“Your Average Childhood”

  I don’t believe social media is a safe place to tell one’s life story. While I do enjoy providing readers with a glimpse into daily life, I’m careful about what I divulge.  

  Earlier this year, the Heavens challenged me (through a service I got with my mentor and life coach, Alura Cein) to do a different kind of writing project. They gave me a choice between two prompts. I went with the first, which became “Lady of Attica”.

  The second was to write a short story about my spiritual journey so far. I felt the subject matter wasn’t a good fit for a short story, and I’ve always been very protective of that information.

  Now we’re heading into fall. After reviewing the changes I’ve made over the past year, I decided to pick up the old Heavenly Homework again and do the second writing prompt. My reason is two-fold.

  Firstly, I now feel more comfortable discussing other aspects of my journey. Things I have mentioned within the private online group and on Alura’ Wix app have drawn interest from a few people. That encouraged me to think there may be some who’d benefit from my being a little more upfront about my path.

  Secondly, I have learned enough about spirit over time to know there’s a possibility that this part of the challenge may come up again in the future if I don’t face it now. There’s also the chance I will miss out on some important lessons, experiences, and connections if I don’t try.

  So, here is my extremely abbreviated story. I have edited it heavily – both for length and because some content may sound ridiculous or disturbing to certain readers. Understand I’m not trying to impose my personal beliefs on anyone, as I certainly don’t want anyone imposing theirs on me. This is simply an overview of a few events that have helped shape who I am today. More observant and intuitive readers might notice where some of my literary themes come from, especially those showcased in my poetry.

  As far as early life goes, I would say I had far more of a childhood than children do these days – partially because we didn’t have the technology that’s promoted now and partially because my mother made sure I got a real childhood. Therefore, sometimes her parenting style raised a few eyebrows.

  I was not allowed to read fairytales or watch Disney movies until I was older. When I did see the films, my selection was limited to Snow White and, a little later, Sleeping Beauty. And we didn’t just watch them; we analyzed them. My mother would sit with me and discuss the themes and what she felt the various characters represented so I would see these weren’t just stories but tales that had a moral foundation.

  She’d had some experiences before and after birthing me that influenced what I was exposed to and what influences were limited or banned. She had a very uncomfortable feeling about the amount of fantasy that was aimed at children and was concerned that they wouldn’t grow up with a good sense of reality versus fiction.

  Analysis certainly made the movies more interesting, but I had little interest in television. My first love was books, having been read to from birth onward. When my mother told me that I’d be able to read to her one day, it was the biggest revelation of my life. I didn’t truly believe her until later when I began to master the alphabet.

  When I found what I liked, I imitated it. Becoming bored with the small book collection I had, I began writing my own and have done so ever since. When Mom got interested in the classic mystery genre (namely Agatha Christie), I followed suit even though I was still too young for most of the content. This was back in the days of the original intro to PBS Mystery. That and Masterpiece Theater were the two main programs that played in our house. David Suchet was staring as Hercule Poirot. Partners In Crime aired with Francesca Annis as Tuppence Beresford, and the Disney Channel did not have a single commercial.

  The only thing I watched on Disney was the Canadian TV show Road to Avonlea, which was simply titled Avonlea in America. It gave me a love of the Victorian era – and history in general -and fueled a strong desire to learn the self-sufficient skills I saw the actors pretending to use long before such things became trendy.

  We collected leaves and pinecones in the fall, made wreaths, and did various crafts. Since I spent my whole life as a true homeschool student, I had the freedom to excel in any area I wanted and learn at any speed I wanted. I enjoyed geography, English, poetry, and literature, and spent more time on Bible studies than any of the other children I knew – including ones who regularly attended church, which we sometimes did not – simply because I enjoyed it and wanted to learn more.

  These were the days when homeschooling was a very controversial issue, and legal action was sometimes taken against parents who didn’t trust the government-controlled educational system and refused to use the approved curriculum. The laws were also a big reason we stayed in the same state until I came of age. (And if you think anything has changed in the world of education, you’re very much mistaken.)