Thursday, February 11, 2010

My deconversion story Pt 4 - It finally starts getting better...

I know my story sounds pretty awful. I’m sorry about that, but there’s not a lot one can do with the truth.

On the plus side, for the next seven years nothing bad really happened. In high school I was given my own room, where most of the girls slept 2-4 to a room, because it quickly became clear that I was too damaged, and knew far too much about human sexuality to be exposed to the other girls in so private a setting. If nothing else, by then I was a chronic insomniac, and afraid of the dark, which can be tough on a roommate. And thanks to my looks when any special guest came to campus, I was usually given some reason or other to be in my room, or in one of the private study rooms on campus. Basically I was hidden away because they were embarrassed by the freak. But at the same time, I made a number of very close friends, whom I’ve kept over the years, and received an excellent education. By the time I graduated high school, while I might have still felt like a freak, I was a freak who could do whatever she set her mind to doing.

I wanted to go to UC Berkley, or preferably the all-female Mills College in Oakland, where I wouldn’t have to deal with men before I was ready, but that would have meant living in the dorm. Mother wanted me to go somewhere where she could rent a condo, a place she could escape when J’s affairs became too embarrassing, on the excuse of visiting her daughter. So I ended up at another school, not nearly as good, where the only way to study biochemistry at the same level was to join an industry-oriented program. The program was mostly male, and unless the women in the program were sleeping with *someone*, they were harassed until they left. Since I was a freak who was still not comfortable with boys I was destined to be pushed out, until I met my friend S. S was a retired cop, who had gone back to school for his degree after being injured in the line of duty. He lived in the same building I did, and so it was easy for us to pretend to be sleeping together. It hid the fact that I was not ready to deal with sex, and that he was gay. Even this wasn’t all that bad, because by comparison to my friends who had gone to places like Berkley, Stanford, and MIT, I was able to log much more lab time in my smaller program, and I ended up with much more practical experience. In the end, they envied me as much as I envied them.

It was hard won experience. Back in high school I started getting shooting pains in my back and legs every time I had to climb the hill to the dorms, or go up more than one flight of stairs, or spent too much time standing. In college it grew steadily worse, until I was having trouble completing a full lab period, or even walking across campus. I went to the campus clinic and was told I just needed to lose weight, that my hormones weren’t all that bad, and neither was the pain, that it was all in my head. From that I took away that I was not only a freak, I must be a lazy freak as well. I worked part time, took 18 units a semester, worked 4 hours a day in the hot sun in the outdoor lab, rode 6-10 miles a day on my bike, and still weighed close to 300 pounds. And somehow this was all my fault, because nothing was really wrong with me. It was, after all, just some hormones.

During this time I can’t say I thought much about religion at all. I spent some time thinking I was still Catholic, and some time studying my father’s Pagan faith. But nothing ever held all the answers. Mostly, I was hoping to develop a personal relationship with something, some great deity that would accept me, and love me, even though I was some queer freak. But I never did. It was clear to me, I was on my own.

But it was also clear to me, after fighting through the pain, and accomplishing what I could, that I could do it on my own.

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