeped in the absolute power of patriarchy, the happy faces they were forced to paste on so they might show themselves a living epistle for all to see, God raises children this way.


It's the complaints of the daughters of the local family I mentioned earlier, the complaints of hundreds, maybe thousands like them, who tell tales of deep love and devotion from their parents, misapplied. Parents who openly, publicly promote their lifestyle as a higher, more noble way to live and vigorously encourage others to do as they have done, to follow where God has led them because if you're truly surrendering your life and your parenting and your fertility to Him, He will lead you there also. 

It's the lifestyle that has inspired me deeply over the years with its passionately convicted couples who are willing to live far outside the box of normality for a counter cultural existence they wholeheartedly believe is pleasing to God. 

It's the lifestyle that has, when taken too far to an extreme, led to the deaths of innocent children whose parents bought heavily into the To Train up a Child ideology. 

It's the lifestyle that has produced many young adults who have grown to follow the convictions of their parents for themselves.

It's the lifestyle that has produced many young adults who have grown to see the treatment of their parents as abusive and inordinately controlling. 

It's like finding out that golden couple you spent hours envying for their sprawling, tidy homes, cars still shiny though they transport a load of children to various sporting events where each one of their offspring is awarded MVP, annual Disneyland vacations, robust 401 K plans, Facebook selfies from the beach in the summer and from the slopes of Aspen resorts in winter, and Barbie and Ken bodies because-we-only-eat-Paleo-and-drink-wine-from-sexy-glasses is getting a divorce. A DIVORCE!And their kids don't even like sports and dad has been getting it on on the sly with the super hot dental hygienist 20 years his junior and mom is addicted to Splenda packets and even Mickey Mouse himself denied them a pair of ears the last time they graced Walt's magical kingdom. 

It shakes the ground beneath you causing you to wonder if every single thing you've ever known to be Real and True is, in fact, a dastardly, deceitful lie devised to con the whole of humankind by Lucifer's slithery little serpent. 

Attention All The People: We've been duped. 

At some point, at some time, by someone. 

It feels kind of like the awakening I felt when I entered Ethiopian adoption territory and found the ethics involved in our adoption far below what I would expect of a Christian organization. Punched in the gut. Plagued ever since. 

There was this whole other portion, what I felt was mostly unseen, (unnoticed?) unwilling to be peered into and pried open for fear of living entire lives with the complicated, unanswered ethical questions that would inevitably be raised.   

What am I aligning myself with, participating in, consenting to, lauding as noble and godly and worthy of emulating?     

It's something I ask myself often anymore, as my hand dips into several chosen realms, none of which I care to be all the way part of, though I recognize bits of myself firmly rooted in each. I guess it's part of growing wiser to the ways of the world and realizing nothing is as pure as it seems from the outside looking in. There are always, always dark spots better hidden from the light of day.

It's rather sobering. 

I just don't want my life to be like that. 

I'm working to be "what you see is what you get." For reals. All the way. 

Not necessarily easy, but definitely liberating. 

Anyone with me in living honestly, flaws and foibles and imperfections hanging out all over the blessed place? I will be your people. 


Erin Leavitt said...

Well, Tisha, I get it. But it works for me because I have no interest in joining any groups. My friends and I find our differences in beliefs fascinating. I think you are so very interesting and "real" for thinking the way you do.

Courtney Cassada said...

I'M YOUR PEOPLE!! we might not agree on everything (cause we are 2 different people) but i LOVE you no matter what. not just the things that we agree on. not just the things that are "normal". not just the "good stuff". i love it ALL. and that makes me your people.

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