Growing Up Jeub · Justice and Advocacy · Personal reflections · Psychology and mental illness · Recovery

Close Clarity

I entered adulthood wholly uneducated and unprepared for life. I was homeschooled until I was 19. When I tried attending a local university while living with my parents, I had no time to study. I also had no respect for academia. In my mind, my own ignorant Christian beliefs were superior to whatever I might still have to learn. There are many wonderful people who helped me get to where I am today, and there is much to look forward to. I don’t think I’ve ever blogged with such hope. For ten years, heavy depression has bled through every line I wrote. That has changed in recent months, and at last I can look ahead.

In March, I started seeing a new therapist. She asked me where I see myself in five years. I said I don’t know how to answer that, because I can’t see a future that far out. I’ve had several therapists because I’ve lived in several places, but therapy alone was never enough to treat my mental illnesses. Psychiatric intervention was necessary, and I’m glad to say that I have an excellent psychiatrist now.

My relationships have been messy since I decried purity. It would be simple to blame my lack of purity for that. My sin has found me out, those who preach purity might say. However, it was purity culture that undermined my development. I didn’t know what a healthy relationship looked like. I didn’t know what it was like to be in a relationship at all, except for with my parents, siblings, and parent-approved friends.

I dated several people before I met my ex-partner, and that relationship lasted for five years, between 2016 and 2021. I had a polyamorous relationship with my ex and my current partner, Ryann, starting in August 2020. We didn’t announce that relationship at the time, letting everyone think Ryann was just “the roommate.” (Gay, I know.)

My ex was impatient, loud, rough, and demanding. Ryann has been patient, quiet, gentle, and unassuming. This contrast took me a long time to recognize and appreciate while I fought with the person who I thought I was supposed to be loyal to for life. Though we never married, it was an unspoken expectation that I would keep the peace. I kept the peace with my omissions, my careful writing, my own vague understanding of what was happening. My thoughts about the situation were not clear at all.

In my regular life, I don’t volunteer information about my ex-family right away. I used to. When I was a teenager, that was the most interesting thing I could tell people: I have fifteen siblings, and I’ve been on reality TV. Now I realize it’s more embarrassing than impressive. Recently, I was telling someone I’ve known for years about it, and she said, “I’m sorry about this, and nothing against you, but I’d hate on families like yours.”

I replied that it was completely okay, I’m not just used to it – I take advantage of it now. Most of my supporters are people who snark about families like mine online. My loyal sponsors have helped in more ways that I can recollect. In 2017, members of the forum FreeJinger, known for criticizing fundamentalist families, helped me restore my blog content. Many of my readers found my blog through my 2019 Huffington Post piece, or a rabbit hole on reddit.

At the end of 2019, I shared Amanda Palmer’s brilliant Star of Wonder video with my Patreon patrons. I suggested including my patrons in collaborative projects. I also brought up being able to both support myself and have the capacity to support others around me. At the time, I had 46 patrons, and that number has more than doubled now to 112. Thanks to these generous pledges, my income has increased significantly. What once supplemented my income is now enough to cover both rent and utilities. This is crucial because I am disabled and can no longer do the physically demanding work I was doing up until early 2020. Working from home is possible because I can rest, sit down, and make my own hours.

I’m excited to announce that in January 2022, I will start going to school at last. I wanted to start school in the fall of 2021, but I couldn’t because I was too overwhelmed with waiting on my ex. I thought they needed my help, but I gave everything in me and more, and it was not enough. It turns out that the person who most needs my help is me.

I didn’t update the blog at all in November because I needed to step away. I feel that I have been so transparent here that I don’t know what to keep to myself anymore. There’s a sharp divide between oversharing and keeping the secrets of abusive people. In my experience, honesty prevails. Ultimately, I hope honesty defeats the lies keeping the peace.