Childhood memory. Dichotomy.

Anna Simpson

June 28, 2024

Childhood memory. Dichotomy.

    I had a happy childhood. Or did I? In between feelings of embarrassment, shame and wanting to hide because I was different or, perhaps, not good enough, I guess yeah, I was happy… The external conditions I grew up in were devastating… But there was always unconditional love from my parents. 

    Our family was different (every family always is), but I was ashamed of our differences. Mom was a devout christian (on the border on insanity, in my view). She tried to bring us up in a god’s way. It is a noble intention, at the first glance. Until it wasn’t…

    Everything the world was doing was sin. Wearing jeans was a sin (not that we had money to buy any). Using a nail polish was a sin, so was wearing any makeup or wearing hair loose (as any girl I found those things appealing, but the threat of eternal burning in a fire pit would always overrule my vanity desires). Watching TV was a sin (way too many devil’s temptations there). For the first 12 years of my life we didn’t have TV (it was too expensive for our budget). But when dad decided to get a small black and white TV set, we were not allowed to watch any movies or shows. At school, I felt excluded from conversations about the shows or movies popular at the time.

    Whenever there were some school festivities, which involved signing or dancing, it was frowned upon as if it was some sort of devil-worshipping. Again, I felt different and excluded.

    My sister and I were strongly encouraged to wear head scarfs. Not for warmth. Simply because, it was a sign for god to spot his flock who have accepted Jesus in their hearts. I wasn’t quite sure how god would spot his men as they were not required to wear scarfs. 

    Mom always emphasised the importance to accept Jesus in our heart and seek salvation before the end of days. The end of days was imminent. However, once you accept Jesus, you will never have any need for any earthly pleasures… which always lead to sin.

    I couldn’t quite figure out why almost all people in mom’s church always looked so depressed. They all seemed to accepted god’s way, which allegedly was all about love, joy, gratitude, positive energy. Yet, I didn’t see or feel any of that. Those people never smiled or rejoiced in life. Maybe, they hadn’t prayed for forgiveness of all of their sins and the threat of hell was real. 

    For some reason, god’s way never made sense to me.

    Mom never made sense to me. 

    She was kind and loving but could be verbally demeaning. 

    She had very little education. 

    She never had her own opinion about things. It was always what so-and-so said (given they were devout followers of Christ). 

    I love my mom. But we never got along. 

    We never understood each other. 

    I know she wanted the best for her children. But she never realised how toxic her values, views and methods were.

    This is not me being critical of christian faith. It was simply my story. In my experience, when you mix ignorance and religious fanaticism, you get a toxic blend. 

    I grew up questioning everything. 

    I never take things at a face value. 

    I look for a meaning that makes sense to me. 

    I don’t like blindly following the masses. 

    I choose my own path. Always have.

    Dare I say, it took me places. Literally, around the world. 

    What is the widely accepted view that doesn’t sit well with you?

    P.S. This is part of self-revealing stories in the AIM (Authentic Impact Maker) series. I believe we can transform the world around us if we dare to share our authentic stories to create better connection with people.

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