Monday, July 23, 2007

abysmal

There are so many thoughts and layers and questions and doubts and fears... and there is anger.
I am hurt, I am feeling betrayed by my fellow man, and I am angry.

While we were getting ready to go to the mountains for the afternoon, NC's Mama came over. She had lipstick on (how strange) and said she came over to chat. I invited her in, knowing immediately something was up. (My livingroom floor was in desperate need of a vacuuming, Maddie had spilled cashews on the carpet a few minutes before, and it hadn't been vacuumed yesterday, as I worked all day, and then we ran errands last night. Figures.)

We visit for a while, then she tells me that the people who are thinking (in process?) of buying the house next door made it a point to go over to her house to inquire about our naked children. Evidently they've been here three times, and seen bare hind ends all three times. "That's going to be an issue." Were their apparent words to her. And then NCM said "They don't seem the type to come to you and talk to you about it. I think they might just call dcfs. They seemed nice, and everything, and I don't want you to hold it against them, but I just wanted you to be warned."

She went on to suggest a 6 foot fence (most of our that side does have a wood fence).

I made some comment like "They wouldn't take my children away because they're naked for heavens sake (streakers)" and she said "Oh, yes, they would."

What?!?
Really, What?!?

She went on to say that she's been on both sides of dcfs, and they in fact would, and do take children away for such things. That in fact, they more often take children away from good homes than bad. Good parents will fight like hell to get their children back. Bad ones won't. Good ones will jump through hoops, pay exorbitant amounts of money. Bad ones won't. Can you believe such a thing?
I'm crying as I write this, friends.
What kind of screwed up world is this where this is the standard operation procedure? I have been trying to track down information on naked, and the laws, but I haven't been able to find anything so far. I did run into a site called kidjacked, and learned a few things about dcfs. Like that they are trained more in manipulation than in anything else. That they are taught to believe that "All parents are potential abusers." That they will blatantly lie to you and your children. There are many other terrors.
I can hardly believe it, actually. It's hard for me to fathom that ordinary (well, you know) people's children could just be taken away. The world just doesn't work that way. There is such a thing as rightful living, and karma, and living with love and kindness, and and and....
That site convinced me that it does happen. That I need to go into this with my eyes wide open.

Being a little paranoid, you might say.
But the sad truth is that I am not.
I've already had one run in with them.
This last winter.
My little son, being the boy that he is, was rather fond of running outside for a flash, long enough to grab a handful of snow, and bring it back inside. In whatever he was dressed in at the time. Usually a long sleeved t-shirt and drawers.
I don't request or require that he put on a coat and shoes for such a thing. I don't see any harm in running outdoors in your bare feet and drawers for twelve seconds. I'll run out and get the mail in the same condition.
Evidently a neighbor had a problem with it, for dcfs showed up at my door.
Something like "can we come in?" "I guess....." (not ever again will I say that after reading on that site.) "you've been reported to be neglectful of your children, and we came to talk to you about it...."
You can imagine my reaction. I was stunned, and just sat and stared at them.
Told him he ran out to get snow, for a few seconds, and I didn't have a problem with it. That he liked to take it to the bathroom sink and melt it. "Yeah, it's an experiment!" little son piped in.
I was "cleared", if you want to call it that, officially a couple of weeks later. But I did write them a letter (to which they didn't respond), and she warned of the children being naked in the front yard, and I said quite blatantly that I would contain their naked selves in the back. And I do. We have a streaker from time to time, but usually they're shooed back in the house right away. Not necessarily to protect my neighbor's eyes from the atrocity of a naked bum, but to protect my children.

So the impossible has happened once before. All in the name of misunderstanding. All in the name of The World At Large not understanding freedom. All in the name of judgment. Of jumping to conclusions. All in the name of people living in fear.

Which brings me to another part of this process that I am really angry about.
I don't live my life in fear. I Don't Live My Life In Fear. I choose love. I choose to trust. I choose to live rightfully, and believe that you create your own reality. That all things come to you for a reason.
I refuse - refuse- to believe that I need to live my life according to another's judgment. To replace a common held belief with my own judgment -just because someone says I should.
I've questioned 'why' my whole life. Why should I do that? Why do you think that? Why is that a law? Why should I put this ingredient in before this one? Why does it need to be done this way?
Always question.
If it doesn't make sense to me, often I'll disregard it. 'Just because' is never an answer for me.
So I'm angry that others expect me to think (and act) the same way they do. I'm angry that others expect compliance "just because". I'm really angry (and disgusted, and disturbed, and hurt) that someone would see a naked child and think something bad about it. That there must be something terrible going on. That the parents must be at best neglectful. That the children themselves must be perpetrators of some sort. Damn them.
I'm angry that I felt driven to that kidjacked site. That I had to read (and believe) the worst of the world (its officials), and be informed that bad things happen to good parents. I'm infuriated that this stupid occurrence could change my life, and change the lives of my children. That they may come to a conclusion that they should be ashamed of themselves for living their lives in a happy and free way.
Damn them.
I'm angry that this could change who I am. That I question my faith in humanity. That my belief and faith that gentleness and kindness and love are the way to live your life, and that nothing bad can touch you if you live in such a way is shaken.
That there are practices and instruction for "officials" on how to manipulate children and unsuspecting parents into saying the wrong thing. Not many things make me more angry than "turning words around", and then leaving no room for explanation.
I'm angry that all of these things are coming up just because one person said "that will be/could be an issue." whatever the hell they said.

I've got some serious praying (in my way, as Laura said not too long ago) to do to figure this thing out. To figure out how to go on.
Of course we are encouraging the children to wear clothes while they are in their very own backyard now. Trev wants to know why. I don't know what to tell him. I know that some people (to think kindly of it) are modest. But I don't know why. I don't know why they would look at a streaking babe and think "wicked" thoughts. My children don't understand that. They've not been taught that they have anything to be ashamed of. They don't poke and prod. It just is what it is. Like natives, actually.
Of course I'll eventually talk to the new neighbors (hopefully not ones that would rather call dcfs than speak to their next door neighbors!). Though I don't know what I'll say.
There is a line in a song by Cowboy Junkies that says
"But I won't let it change me,
not if I can.
I'd rather believe in love.
I give it away,
as much as I can
To those that I am fondest of."

So I've got some questions to answer. I need to uncover what I need to learn, and take with me the best of it, and get back to living my life happily.
And not let it change who we are.

6 comments:

whimsigal said...

Stephanie! (((((hugs)))))

What horrible people there are in the world! I am so terribly sorry, friend, that you are going through something like this. You're so right, it's a sad, sad state of affairs when one's children can't run around buck naked in their own yard. For god's sake, mine are in their underwear all day and I have to beg them to get dressed when we go somewhere. The thought that someone would call child services about that is really frightening.

If I were you, I would just be honest with your kids. Tell them that, at least for a while, naked is for inside the house, and clothes are for outside. Maybe they could wear bathing suits outside or something. Geez, it feels wrong even as I type it. Why should you have to compromise on something like that?

For us, I do insist that the boys wear at least underwear outside. I have told them that as people get older they get embarrassed by seeing others running around naked and so when they're inside they can be naked all the time but outside means some clothes. Maybe that's wrong, I don't know, but your situation, I just don't get it.

What's your relationship like with NC's mom? Just wondering if it's possible that she's the one with the problem with nakedness. Forgive me for being suspicious! I tend to see controversy everywhere.

Stephanie, keep your head up. You're raising some beautiful, intelligent children. Go with your gut and do whatever you think is best. They're your kids, not your neighbors and not the government's. Iain would say to tell them to go to the dickens!

I'll be thinking of you a lot today, friend.

Stephanie said...

Oh, the thought crossed my mind. I felt like she was sizing me up a bit. (Trying to peak around the corners to see what sort of state my home was in. Not blatantly peeking, mind you, just stretching her eyes, and trying to.)
But she also told the potential new neighbors (and I believe her) "Well, they're naturalists. My daughter and I mentioned having a problem with nakedness to her, and she keeps them clothed when they're in the front yard. I think that if you just speak to her about it they'll try to be helpful." or something similar.
Naturalists makes me laugh, it sounds like we attend nudist camps. Which I never have. Dh and I are never naked.... except when we find ourselves in lack of a clean towel after a shower and go streaking in search of one.
Anyway, I spose "naturalists" is pretty acurate.
Oh how I wish my home were in perfect order when she came over!
These sorts of situations are funny - there is such a process to them. anguish, terror, anger, frustration, resistance, rebelliousness, on and on.
I'll probably have a lot more to say on this subject!
Thanks for your support, friend.
It is truly very appreciated.

Lerend Zonder School said...

It is very sad that always have "big brother" watching over us isn't it? That if your not of the "norm" your looked at suspiciously. I know there are a lot of creeps in the world, but what happened to innocent until PROVEN guilty?

I'll put out my vibes that those people don't move in next door to you, if they are already gossiping about you to the neighbors, what might come next?

Thinking about you guys!

KMDuff said...

I'm so sorry to hear that you are having neighbor problems. It is totally ridiculous and beyond my comprehension how people could consider that something to call dcfs about. The 15 tips on the kidjacked site were enlightening though, thanks for sharing that link.

Aubrey said...

Steph,
It just makes my heart sick that you (well, really all of us) have to fret over this.
It has been on my mind for the past few months and am hoping to come up with some answers of my own. What I keep coming back to though, what you stated in your blog, that I can't live in fear. Fear is the catalyst for these undesirable situations to occur. I must live authentically and my children must be able to live authentically.
You are an incredible woman, friends, and most especially, mother. Please know I'll always have your back!!
Love,
Aubrey

Stephanie said...

Aubrey - thanks for your kind words. They were much appreciated tonight when wrapping up today's post.
(another really shitty day)
Thanks all of you for your support, I appreciate it so much.