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What It Costs To Be Different

Updated on June 4, 2010

When I was growing up, America was very prosperous. We lived in rural area, dotted with successful dairy farms that were well-kept and orderly. I went to a central school; all the grades from kindergarten through high school were all in the same building.

Everyone else seemed very rich to me; we lived very poor. My dad, though he worked hard and was generally speaking successful, was a miser of sorts. He saved everything for his retirement. So I grew up very much poorer than the rest of my class.

I was set apart from my peer group also, because of the obscure religion my parents practiced, and compelled their children to practice. My parents belonged to a fundamentalist sect called the Church of the Pilgrim Fathers. It is a harsh, joyless religion. No dancing, no cards, no movies. Mortify the flesh to exalt the spirit. We couldn't have a Christmas tree--that was idolatry.

I really suffered at school, from being so "different". I think the worst thing was the clothes, that's what really put me outside the fence with my peers.

Girls couldn't wear blue jeans, according to my parents' religion. Girls had to wear dresses: only boys wore pants. So, while everyone else was clad fashionably in blue jeans and bell bottoms, I wore long, dowdy dresses that were hand-me-downs, goodwill clothes, or factory seconds. Mini skirts and go-go boots (like everyone else had) were out of the question! Prostitute clothes on sixth grade girls! Shameful! An abomination to the Lord! Sometimes my sister and I would roll our skirts up at the waist to make them shorter after we got on the school bus.

It didn't matter. I still looked awful. I was wearing "grandmother clothes" that didn't fit and were definitely the opposite of "cool".

I definitely walked to a different drummer.

I did have a couple of friends in the neighborhood, though. I had a rusty old monster of a bicycle that was handed down to me from my oldest brother Jerry. I loved that thing. I'd ride for miles and miles, the creaky old bike underneath me and the blue sky above. I'd visit my friends, who were outcasts, too, but for different reasons.

One of my friends was a foster child. This set her apart in ways that weren't fair. Remember, this is a small, closed, rural community. I don't think she would have been an outcast in a more cosmopolitan system.

Another of my friends was the daughter of a dairy farm laborer. He just worked on one of the big dairy farms around where we grew up. He didn't own any land....ergo, you guessed it, his daughter was "different", not accepted. I don't think she would have been outside the fence in a more cosmopolitan community either.

We formed our own small clique of outcasts. We rode the school bus together; we survived gym class together; we sat together in the cafeteria. The only thing we really had in common was being outsiders, but it was enough. Three was better than one. We could trade stories of our home lives. We could tell the truth to each other and be ourselves. It was ok.

I liked school anyway, even though I sometimes got picked on unmercifully and all the time felt shut out. I was good at school; I read a lot; I got good grades, and that made me feel successful. Sometimes the teachers were so kind to me it'd move me to tears. I wasn't much used to kindness.

My classmates rejected me for all kinds of reasons during grade school: not only my clothes, but everything else about me seemed to bug my classmates. I had my nose in a book all the time. I knew all the answers in class. (Believe me, that can make you a very hated person--no one likes a know-it-all, and I'm afraid I was one.) I looked so differently and dressed so differently and badly that it isn't a surprise I was shunned and harassed. I was definitely not "in"; not "cool".

We had a dysfunctional household. Dad beat us unmercifully at the smallest infraction. Part of mortifying the flesh, I suppose. He could rationalize anything he did as right. The rest of the world was wrong. He broke the stick on me one Sunday, for laughing on Sunday. I didn't even know that was against the rules until he got angry and started beating on me with a cane.

People knew.

Mom tried to cover for him, but people knew. Dad discouraged any socializing; we always visited our friends at their houses, they never came to ours. No one was encouraged to visit us. But people knew, anyway. It was a small community and word got around.

People knew, and generally speaking, they shunned us. We were too "different". It was an unpleasant situation that made people uncomfortable. It was also a situation where people didn't feel entitled to interfere or do anything about it. Family matters are delicate issues. And, you know, people have their own problems and concerns; they have their own families to raise and take care of . So, if the community turned a blind eye to what was happening and just stayed away, I can understand it.

If my peer group at school was quite cruel in their ways of showing me I was an outcast, I can understand that too. They didn't know what it was like. They were brought up in a much more conventional manner. And it made them just as uncomfortable with us as their parents were.

I still liked school. I had my friends--our tiny little group of three expanded to five or six people by the time I reached 6th grade. I absorbed information like a sponge. Being an outcast made me a better student. I felt safe from Dad at school, too, and I can tell you, that was a big digit on the plus side for school.

As time went on, the harassment seemed to die down. Maybe I lost a little of the know-it-all thing. Maybe we all just got used to each other. Maybe we were slowly becoming more civilized as we grew up. Gym class was still torture but the snide comments seemed to abate and no one pulled my hair anymore. It wasn't so bad.

Until the 8th grade. I made a new friend. His name was Pete. He was new in school; he had a great voice and was a good singer; he was really a nice guy--very open, very friendly. He was one of the very few people (at the time) that could make me laugh. He was a lot cooler person than me, and he liked me anyway. He was friends with me anyway. I was so glad to have him for a friend and so flattered by his friendship! We weren't boyfriend and girlfriend. We were just friends.

I was oblivious to what was going on behind my back, until one day I walked into school and looked at my locker and saw "Nigger Lover" spray painted on my locker in black spray paint. i got pushed around in the hall, that same day, by five big jocks. They dumped my books from my arms and shoved me back and forth, making threats, pushing me back and forth between them like a rag doll.

It just never occurred to me before then that we'd get harassed because Pete was black and I was white. It seemed to make so little difference as a person. Pete made some friends of his own, and was quite popular, even though he was one of only three black people in the whole school and his father drove a school bus and didn't own any land, and he was new. It didn't make that much difference before, people seemed to like him anyway because he was such a great guy.

It was 1972, in America. The American Civil rights movement had come and mostly gone; leaving behind it a national awareness of the mistreatment and abuse of our black citizens; a national guilt on the part of white people in America for having been a party to this gross injustice; and an underlying groundswell of bitter resentment on both sides.

It is so hard to eradicate bigotry once it is socially entrenched. People may pay lip service to the current trend of what is socially acceptable or politically correct, but underneath, something else is going on. It takes a new generation, or maybe two, or maybe even three to look at bigotry and see it for what it actually is, and to reject it completely.

I had already learned in grade school how to cope with being "different". I felt rejected by most of my peer group but there was peace, or at least a truce, until this incident. I had got used to being picked on for things I had no control over and weren't my fault. This seemed like more of the same to me, except I knew it wasn't.

Still, I ignored the situation as best I could and went about my business. The janitor re-painted my locker door. The jocks got a talking-to by the school principal after the coach had come along in the hall and broken up the party.

People didn't say too much to me directly. As far as I could tell, Pete was being treated OK and just about the same. He wasn't taking too much flak on my account--or, at least he said he wasn't.

Pete and I stayed friends until we both graduated from high school. We lost track of each other then; we both went on to college in different states.

I sometimes wonder about Pete and about a couple of people, friends from high school. But I have really good reasons for not wanting to go back there.

It costs me a lot to be different. There were many sad times and many tears; there were a lot of hurt feelings. The pain of rejection by your peer group never quite leaves a person completely.

If you can stand up to it at the time, there are some compensations. It makes you stronger. It makes you less afraid of public opinion, it makes you less afraid to espouse unconventional views.

I'm more tempted to dig out what facts I can gather rather than go by public opinion or what other people say on an issue, and then make up my own mind.

As an adult, I find I gravitate towards open-minded people. Many of these people are from more conventional backgrounds than my own. You don't have to go through what I went through to be open-minded or to think independently. Sometimes I think this quality is also formed from education; or it's a function of exposure to a variety of places, people and situations. Sometimes I think reading opens one's mind to a terrific extent. I feel a lot safer with open-minded people.

I'm also attracted to artists, musicians and writers. People with these gifts tend to naturally think outside the box. That's part of their gift, being "different".

It's part of their curse, too. So many gifted, talented people in different fields of the arts are tortured souls. Some even commit suicide! These beautiful gifts they leave behind for all of us to enjoy have come at great expense to the individual who created them, often.

Yet, these people are so much admired and respected, often. Sometimes artists are hero-worshipped and recognized as not only "different", but special, too.

It seems there are two opposite internal forces at work: we want to be different and assert ourselves as individuals; yet we want to be accepted by our communities and our peers. We want to conform enough to fit in and be liked; yet we want our individual uniqueness appreciated.

Centripetal and centrifugal forces find a balance; we seek a balance, find some common ground, and we get along.

 You can vote for this story, or one of the other terrific stories of the HubNuggets nominations, here:


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    • Paradise7 profile image

      Paradise7 7 years ago from Upstate New York

      Great comment, internetwriter, and thank you so much for making it!

    • Internetwriter62 profile image

      Internetwriter62 7 years ago from Marco Island, Florida

      I totally agree, I think being different is the spice of life. Although given the experiences that made you different and more open minded, I'm sure you would have liked a kinder upbringing. It's amazing how communities feel they have the right to judge, yet never have the guts to intervene or help those who are suffering. It amazes me, to witness what hypocrites most people are, and yet they feel they are somewhat superior when they are just not given challenging circumstances to face, like those they feel they have the right to put down.

      Hold your up, you are an amazing woman. You have not only survived, but you also have loved and cared deeply for those who have touched your life. I have truly enjoyed reading your body of work. You are very gifted writer. Fascinating hub.

    • Paradise7 profile image

      Paradise7 8 years ago from Upstate New York

      Thank you, Rob, for the comments. I got a bit of your history from some of your hubs, and it's fascinating. It's fascinating what shapes us as human beings, and how we get through it and out to the other side. Good to have you back, bro.

    • Rob Dee profile image

      Rob Dee 8 years ago from Florida

      Congrats on the hubnugget nomination....

      This is one reason i dislike organized religion. My father was a minister, and an ex marine so i know a bit of what you went through....i didn't have the luxury of liking school though. It sucks that kids are wired to pick on what's different....but to me, i'm SOOO much better being myself than one of the sheep.....because it's MY turn to laugh.


    • Paradise7 profile image

      Paradise7 8 years ago from Upstate New York

      Thank you very much, lxxy. Thank you for the insightful and sensitive comment.

    • lxxy profile image

      lxxy 8 years ago from Beneath, Between, Beyond

      Loved this, and welcome to hubpages.

      You are a strong soul to endure so much, I sincerely appreciate your candidness here.

      Idolization and hero worship can go too far, as you point out. Those who need that extra bump in courage need only to look within their hearts.

    • Paradise7 profile image

      Paradise7 8 years ago from Upstate New York

      Thank you very much for those kind words, gmca25. I agree with you.

    • gmca25 profile image

      gmca25 8 years ago

      hi it is great!!!, great writing , sometimes we thing about our life, and we think is not good, but then you see around you, and you see that it is more difficult for others.

      At once time a person told me, God only gives you all that you can support, I believe we have a mission in this life, we need to find out what is it? I think your mission is share your stories that will help you grow up in your soul and you will find also good persons around you that love you just for the way you are.

    • Paradise7 profile image

      Paradise7 8 years ago from Upstate New York

      Thankyou so much Ladybird. You're so supportive, and I appreciate it more than I can say.

    • Ladybird33 profile image

      Ladybird33 8 years ago from Fabulous USA

      A very emotional recap, I felt it through your writing. You are a true soldier that has survived much, hold you head up high, my friend, you earned it.

    • Paradise7 profile image

      Paradise7 8 years ago from Upstate New York

      Thankyou, Write at Home and The Old Firm. Your comments are appreciated and well-expressed.

    • The Old Firm profile image

      The Old Firm 8 years ago from Waikato/Bay Of Plenty, New Zealand

      A touching and sensitively written account of your childhood, P7. You're proof of Piet Hein's advice to Vikings : "Anything that doesn't actually kill you just makes you grow stronger!"

      In Hubpages a lot of us are different, one way or the other; you're amongst friends.



    • Write at Home profile image

      Write at Home 8 years ago

      Hi Paradise7. I'm another that can really relate to your story and upbringing. I agree with what some others have posted, about it making you stronger and all, although it also leaves scars as well. Being different is good, though. I firmly believe "being different" gives you a much broader perspective on life - and a much richer life - than if you grew up with everything being easy.

    • Paradise7 profile image

      Paradise7 8 years ago from Upstate New York

      Thank you, Mary Neal and for your comments. Every view point expressed here goes to show, we all have something different, and valuable, to offer.

    • profile image 8 years ago

      every one is different from other on their own... so it's rather people are always trying to be superor to others.. i guess

    • Mary Neal profile image

      Mary Neal 8 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia, USA

      Thanks for the article, Paradise7. Many people suffer abuse for being unacceptably different, and some have died for it. I am reminded of the police brutality victim, Duanna Johnson, a transgender person. People in the GLBT community are often subjected to discrimination for being "different."

      Also, consider the plight of mentally ill inmates. They are frequently abused by other inmates and sometimes the guards. They usually endure much harsher incarceration conditions, as the most acute ones are secured in solitary confinement - not because their offenses were so horrible, but because of their mental states. Mentally ill people in solitary confinement are kept naked to prevent self-harm, and they may be deprived of mattresses. Those psychiatric patients sleep on the floor or a cold, bare bed frame. Sometimes, they are gassed, Tasered, or put in dangerous restraint chairs to control their behavior. These people belong in hospitals, of course. Instead, they comprise 60% of those in solitary confinement tonight. Around 25,000 people live in solitary long-term. Many more inmates are ordered into solitary confinement for short periods, but some stay for decades! The longest case on record that I know about is a man who was in solitary for around 36 years. Can you imagine? And what do you think this does to a mind that is already damaged?

      Some call solitary confinement a type of prison torture. Yet, this is how mentally ill people are often treated for being "different." We've regressed to the Dark Ages in dealing with mental health problems. In fact, 1.25 million mental patients are imprisoned here. I recommend that people who are interested should see a film on YouTube called, "Stop Torture in U.S. Prisons!"

    • Paradise7 profile image

      Paradise7 8 years ago from Upstate New York

      Thenk you, DeBorrah K. And thanks to you, too, yes2truth.

    • DeBorrah K. Ogans profile image

      DeBorrah K Ogans 8 years ago

      Paradise 7

      This is a beautiful story! Your writing style is free flowing and glides along as the Truth unfolds! It is unfortunate but true; "it costs to be different." Along with being different comes a certain humility that lets you know that your self worth is not in the way others perceive you! Their actions show how hard they must be on the inside. How could one find pleasure in mistreating someone?

      Just know in the eyes of the Lord you are precious! God never intended for His Word to be used as a harsh legalistic doctrine. He always gives us the Freedom of choice even if its not right. As we become aware of His Word we are held accountable. The Lord has blessed you to see what His Love is not! With God you do not have to fit in because when He created you He has a place especially for You!

      Beautiful job!


    • yes2truth profile image

      yes2truth 8 years ago from England

      Thanks for the reply.

      "I never quite managed to blame the religion."

      Never worry about blaming religion, for The Lord did not come to this earth to start a religion. He showed people love, understanding and compassion, not legalistic tyranny - the Pharisees did that. That was and is the problem, for we still have Pharisees today in the 21st century and they run organised religious Christianity and give The Lord a very bad name.

    • Paradise7 profile image

      Paradise7 8 years ago from Upstate New York

      Thank you for your comment and your support. I never quite managed to blame the religion; I think it was more the interpretation that was at fault. It's what people do with it that ends up being harmful, even though the people think they're right.

    • yes2truth profile image

      yes2truth 8 years ago from England

      The Christian Religion is a curse, I know, for I suffered under it in adulthood. You don't have to be born into it in order to suffer the consequences of it. What I have to deal with is that I chose to get involved so my experience was self inflicted.

      Thanks for sharing your tragic experiences.

    • Paradise7 profile image

      Paradise7 8 years ago from Upstate New York

      Thank you both, Leop and WannaB. I know everyon'e issues are a little different. I wouldn't minimize ANYONE'S experience. What happens to us affects us and shapes who we are, and I know, WannaB and Leop, that you each went through your own things to bear, and came out the other sider better and stronger people for it.

      I'm glad you didn't have to face abuse at home, WannaB. I wish not one of us did.

    • WannaB Writer profile image

      Barbara Radisavljevic 8 years ago from Templeton, CA

      An excellent hub. I also felt like a fish out of water in elementary and junior high school, but did not have the strikes against me that you had. I had the stigma of having gone to a private school for a semester and then skipping half a grade when I returned to public school. That's what made me different. All my old friends were one grade lower and I was a stranger in my new grade, making it harder to fit in. I did not have to face abuse at home.

    • Leop profile image

      Leop 8 years ago

      Glad to hear you made it by being you. I know it because people will treat you different and some are very disrespectful. Thanks for sharing.

    • Paradise7 profile image

      Paradise7 8 years ago from Upstate New York

      Thank you, Earth Angel. What a sensitive comment! And I agree that the spcificity and authenticity of writing is what gives it value.

    • Earth Angel profile image

      Earth Angel 8 years ago

      Dearest Paradise7!!

      I, too feel you were writing my story!! I related to each and every word!! I would not wish my childhood on my worst enemy!! Yet, it did contribute greatly to who I am today!!

      I find often that the more specific/authentic we are with our sharing, the more universal appeal it has!! You have certainly stuck a sensitive and timely nerve with us all!!

      Thank you sooooooooooooooo much for the depth of your writing!! I am touched beyond measure!!

      Blessings always, Earth Angel!!

    • Paradise7 profile image

      Paradise7 8 years ago from Upstate New York

      Thank you all for your comments and your support.

    • Tracy711 profile image

      Tracy711 8 years ago

      I liked your hub,I'm sorry you had a tough childhood. I was different too but that was by choice. I never like being like everyone else I like to be my own person so sometimes I probably didn't fit in with the fashion and all the current whatever but I really didn't care because that's not what I was about. However your difference was not by choice and I wish people would teach their children to be a kinder better person but it seems that it's all gone down hill. Not all kids are cruel but the ones that are do a really good job at it. thank you for sharing and I'm glad you did good in school though because that would help you greatly in the end. you sound like a very kind and wonderful person I'm happy this cruelty did not change that. God bless you

    • Cranoo profile image

      Cranoo 8 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

      Great hub ... I went trough alot like you only difference is i'm still going trough it but it's ok.

      I like meeting people like you that know what it's like to be in constant mental pain! :)

    • Money Glitch profile image

      Money Glitch 8 years ago from Texas

      Hi Paradise7;

      I grew up in a rural area and I can relate to your story quite well in many of the examples! Especially about having to wear the 'hand-me-down clothing' and being called names...Just wanted to say hello and congrats, on making Shirley Anderson's HubNugget Roundup!

    • profile image

      C.J. Wright 8 years ago

      You just flashed us! With your soul that is. WOW! Great work!

    • Ebower profile image

      Erin Bower 8 years ago from Georgia

      I'm glad you found the positive in your rough upbringing. Thanks for telling your story. Yes, I agree with what you said everyone wants to be, but accepted at the same time.

    • Paradise7 profile image

      Paradise7 8 years ago from Upstate New York

      Thank you, omi saide and Madame X, for your kind support and encouragement.

    • profile image

      Madame X 8 years ago

      You write beautifully Paradise, and the calm tenderness with which you express what happened shows that you've come a long way in your healing process. I can relate to your experiences, although things happened differently for me. It's not something I think I ever want to share in a public way. I do believe, however, that if you were to write a book about what happened to you, you would reach a lot of people and help them to heal as well. Someone above said it took a lot of courage to write what you did. I agree :)

    • omi saide profile image

      omi saide 8 years ago

      I feel your pain,but nothing have really changed with me. I will remain the outcast, renegade,stranger.its comfortable now much like an eagle sitting on a ledge watching down below.

    • Paradise7 profile image

      Paradise7 8 years ago from Upstate New York

      Mithmoral, Eaglekiwi, and CMHypno, thank you so much for your excellent comments and kind support.

    • CMHypno profile image

      CMHypno 8 years ago from Other Side of the Sun

      Great Hub. It must have been hard to write it all down and be so honest about the way it was. Glad that you are now happy and have great people in your life.

    • Eaglekiwi profile image

      Eaglekiwi 8 years ago from -Oceania

      Im voting for you because I gotta soft spot for kids who become adults before their time. I truly hope you write more as Im sure there are hundreds still who suffer in silence and you will like a candle for them strengthen their hearts n souls.

      Thankyou for sharing, Im honored to have been able to read it.

    • profile image

      mith_moral 8 years ago

      You're such an inspiration to those who have felt the way you have. I'm so sorry you had to go through what you went through. People can be cruel and I commend you for being so strong and standing tall through it all. I am now a lifetime fan of yours.

    • Paradise7 profile image

      Paradise7 8 years ago from Upstate New York

      You know what? We aren't alone. I was surprised by how very many of us don't "fit in". I like us that way, personally. I like it that everyone's different and we're not always on the same page as everybody else. There's value in being like this, too.

    • profile image

      jlspartz 8 years ago

      Great story! I've been in like shoes. Born a genius, never thought like others, had a lisp when I was young, didn't dress like my peers, and was in the 2% minority in my schools.

      What other outcasts thought was weird about me though is that I never cared that I wasn't part of the in-crowd and never felt any need to be like anyone.

      These days, I feel a strong need to be liked and connect with people more and I have no intentions of being a follower or trying to fit in, so I definitely understand when you say you gravitate towards open-minded people, artists, musicians, writers, etc. I found the same. But as far as the rest of the world, I still have to find the common ground. It's like trying to speak a different language that I can never fully grasp.

    • Paradise7 profile image

      Paradise7 8 years ago from Upstate New York

      You're very welcome. Thank you so much for your support! That was the intention--for us who didn't fit in for what reasons we know, to be reassured we aren't alone.

    • Daan_vdB profile image

      Daan_vdB 8 years ago from The Netherlands

      It's great you had the guts to share this story with the world. I can see life has been rough on you. But judging from your story I can see it made you a very bright person, which is great. I'm sure lots of people are inspired by your story and can identify themselves with you. There are a lot of different people in the world - I'm one. You've shown with this story that their not alone. Again, great story. Thanks for sharing.

    • Paradise7 profile image

      Paradise7 8 years ago from Upstate New York

      Thank you, Rosemary. I'm deeply moved by the positive response this hub generated. I'm also pleased--I was also much afraid of a very much opposite response. Rosemary, I would love to read your piece. Publish it. It really is a free country, and it's a lot more free when we speak our minds. We need to stand up and speak out for what we believe in. It's why Pete and myself weren't deterred from our friendship. We KNEW there was nothing wrong with it. We KNEW it was a GOOD THING! And if we let others be the judge, we wouldn't have stayed friends. I don't know what he got from being friends with me, but I got an awful lot from being friends with him. He's one of the most positive spirits I've ever met, and he needed to be as a black man in America.

    • rmcrayne profile image

      rmcrayne 8 years ago from San Antonio Texas

      You're so much bravier than I. I have written a piece about the racism of my loving Southern relatives, but don't dare publish it.

      This is such a powerful piece and I have bookmarked one of your others. I agree with so many of your conclusions and reflections.

      I can see where writing more on this in the context of a book seems mentally exhausting to you. This is one of the reasons I like HubPages so much. It helps me take small pieces of a bigger whole, in no particular order, and get it out there.

      Keep doing what you do!

      Your fellow HubNuggets WannaBe and newest fan,

      Rose Mary

    • Paradise7 profile image

      Paradise7 8 years ago from Upstate New York

      Thank you both, Veronica Allen and ripplemaker, for your positive comments.

    • ripplemaker profile image

      Michelle Simtoco 8 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      Paradise, I thank you for sharing so much of yourself. We all need to learn from each others experiences. It is tough feeling odd and different. And yet when I read your comment about being okay now, I celebrate with you and to wish you well. Keep on sharing your light. :)

      Congratulations for being a Hubnugget Wannabe! Vote and promote:

    • Veronica Allen profile image

      Veronica Allen 8 years ago from Georgia

      Rarely am I engrossed by a hub as much as I've been engrossed by yours. Growing up as an outcast myself, I felt as if I were reliving my school days experience. There is so much of "you" in this piece, that I feel we know you intimately - your soul, and everything that encompasses it. You have definetly got my vote, for rarely am I so moved! Thank you for sharing your experience with us (although it may have been painful).

    • Paradise7 profile image

      Paradise7 8 years ago from Upstate New York

      Hey, highvoltage writer! I've read a couple of your hubs and do enjoy the way you put things. You're on my list of open-minded people, and it's a long list and getting longer through HubPages.

      Hey, Kingjenia, now that we know how to spell your name (heh-heh, family joke, don't worry about it), love to hear from you and THANK YOU!!!!! for the comment; I was a little afraid to put this out there and email it to those close to me. I didn't know what you guys would think. I'm glad you don't think--traitor!--and hope none of the others do. Maybe it gets you a teeny perspective on where your Dad came from, too. Though sometimes we remain a mystery to each other in the depths of our hearts, I think the more we share of our life's experiences with each other, the better we understand each other, the wider view we can take of our fellow people. At least I operate in the hope this is true.

    • profile image

      kingjenia 8 years ago

      What a fantastic read! Thank you for sharing such a personal part of your phsyche.

      I, personally, believe we all feel somewhat outcast (or maybe that's just a personal trait?). If we were all accepted without question we would all evolve into very dull people.

      I have always believed that my family life was unconventional as well. Even though most folks don't have to deal with such as extremes as you had to endure, there is always something that makes any family a bit disfunctional. Even what seems to be the perfect family life can sometimes backfire in the form of rebelious children or even what I call the spoiled brat syndrome. Children who are totally loved and pampered sometimes turn into horrible adults who do not know how to deal with typical troublesome problems that every-day life brings.

      I am grateful for my unusual upbringing. I think it has made me into a very strong adult with a pretty good value system. I get the feeling you, too, are somewhat grateful that you were not with the "in" set. Of course, I (we) can say that now, but it doesn't change the feeling you portray in your story. There is hurt underlying the mostly happy soul and I'm sure that this is the same for you and me as much as it is for say "miss popularity".

      Thank you once again for putting this all into words.

    • Highvoltagewriter profile image

      William Benner 8 years ago from Savannah GA.

      Great Hub! I was raised Seventh Day Adventist, so my up bringing was similar to yours. Even though, I must say that my parents were very loving. The abuse that I went though came from the Privet Christian School I went to. I was considered very different than the rich kids I went to school with since my parents were poor. This drove me away from Christianity for many years. I became a filled with hate until I learned to forgive. I have not forgotten though. I hope that never happens for my childhood taught me so much!

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      Paradise7 8 years ago from Upstate New York

      Thank you all so much! You're all good writers, too, so it's praise from Ceasar! I didn't know I was nominated until I logged in today and read the comments.

      You know, I really wouldn't wish my childhood on anyone else. But in retrospect, I did learn things I wouldn't have learned any other way.

      Now that I'm an adult, I can see, too, that parenthood is no easy task. People do the best they can with it. Some people do have children that they aren't prepared to love. It's sad, but true.

      There is life after an unloved childhood, and it doesn't have to be all bad, and a person certainly doesn't have to pass down that legacy.

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      Catherine R 8 years ago from Melbourne, Australia

      Hey - congrats on another hubnugget nomination! This one so deserves to win. It's one of the best hubs I have read since I've been here. I'm still seeing a book coming out of you!

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      wordscribe41 8 years ago

      What a wonderful piece of work. I was moved to tears, I'm so sorry for your experience. No doubt I can tell you're a survivor. You are a very courageous person, this must have been difficult to put to words. But, you did it brilliantly. I voted for you in the HubNuggets. Congratulations for a nomination well deserved.

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      Barbara 8 years ago from Stepping past clutter

      From the comments, it sounds as if many had challenging childhoods- some worse, some better but all unique. I guess this is what gives perspective and what helps us empathize with others? Your story of hardship must have strengthened you or you couldn't have written it so well. Congratulations on becoming a compassionate person.

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      ralwus 8 years ago

      Courageous of you to come out with this. You never turned into a serial killer either and no hatred came out of the writing either. I'm an instant fan. Thanks for sharing.

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      Tom Cornett 8 years ago from Ohio

      I relate to your story quite a bit. We have somewhat similar upbringings. You are a very talented writer. An old friend of mine use to say,"When life kicks you down, get up, smile and that all you got!" Thanks for sharing your story. :)

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      loveofnight 8 years ago from Baltimore, Maryland

      a good share

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      dohn121 8 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York

      It takes a great deal of courage to write about this. As you can see from some of your comments, putting thought and personal experience in a clear and honest way does not come easy for most of us. I give you credit and persevering through such difficult times during your early years. Thank you so much for sharing this with all of us, Paradise. I feel like you are a friend :D Good luck on your Hubbnugget ;)

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      Susan Keeping 8 years ago from Kitchener, Ontario

      This was an excellent hub. I relived some of my childhood reading that. Of course, my life was nowhere as near hard as yours was. I'm glad you came out the other end and that you wrote about it.

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      Duchess OBlunt 8 years ago

      I had to come back and congratulate you on being chosen as a HubNugget Wannabe. Way to go!

    • Paradise7 profile image

      Paradise7 8 years ago from Upstate New York

      Thank you very much, Jaspal. Rough is relative--I read a hub just the other day from CindyVine, who lives "under an African mountain". The people there are living in conditions beyond what we can think of in our worst nightmare--no WATER!--so rough is relative. I had to grow up to realize that and quit feeling sorry for myself.

      What happened, happened. I've met just a lot of RELALY GOOD PEOPLE since, and I'm sure you're one because you sympathize. I've been blessed. I've been lucky. I really can't complain.

      I really wanted to write this hub to encourage people out there who are going through somewhat the same thing. Have heart--it doesn't have to wreck your whole life, and if you can get through it, the rest is easier.

    • Jaspal profile image

      Jaspal 8 years ago from New Delhi, India

      You've had it really rough Paradise - it could have destroyed a soul, but I think it strengthened you ... and that speaks volumes for your character. You have obviously been able to put all that behind, have understood and forgiven the major characters behind those unpleasant days. Kudos to you for having overcome and to have become the open hearted, open minded and truly educated - not with just bookish knowledge - person that you now are.

    • Paradise7 profile image

      Paradise7 8 years ago from Upstate New York

      Thank you, Feline Prophet. All the best to you, as well.

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      Feline Prophet 8 years ago

      It's really commendable that you lived through such a difficult childhood and can talk about it so objectively. There are always like minded people out there...we just have to find them. All the best! :)

    • Paradise7 profile image

      Paradise7 8 years ago from Upstate New York

      You're very welcome, Duchess. I'm very surprised and flattered at the positive response. Truth be told, the hub was hard to write. I don't know if I could do a whole book, but now it's in my mind, because of all your support. Thank you.

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      Duchess OBlunt 8 years ago

      Paradise, I read this with very mixed emotions. So much of your story is similar to my own, but I would not want to tell the world about it. That takes some serious intestinal fortitude. This was a very sensitive hub and you shared some very personal history with honesty. I have to add my vote to the whole book thing. You should seriously consider it.

      Thanks for sharing

    • Paradise7 profile image

      Paradise7 8 years ago from Upstate New York

      SoftCorn, Catherine and Mommygap, thank you so very much for your support. I can't tell you how much it means to me.

    • themommygap profile image

      themommygap 8 years ago from Florida

      I thought this was a great hub. Beyond anything else, you write with honesty. That is difficult and rare, and you did it beautifully here.

    • Catherine R profile image

      Catherine R 8 years ago from Melbourne, Australia

      Yes - I am with SoftCornHippo. I think I have told you this before - there is definitely a very interesting book in you! Of course our experiences make us who we are and perhaps you would not be the same compassionate and open minded individual if you hadn't had these experiences. I always tell my children that the so called 'weirdos' in their school are probably the most interesting kids. Heaven only knows what dull adults a lot of the 'popular' kids from my schools turned into. Still it made me really sad to read about you in your frumpy skirts - how cruel children can be and how strong the desire to fit in is. I find your writing style is brilliant in drawing an emotional response from the reader and so I urge you to continue with your life stories.

      Thanks so much for another great hub.

    • SoftCornHippo profile image

      SoftCornHippo 8 years ago

      This is all ver innerestin. I'm wonderin' if you have a book in you or somethin - possibly another great Amer novel! no for real! Ever read Saul Bellow? Thanks for sharing your story!

    • Paradise7 profile image

      Paradise7 8 years ago from Upstate New York

      Thank you for your comment, advisor. I believe I have forgiven; I don't really hold grudges well, which is one thing that got me through. I'm just telling it like it was; there are a lot of negative things there, and sharing them is sometimes difficult because people think you're bitter when you're just saying truly what happened.

      It's ok now. It's VERY ok. I've been blessed to meet some very, very good people and have some wonderful people in my life. But you ARE right, the man part got pretty screwed up for me. It's still ok--I don't mind living alone.

      My mom and dad went through the Great Depression. I wrote some about that on a different hub. I do understand, at least partly, where they were coming from.

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      advisor4qb 8 years ago from On New Footing

      I could have written this! My childhood was similar to yours.

      It makes a person stronger in some ways, but in other ways it can be bad. For example, in relationships with men. I wouldn't be surprised if you gravitated toward abusive men in your adult life (that is what has happened to me) or if you reject men altogether.

      If you cannot locate Pete using conventional methods, you may find him on, but remember that people you remember are no longer the people you remember. We all change throughout life. I contacted people from my past, expecting the same people I remembered. I am only still friends with a couple of them.

      Always remember that we are exactly where we are supposed to be in life. It's all part of God's plan: the synchronicity that brings us the experiences we have, the compassion we feel as survivors of abuse, and the stubborn way we resent what happened to us.

      We have to learn to forgive. What your father did was probably a result of abuse that happened to him. It was that way with my father. It wasn't until I forgave him for the torture he put me through that I began to feel that I had been healed.

      And so it will be with you.

    • Paradise7 profile image

      Paradise7 8 years ago from Upstate New York

      Thank you very much, Matthew. I appreciate your support.

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      Matthew 43 8 years ago

      good hub and I am sorry that you had it so rough. Your a true survivor and I admire you for that. Your a very strong and nice person.