Wednesday, November 19, 2014

The leather sole; identity

Love love love!
 I was raised in the thick of farmland, had animals could ride horses and once rode a cow. I was by all definition a country girl, I owned the boots to prove it. 

    A love and appreciation for animals and agriculture was instilled in me from an early age. But I also had a love of fashion ( Haute couture), and  I was a miniature Martha Stewart following in the steps of Other Parents Sibling (who I am going to dub for the sake of this blog; the Black Butler). Aside from my taking after the Black Butler, Vaarsuvius was dumbfounded as to where I came from. They had a hard time connecting with me on many things outside of agriculture based activities. Other Parent was actually the one who often tried a little harder to get involved with my interests. The country lifestyle was really Vaarsuvius dream, and Other Child was the one who most followed in their footsteps. 

     Being raised on a farm, in a agriculture community I could say in truth I was a country girl. But I think environment aside Vaarsuvius passion for agriculture, animals and a country lifestyle did dictate on some level that it also be my passion and part of my identity. When this is the main way in which one is able to communicate and be in a relationship with their parent you try and fit in as best as possible. We all have different facets of ourselves that we use to navigate our worlds. Some examples would be; Parent, Teacher, Professional/Career, Family, Social etc. So it makes sense to develop a facet to engage with ones family and their primary interests. Another dimension to this is if you are not just engaging with the family, but surviving it. Both of these things were true in my case, and the Country girl facet that developed was one of several that I would use to navigate my family and life. I wanted to do things with them because I wanted to be loved and accepted, but at the same time I didn't always have a choice about it and was pushed, shoved and drug along for the ride. I needed ways to survive those experiences, and so this facet or split piece of self developed and became good at navigating the game of being a country girl and good family girl. 

     What may have begun as a learned appreciate for agriculture and animals developed into a survival mechanism. It is a disassociation mechanism. I do not black out and become someone else, for me its just like putting on a pair of cowboy boots and going into a country girl "mode of being". It is not much different from someone putting on their career face when they step into an office. The difference is this is not naturally developed trait.  To make things confusing for me I had all these other interests, all the fashion and cooking seemed to have an air of "girly girl" to it. This was deemed to not fit with being a country girl. Also to be divided and not have a focused identity was not understood at all. I didn't understand it! Also it gave Vaarsuvius and Other Child an excuse to belittle me, and exclude me.  I felt like Alice in wonderland trying to get to her true size because nothing seemed to fit, and I could not fit in.

      Underneath what I call my Cowgirl and Princess personality modes, were other split pieces of self. These broke off when their seemed to be a task that needed to be done in order to survive. Some were focused on surviving family relationships, others enduring the abuse. I think I have narrowed it down to about ten pieces or "modes" that I operate from. If you met me you would likely not be able to tell that this is a daily experience for me, in fact those that do know me well cannot tell.

      Despite being raised to be a good little Christian, Republican country girl I turned out to be a  feminist (ha ha parents the joke is on you!) a political progressive, and spiritually undecided woman. I still listen to my very nostalgic collection of country music, love rolling hills, animals and have a unique appreciation for farm equipment. I love, love the smell of alfalfa hay and when they do first cuttings in the local fields where I live. I don't think the country girl in me has died, the one who started out loving those things not the one who was pushed, forced, and drug along. However I have had to make room for massive personal growth. I have had to allow for more than one way to identify and find self value. I was a country girl and that will always be a piece of me, even though I am far from home now and have left behind all of my family and relations. I came forward with my experiences and memories of childhood sexual abuse and they did not believe me. So I left them behind to take care of myself, go forward with my healing, and to show them just what little country girls are made of.

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