Copy Kids—The Immorality of Individuality: Jessica’s Story, Part Three
I got older and middle school went by and it was time for high school. My freshmen year, I met a new set of friends. They were the goth kids and they were awesome. All fucked up, suicidal, death metal freaks, but they were still christians.
My parents hated these kids.
At one point in time, my mother accused them of turning me into a lesbian because I didn’t have boyfriends. Never mind that I was not allowed to date and every attempt had ended brutally at their hand. It didn’t matter these girls were straight. I was hanging out with these strange girls and they were making me a lesbian.
When that tactic didn’t work, my mother tried to convince me that they were witches. She even had our pastor come visit and lecture me on the “appearance of evil.” They appeared evil. This didn’t work either, I was prepared with verses to counter his. When that failed, my parents decided they were going to put me in a girls’ reform boarding school. They wouldn’t take me. I had bad grades, but I was good kid. I didn’t smoke, I didn’t do drugs, I didn’t drink, I didn’t skip school, I wasn’t having sex. With the exception of my grades, I was a perfect teenager. I never once got in trouble at school.
I did not misbehave until the stress broke me.
The stress of all the pressure and the attempts to separate me from my only friends and still regular beatings with a belt, drove me to self harm. At the age of 15 I started cutting myself. My mother’s tactic for dealing with this was to hypothetically lecture me on how stupid it was to cut yourself, but she never actually acknowledged that I was doing it.
I cut myself for 3 years without anyone ever trying to stop me.
I made a couple more normal friends as well in high school and my senior year, I started attending church with them. It was there, a senior in highschool at the age of 18 that I met my future husband, but I didn’t know it yet. Honestly, the first time I met him, I thought he was giant ass. We had an argument on tithing in youth group. He believed there were legitimate financial reasons for not tithing. I did not
A month later, the church held a camp out. I had to beg and plead at the age of 18 to be allowed to attend a camping trip where boys would be present. Never mind that all of the adults were going too — there would be boys!
On that trip, my mother’s worst nightmare came true. I met a boy. An older boy.
We had our first date, he took me to a movie. I had to be home at 9 pm. She told me that she wouldn’t stop me, but that it was very inappropriate that Brian hadn’t come to ask my father for permission to date me. Before I could see him again, after this date, he would have to come meet my parents. So the next Saturday, I had him over for lunch. I had to show that I could be a good house wife. So I had to top to bottom clean the house and cook the entire meal by myself from scratch.
This wasn’t because of Brian. He didn’t care.
My parents however, thought this was going to be a traditional Christian courtship and if I didn’t show off my womanly skills, he would find someone else. Lunch went fine, and my partly tattooed 20 year old boyfriend showed up. Begrudgingly, my parents gave their consent, mostly because I was 18.
Sunday, after church Brian and his family invited me to go play miniature golf. I called my parents to ask permission and they gave it, even though they didn’t sound like they liked the idea. I stayed all day, had a wonderful time and made sure I was home by 9 pm.
When I got home, all hell broke loose. My parents hadn’t told me, but they had wanted to go grocery shopping that evening, but they would not leave the house while I was gone with my boyfriend. I had a 5 minute screaming match at the front door because I was home on time and they never mentioned I needed to be home sooner.
Sobbing, I walked to my bedroom and opened the door.
My bed had flipped upside down.
All of the clothes from my dresser had been pulled out and thrown on the floor the clothes were ripped from my closet and lying on the floor. My beside table drawers had been ripped out and dumped. My room was in shambles.
I turned around, walked out of my room to the kitchen, got a drink of water and my mother came in. She pointed to a pile of clothes on the floor and said, “You need to put these away and clean that awful mess in your room.”
I snapped and started screaming at her at the top of my lungs. My room had been spotless, I wasn’t putting away a damn thing (it may have been the first time I had ever sworn) and she needed to fix what she had done to my room because she had no right.
Then I heard the door knob.
Dad was home, I didn’t know dad was home.
For some perspective. I was 5 ft tall and weighed maybe 120 lbs. My father had almost a foot and more than 100 lbs on me. My stomach sank and I started running for the front door. He caught me and slammed me into the fridge. I pushed him off me and started running the down the hall to my room. He caught me again. I slapped him to try to get him off me. He swung me around and started choking me.
My mother screamed.
He let me go and I locked myself in my room. He told me through the door that I was no longer allowed to leave the house unless it was for school. No church, no extracurriculars, nothing. Then he hid the phones and went to bed. I couldn’t call the police, I couldn’t leave because they had set the alarm and even if I could get out, we lived almost 8 miles out of town and it was cold. I sat on my bed holding my baseball bat all night waiting for my dad to come after me.
The next morning, after no sleep, I packed the $20 I had to my name and a couple changes of clothes into my backpack and got on the bus. I never went back home. I didn’t know it yet, but it was the first day of the rest of my life. It was only going to get better from here.
After school, my youth pastor picked me up and drove me to a battered woman’s shelter. The next day, the police tried to get my parents to release me the rest of my clothing. They refused and I declined to press charges. Between the church, my boyfriend and the shelter, they replaced everything I owned. I had never had new clothes before. All of my clothes came from goodwill and the dav. They looked awful, they were torn, and I only had two pairs of jeans and a couple shirts anyway. I ended up better off in that respect.
I endured several months of harassment. My parents tried to find the shelter I was staying at. Also had one very failed attempt at family counseling.
I ended up staying at my youth pastor’s house and dropping out of high school. I couldn’t maintain a full time job, school, and my church duties — and, for the first time, a social life. About a year later, Brian and I married. Now, almost 10 years later, my husband and I are happy, non-believing parents to three beautiful children.
Over the years, I have tried a couple times to form a relationship with my parents. However, it never worked out and I eventually ended up cutting them out of my life entirely. I am happy, healthy, and I have the family I never thought I could have.
My children are thriving in public school and the difference between them and myself at their age sometimes hits me like a brick wall. They are happy, they aren’t afraid me or my husband and they love it when daddy is home. They have friends and all three are such different people with distinct personalities. The monster in the closet isn’t a demon coming to possess or kill them. And when they do get scared, they come running to mommy instead of freezing in fear unable to move.
They are loved and can be themselves.
I think that is all any child ever really needs.
End of series.