Unlearning Restrictions

The first quarter of 2021 is almost over. My article from two years ago was featured again on the front page of Huffington Post this month, and more people joined Patreon to show their support – thank you all so much. I’ve received many encouraging notes and comments since I opened this month on a low note, discouraged and wondering what my purpose is. I’m still clarifying for myself what exactly this blog is about. I’m still in the process of structuring and drafting my memoir. Your patience and understanding with my need for time to do my work astounds me. Your willingness to join me on my journey of discovering the world is amazing to me.

At this point in my life, I am learning every day about how much I missed growing up. I’m tracking habits on my phone, and I get to work on art or writing every other day or so. I’m slowly bringing yoga and meditation into my daily activities again. I’m the only person in the apartment who’s capable of handling the housework and cooking. The people I live with are very supportive, though, and I’ve been learning how to adjust my expectations and not demand constant work from myself. This means I’m finally relaxed enough to learn how to play a few simple video games, something I’ve struggled with for years. Since the move, I’ve been practicing playing music on a game, and my accuracy and timing has improved with practice.

It may seem simple, but this is revolutionary to me. Practice was inconsistent for me growing up, so I never learned how to trust the process of taking the time to learn how to do something. I was expected to perform well and there was immense disappointment when I didn’t, but I received little instruction as to how to avoid failing. As a result, for the past several years since I’ve been out of my parents’ house, the smallest challenge feels overwhelming emotionally, and can leave me in tears of frustration. It feels childish, because it is a demonstration of a lack of development.

With each day that passes, I am learning dozens of new things. I’ve started over with learning grammar on Khan academy, and this month I learned the difference between common and proper nouns. It clicked immediately and it was easy to pass the quiz afterward, but I wouldn’t have known the purpose of certain capitalizations beforehand. Not only do I have limited knowledge, but my ability to gauge what qualifies as common knowledge is unreliable as well. I don’t know whether most people know what I’m just learning or not.

My education was entirely based on what two people wanted their children to believe about the world. That meant anything that wasn’t approved got filtered out – we didn’t watch many nature documentaries because they reference evolution too often. I once toured a museum with a group of other homeschooled kids, and instead of taking an official museum-provided tour, a man who called himself a “creation scientist” pointed out every display referring to evolution and declared it a lie.

I learned to self-censor information based on the worldview I was taught. I wholeheartedly thought that the outside world hated conservative Christians and wanted to either force us to give up our faith or kill us trying. It is shocking to realize that historically, the opposite has been true: conservative Christians have threatened and killed others for not joining in their religious views and practices.

There is much more to say about all this, and I will continue when I can. For now…I’m processing and learning a great deal. I appreciate you all for sending your support and kindness.