They Stole My Education (The Opposite of Love is Shame: Part 17)

I loved school when I was in primary school. It gave me a break from my home life, and I had some contact with the real world. One day that all came crashing down around me when my parents told me that I was not going to be allowed to attend public school anymore once I finished primary school. I was crushed. I was also upset because one of the girls in my class had won a scholarship to a very expensive, very prestigious private boarding school for high school. I was upset because I wanted to go to boarding school so bad, and not just because of Enid Blyton and her school stories, but in order to escape. The girl who had won this scholarship was the girl who sat next to me, whose science and social studies tests I would cheat off.

I wanted to go to boarding school so damn bad. But even if I had won the scholarship myself, I would not have been allowed to go. Not just because it was a boarding school, but because it was Catholic and my cult taught that Catholics were not Christians and they had some bullshit they  made up from the book of Revelation that the Catholic Church was wicked and the whore of Babylon. Basically, in fundamentalism, Catholic meant bad. I’m still not Catholic but have grown to appreciate a lot of Catholic beliefs, and I don’t trash talk the Catholic Church anymore, and am sorry I ever did. If it helps, I didn’t really know any better, but I do now.

But now, I wouldn’t even get to go to day school at a public high school. They gave me two reasons. The first was that since I was going into grade eight, I would be required to learn evolution, and we all know the world was created in six literal days like it says in Genesis and that if I disbelieved creation in favor of evolution, I would lose my faith. They did not want this to happen. Believing that Genesis chapters one and two really happened the way it was written was a fundamental of the faith and I was supposed to believe it.

My parents would have us watch indoctrination videos from an organization called Answers in Genesis which encouraged us to be obnoxious little snots and ask a teacher or instructor “were you there?” when they taught evolution. It was supposed to be a witty “gotcha” answer. The idea behind that particular piece of arrogance was that nobody was there except God and that God said in Genesis that he created the world and therefore that’s what happened. My family believed that being a Christian hinged on believing the first few chapters of Genesis literally. Their argument was that if God was lying about how the world was created, then we might as well chuck out the entire Bible because God could be lying about that too, and then where does it end?

The other reason, I was told, was that I was getting old enough to be able to process things enough to talk to teachers and show them bruises. My parents stole my education to keep me indoctrinated and abused. When I got to grade ten, I was working pretty much full-time hours, and my parents “encouraged” me to quit school at the end of grade ten. They said that for one I wasn’t smart enough and might as well make something out of myself with a retail career. I pursued the retail career, was a front-end manager by the time I was seventeen, but the career in retail didn’t work out for me, no matter how committed I was. I really wanted it to work, not only was I earning money, I was away from the house and I was interacting with people daily, not just church people once a week. Going to work was the beginning of my freedom.

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