“Reader, where’s your back there? Where did you start from? Who “knew you when”? How far away – in mile, in time, in emotional space – are you now from back there? I changed when I left Dellwood and went to college. What first changed you? Do you ever go back there? How do the people there react to you now? When you “came out” as a pagan, what did they say back there?
If your back there and your home here and now are as divergent as mine are, how do we reconcile the differences and still keep the love of our families? Think about your family today. In what ways are you still their baby? In what are you an autonomous adult? What part of back there will you always carry with you, no matter where you go?”
I’m not sure I wanted to get into the heavy topic of my “back there” so soon with my readers, but here goes.
My back there was not a good place at all. At least for me. I grew up in a very small, sparsely populated village in the back woods of Ohio. It was overly conservative and overly Catholic. I was ostracized and ridiculed since fifth grade and it lasted until I left for college in 2006. I was labeled as a “Devil Worshiping Bitch” when I tried to share my faith after I left the Church in middle school. I suffered through extreme depression and anxiety. I broke down in my senior year and turned to cutting to just get through the last of my experiences. I have not gone back for my fifth year anniversary and I will not be going to my tenth. I speak to one person I graduated with, and rarely see anyone else who is not family. Because of my experiences, I find it incredibly hard to spend more than a few days in my parents’ home due to memories.
I do not know how the people there react to me anymore. I don’t speak to anyone. I refuse to move back, and it would take a cataclysmic life event for me to entertain the idea of moving back in with my parents.
That being said, I do love my family. I enjoy spending time with them, and they are there for me when I need them. They, as Catholics, may not necessarily agree with my religious perceptions, but they are never antagonistic about it, or mean. My mother is actually incredibly supportive right now as we try to figure out if I tumor growing in my head. I think in that way, I will always be my mother’s baby. I am always the child (older brother, younger sister) who worried her the most. First because of the bullying, then the depression, and now the possible tumor thing.
So my community sucked in a major way, and I will always bear the scars I accumulated there, but my family was and still is a major support in my life.