Few people know my late paternal grandfather was a preacher, even fewer knowing he ran his own church. Many people, especially those who’ve read my blog awhile, know I was abused and brainwashed while in the custody of my mom and her husband. Add these two factors together, and you get a kid who grew up sheltered from reality. I only stopped living in fantasy land a couple years ago, when I began to think for myself and stopped seeing life through filtered goggles.
I consider myself a nondenominational Christian because I didn’t grow up going to one specific church denomination—I went to many, in turn gathering a wide perspective about religion and faith and all that jazz. I have experienced spiritual abuse in the name of religion, which I won’t get into, so that being an additional factor leads me to be intolerant of manipulation, especially through means of shelter.
I loathe secrets. I loathe keeping something from someone in the name of “protecting” them, as if it’s possible to live in reality while pretending things they disagree with don’t exist—such as homosexuality, more than two distinct genders, hot-button political issues (e.g. white supremacy), the supernatural, global warming, science, etc.
I’ve never been a fan of genre snobs, especially those against reading science fiction because the reasoning never makes any sense. Each genre covers a multitude of stories, all of which crossover to other genres and hold lessons and epiphanies that would be missed if people only stuck to a few of them. My family would likely prefer I stick to reading Christian fiction alone, never once dabbling in anything science fiction or dystopian, because those things are not supposed to exist, or they’re not allowed to exist, or I’m not supposed to believe they could, or anything containing any bit of “science” is simply “bad” and something to deny.
Given the diversity of my education and life experiences up until now, I cannot choose to live in a life stuck in ignorance of these things existing and/or my own denial.
We had a garage sale, and there were books my grandmother was going to sell, but ultimately took back into the house because they had profanity and “bad scenes”, which I surmise equaled the implication of sex, even if they faded to black—to toss rather than selling. It got me to thinking more about banned books, which I’ve become more aware of since September, and how the reasons for banning/challenging the books in the first place teeter on the edge of censorship, at the very least.
It also got me thinking about banned/challenged books in another way, i.e. someone thinking a book should not exist/be available to anyone else because of personal opinions. Being a Christian myself, I’m not an outsider criticizing this logic. I’ll never understand the need to monopolize everyone’s thoughts, to create clones out of everyone and/or to exclude diversity in storytelling by way of policing how everyone else should feel about things.
This is where I come from—a collection of people who think it’s acceptable to police someone else’s behaviors and that anyone who disagrees is part of “the problem with the world”. They dislike anything that makes them feel personally uncomfortable, but they’ve the right to do anything to make you feel uncomfortable. It’s acceptable to judge or assume things about you through their goggles, but not okay for you to judge or assume anything about them. You’re just supposed to accept it and not get angry.
Ironically, diversity in stories consumed helps individuals distinguish reality from fantasy, in addition to creating more empathy. It defeats prejudice.
Perhaps that’s the difference between them and me.
The more stories I read, the more I learn and think critically.
The more I do that, the more I realize the lies, manipulation and attempts to control.
And the more I’m disappointed, though free at the same time.
It’s because I read (and watch) whatever I can handle (without negatively affecting my mental health) that I am who I am today.
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I am so sorry about the mistreatment you went through when you were younger 🙁 I am also a non-denominational Christian and completely agree. My parents were thankfully very open about me reading everything. They mostly tried to shelter me a little bit as parents should have the right to, when it came to sex and explicit scenes in books because I read way above my age audience (adult fiction at 12 :P) (but they also failed because I sneak read books because I was a rebel) and they weren’t keen on us reading Harry Potter but they had no reasoning for that. They just set that rule and then we read it when we moved out. It’s not even magic or witchcraft because we could read other books like that xD But yes, I totally agree that we shouldn’t censor or ban reading of any kind!
Yeah, when I consider how members of my paternal family are raised, I realize I was raised around diversity. I spent most of my grade school years in schools wherein whites were the minority, or people were just people, or where if you were Native American you were a “savage”, whereas it seems…my paternal family had none of that. They grew up popular, privileged, etc. Diversity was a big thing for me growing up; in sixth grade, this popular girl I’d a crush on was pregnant. And I was around single parents, and ah…a lot has been demystified for me.
I read Lois Duncan’s mysteries in eighth grade, which implied sex, plus I watched ALL Degrassi episodes.
Ah…I feel like I’m rambling, but you just reminded me about so much more I could have included in the post/other things I thought about in relation to this. 😅 But it’s because of the fictional media and real-life diversity I was exposed to that I developed a type of empathy I don’t see in people who raise their children as if the world is something to be feared because of what is unknown.
Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction
I agree with you completely. I’m also a Christian, but I feel that reading about people’s whose perspectives are different than mine can only make me a better, more tolerant person.
Yes! This is what I try to explain, but it never seems to get across to the Christian members of my family who shun books that make them uncomfortable/feel challenged/attacked etc. They get upset at books like The Hate U Give because “everything just has to be so political these days” and it doesn’t build them up. I like books that do that, though, because it helps me grow as a person.