Growing up I was very sheltered. My parents were very strict. Authoritarian. They believed in corporal punishment. Whenever they saw a child acting out, their immediate response was: “That child needs a spanking.” They were strict about what we watched and who we hung out with. I wasn’t allowed to watch Smurfs as a child because Gargamel was a warlock and they didn’t want me watching a show with witchcraft. As I got older, the restrictions on programming included no MTV and no ‘R’ movies. Whenever we watched movies, it was as a family. If something came up like a sex scene or something they didn’t approve of, they would tell us to cover our eyes as they fast forwarded.

My mother zealously reviewed any materials in school that she thought could be questionable and at times had me abstain from participation. I wasn’t allowed to read certain books the class read at school, because they were deemed inappropriate. She always reviewed sex-education materials, but she never discussed sex-education nor sex with me. My parents didn’t trust anyone, least of all my sister or me. They always assumed the worst. The extent to which sex was discussed was basically my dad saying: “All guys are dirt-bags. Guys will ask you for sex. It is your responsibility to say no.”  Their approach was that if they shared anything, it would just give us ideas. So, ignorance was best in their minds.

My parents traveled with me to almost every single High School sporting event I participated in that was out of town. Frequently, we traveled overnight or for the weekend for events in high school. My parents were always there to make sure we never did anything they would not approve of. Outwardly it looked like they were being very supportive, but their main intent was to act as a watchdog and not let either of us out of their supervision.

Aside from being sheltered, I have always had the blessing and curse of being oblivious. Things can be going on right before my eyes and I was typically blissfully unaware. Most of my friends in High School came from religious church-attending families, but that didn’t prevent them from having sex, drinking or trying drugs. However, they hid most of it from me and I was completely unaware.

On one instance, I defended one of my friends to my then boyfriend who claimed he heard locker-room talk about her sleeping with her boyfriend. He said she wasn’t so innocent. I was so angry with him for accusing her of that, only to find out later it was true. After High School I learned that some of my friends had tried drugs, just not at a get-together I was invited to. They knew I wouldn’t participate, so they excluded me and I was none the wiser.

When my sister moved in with her boyfriend, she told me she wasn’t sleeping with him, just living together. I believed her, why would she lie to me? I just assumed living together didn’t necessarily imply people were sleeping together. She was lying to me, but I was trusting. Naïve.

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