She comes from a devout Mormon family (Note: the founder of Mormonism preached polygamy, and its doctrine opposed feminism, even coffee, alcohol, and premarital sex). Her mother preferred sons to her husband; her father was paranoid. Control, mental disorders, hate the government, schools, hospitals, children have concussions, legs on fire, and heads are all refusing to be sent to the hospital, fantasizing about the end of the world, keen on digging underground to store food, gasoline, and ammunition; brother is addicted to violence and hates women Born to PUA, he repeatedly beat his sister's head into the toilet and threatened to kill her, but his parents turned a deaf ear and never protected her.
She had no registered permanent residence before the age of 17, and had not attended school for a day. Of the 7 brothers and sisters, 3 have a doctorate degree and walked out of the mountains; 4 are almost illiterate, financially and emotionally controlled by their parents.The family is polarized, and the rift deepens.
She is Tara. She was born in a native family full of control, violence, and brainwashing. She helped her father sort out metal trash every day in her childhood and bear the mental trash thrown out by her family at any time, so she claimed to be a "girl who crawled out of the trash."Now, she is a writer and historian with outstanding academic achievements and basically healthy mental and psychological conditions.
▲Tara and the cover of the book "When you fly to your mountain like a bird"
The original family was so bad, how did Tara become who she is now?
There are both Ph.Ds and illiteracy in the family. Where is the root cause of this situation?
For ordinary people who didn't get a "good card" at the beginning, what is the inspiration of Tara's story?
Today, after reading Tara’s autobiography "You Are Like a Bird to Fly to Your Mountain" twice, the author will share with you her painful journey of "Nirvana".I hope that everyone who has been disappointed and hurt by the original family can find a path to self-transformation from her story.
*The following is described in the author's first-person tone
#Educated de @tarawestover.
Una bufetada feta llibre.
"It's strange how you give the people you love so much power over
— Cristina Ribera (@cristinariberat)
▲ Tara’s childhood
Childhood without a normal life
Car accident, burn, under control
I use learning to escape chaos
My mother's name is Faye. She grew up in a town. My grandfather was a postman and my grandmother was the best tailor in the area, so my mother had a decent and generous life since childhood.There are the most decently tailored and most beautiful clothes, velvet jackets, wool suits can not be worn; going to church to worship, in school and community activities, family origin is no better.
But when choosing marriage, my mother seemed to have to escape from this life and married a young man who almost came from another world, my father Jean.He has never been to school since he was a child. He grew up on a farm on the mountain. He is rebellious and strongly opposes women's work. He will never allow his daughter to wear feminine clothes, otherwise he will be a "prostitute", and patriarchal thinking will reach its peak.But in my mother's eyes, he is "full of vitality, strong body, full of air, serious and serious and independent of his peers."
The grandmother and the whole family didn't like the father, and tried their best to oppose the marriage, thinking that he was too rude and the family was wrong.In order to marry his father, his mother and his family gradually separated, completely escaped from the original world, and settled on the mountain with his father.
Since they got married, things have started to go in strange directions.Father became the master of the family, threw away the phone, did not replace his driver’s license when he expired, and did not buy insurance for the car, while his mother became his follower, isolating himself from the illusion and paranoia of his father, and our family gradually Divide boundaries from the mainstream world.
1 Distrust the hospital
The first step is not to go to the hospital to have a baby. Six of the seven children were delivered by a private midwife at home, and the father did not apply for a birth certificate for us, and had never been vaccinated since childhood.
In the second step, the family member is sick and cannot go to the hospital.Only use mother's herbs and essential oils, as well as prayers.Because "Doctors and pills will not save you, but will only kill you", "Medicine is a special poison that will never be discharged from the body. It will slowly corrode you for the rest of your life, and it will be deformed when you have a child ten years later. "And the grandmother who made an appointment with the doctor was also reprimanded by her father as an "informed participant in the Satan plan". Even after I took the medicine after college, my mother sent me herbal medicine overnight and asked me to insist on taking it. antibiotic".
The third step, severe trauma can not go to the hospital.We have experienced two serious car accidents, both because my father insisted on driving fast late at night.Once a car hit a high-voltage power line directly, the children had broken noses, broken teeth, and cracked their bodies. The mother had dark circles under the eyes because of a severe head injury. But the father said, "The doctor can't help her anyway. In another car accident, my neck was injured and almost paralyzed, but my mother called an "energy expert" and I was asked to "spend a few hours every day to imagine an energy bubble, imagine I am healed".
I sorted out waste materials for my father. I was pierced into the knee by a long nail and made a big cut. My father told me to limp and go home to find my mother to stop the bleeding. My mother painted me plant essential oils and used the original "homeopathy". "Close your eyes, put your left hand on the wound, and click on your right fingers. The treatment is over.
The older brother Luke helped his father weld the iron sheet, but because the jeans were stained with gasoline and suddenly caught on fire, part of the leg burned to death. His father alone put out the ignited hay on the mountain, put his brother in the car, and let him drive down the mountain to find his mother. Treat the wound.When my mother was not at home at the time, when I was 10 years old, I had to empty the trash bin, fill it with ice water, put ice cubes, and let my brother put his leg in (not to worry about infection).Throughout the night, the mother used "homeopathy" to ask God if the wound was infected, and then cut off the damaged skin with a knife.The father warned all the children not to let the government know about their brother’s burns, otherwise all the children would be taken away, and the brother would be sent to the hospital to "defect and die."
Almost everyone has been seriously injured, but fortunately no one died.The mother also used herbs, essential oils and homeopathy to "cure" her father's severe burns. She was embraced as a god by people who did not trust the hospital around her. She made a lot of money and became a wealthy businessman with a radius of tens of miles.
2 Don't trust schools, governments
Several of my older brothers went to school, but they were taken back home by their father. I never went to school for one day because "schools are only brainwashing."My elder brother Taylor loves to read and is happy, but he is driven to work in a metal scrap factory by his father every day. He wants to go to university and ask for permission, but his father said:
"University is an extra school for those who are too stupid to learn in the first round."
"University professors have two kinds, one knows that they are lying, the other thinks they are telling the truth... one knows that they are paid by the devil, and the other is very arrogant and thinks that they are wiser than God. ."
"A man can't live on books and waste paper. You will become the head of the family in the future. How can you feed your wife and children on books?"
But my mother did not completely refuse us to study. She educates our children at home and lets us read books on herbal medicine, mathematics, history and science. Sometimes she takes us to the library to study. As long as we finish our work at home, we can also study.The grandmother in a middle-class family also supports our studies. She will encourage my brother and I to "go to college."
Taylor loves school more than loves his family.He looked for various time to read books, and used all the money he saved to buy trigonometry and calculus textbooks for self-study, but his father did everything possible to prevent him from studying. When he saw that he was not working, he asked "what are you doing?" Tyler was assigned twice as much work, but Taylor remained unmoved and insisted on going after reading the book.
When I was 10 years old, Taylor really left home, left Dashan, and went to college.Later, Taylor became one of the three doctors in the family.
After Taylor left, my father started to direct me to do the work in the waste factory, but these tasks were heavy and boring, and my idea of "I want to go to school" became stronger, especially when the family was seriously injured and could not get effective treatment.I always envision Taylor’s school life, so I also found time to read.The father, who was afraid that I would be "knowledged and brainwashed by school", also tried every means to prevent me from studying, kept working for me, tried to distract me, and told me "a woman's position should be at home."
But I still didn't stop the pace of learning, studying the only religious books and abstract articles over and over again.
Looking back, I find that this is my education, self-education that will have an important impact.The skill I'm learning is crucial, and that is to read patiently what I don't understand.This skill also helped me when I entered Brigham Young University at the age of 17, I slowly learned mathematics and history that I didn't know before, and never failed to get excellent grades.
▲Tara in Cambridge University
My brother became a college student when I was 15 and I decided to escape the family for the first time
Since Tyler went to university, he has been in contact with me on the phone, and I started working in the town shop when I was 15 years old.Taylor encouraged me:
"As long as you live under Dad's roof and he doesn't allow it, it will be difficult for you to leave. If you drag on for a year, you will not be able to go in this life. I think for you, this is the worst place...Go University, Brigham Young University accepts children who are educated at home. There is a world outside, and once Dad stops instilling his opinions in your ears, the world will look very different."
The reason for not letting children go to school is because it is easier to be controlled. Taylor was the first person to see through the father's intention of not letting us go to school.
So, while working part-time, I bought a college admission guide to prepare for the ACT exam.I learned to solve equations for the first time, I learned that letters can also represent numbers, and trigonometric functions.Because I really couldn’t understand sine and cosine, I asked my mother for help. She thought she was obligated to teach me, but after spending three hours solving a question with the wrong answer, she admitted that "all the knowledge I learned was forgotten." I thought. , It's over, the university will definitely not enter.
Reluctantly, I asked Taylor for help with my last hope. He was about to go to Purdue University for a Ph.D. He taught me the principles of mathematics patiently over and over again.At this time, I seemed to see that the university opened a little door for me.
I took the ACT test twice. In the first test, I didn’t know how to use the answer sheet, and I couldn’t concentrate because of the rustle of pages turning and the sound of pencil writing (because this was the first time I sat in the classroom test). I scored 22 points.Seeing this result, my father was irritable and yelled that I should move out and insisted on paying the rent. He successfully took away one-third of the tuition that I saved from working and tried to control me through economic sanctions.
In the second ACT test, I scored 28 points and was successfully accepted by Brigham Young University, and finally I was able to leave home.My mother hugged me, and my father looked happy: "This proves at least one thing. Our family education is as good as public education." But this kind of "gentleness" was only a flash in the pan, and soon he started ranting at me again. , Furious, this is the real him.
Only I know that when I can enter university, I can’t prove that it’s right not to go to school. The reading habit cultivated by my mother when I was a child, the encouragement of my brother, and the education of myself under pressure are the key points. .If I have something to do with my father, it is the car accident and leg injury when I was a child. If I continue to obey my father's crazy control, I might really die.
▲Tara at Brigham Young University (picture from: criticsatlarge.ca)
From illiterate to college student at the age of 17, I found the terrible family imprint
When I came to Brigham Young University, I thought I really got rid of my family, but often in the process of attending classes and socializing, I found the family brand that had already formed on my body.Compared with my classmates who grew up in a normal family, I keep realizing every day: I don't belong here.
1 Father and brother patriarchal brainwashing: wearing feminine clothes is improper, frivolous, and heretic
I am wearing a loose coat and large men’s jeans, and my roommate is wearing a white camisole with "juicy" (juicy, English slang for a woman who is sexy), which is obviously beyond my tolerance.The first moment I saw her, I would subconsciously stay away from them, because my father said that they are "infidels" and their "immoral" behavior would infect me.I didn't even realize that they were dressed like American girls.
2 I have never attended high school and I don’t know what the course is.
In the first class, I entered the wrong classroom and broke into the senior class. I didn't understand what the teacher said "senior" (senior). I asked her "there are also classes for seniors". ?" Later, I walked most of the campus to understand the numbers on the curriculum schedule. It turned out that this represented the classroom number.At this time, all the freshman courses I should choose are already full.
3 Severe lack of common sense, almost zero basic knowledge of humanities, making a big joke
I have a "American History".I thought this course would be easy, because my father had talked about the founding fathers, but the professor didn’t mention a word about these people, but talked about “philosophical foundations” and the works of Cicero and Hume. I have never heard of these names. .In the reading test in the next class, the "civic humanism" and the "Scottish Enlightenment" I saw were all like books. There is no doubt that I did not answer a single question correctly.
The most embarrassing was a "Western Art" class. The professor was showing a painting with a line of small italics below. I couldn't understand it, so I raised my hand like other students and asked the teacher what the word meant.As soon as I finished speaking, there was a suffocating silence in the class. The professor pressed his lips and said, "Thank you for asking this question," without answering.Like a wooden person, I bowed my head and didn't dare to move. Until the end of get out of class, my roommate said to me: "You shouldn't joke about that word, it's not a joke."
I waited until everyone left and went straight to the computer room to look up the meaning of "Holocaust" (specifically referring to the Holocaust of the Jews during World War II). I was shocked, shocked by my ignorance, and shocked by this terrible history. Obviously, I never understood it since I was young. Six million Jews suffered misfortune, but the story my father told me was six people.
My ignorance even made me fail several exams.Because I didn't know at all, I should read textbooks for review before the exam until my roommate reminded me that I must read textbooks.So I study until 3 am every day, as I did when I was a teenager, reading things that I didn’t understand patiently. My grades began to improve from C to B, and finally to A. I finally hope to get a scholarship. I am really too poor. .
▲Tara on campus (picture from: BBC.com)
Master's degree in Cambridge and Harvard
Isolated by my family, I finally brave myself to be myself at the age of 27
I learned an important thing in college: seek foreign aid, and then rely on my own efforts to seize all opportunities for education.
I continue to meet "noble people" who helped me, get subsidies for poor students, and later get the opportunity to go to Cambridge and Harvard for further studies, and then get a master's and doctorate in Cambridge at the age of 27. I believe this is all related to this.
However, at the same time, taking government subsidies, going to school across the ocean, obtaining a high degree, and even taking the initiative to take medicine when sick, in my paranoid and controlling father, is equivalent to "being attracted to and brainwashed by the government", which is simply rebellious. , Should even be expelled from the family, and the mother who has always been a follower, also changed her previous support for me, stood on the side of my father, and attracted my other brothers and sisters who did not go to school and worked for my parents, hoping that I would admit myself "Occupy the mind by demons" and accept their transformation.
At the beginning, because I have been indoctrinated by my parents in this family for 17 years, my heart is deeply rooted in their thoughts, and I am "betrayed"家庭, "Betrayed" Mormon doctrine and full of guilt and self-blame, and even as soon as he returned to his home on the mountain, he would involuntarily obey his father's control and change back to the cowardly and innocent self when he was a child.
But then, I finally resisted, I said: "I love you, but I can't listen to you, sorry, Dad".
I believe that I gain the awareness and ability to resist because I have learned more and more knowledge.Through reading books and consulting materials, I understand a little bit that my father's paranoia, mania, and unreasonableness are not just because he is a Mormon. There is another reason that he has bipolar disorder: always put his beliefs in safety. Before, I was always paranoid to believe that I was right.Even after experiencing two car accidents that nearly killed the whole family, as well as the children's successive burns and falls, I still insisted on believing that I was right.Even showing a little love for a child by accident is fleeting.
Understanding this knowledge may make me sympathize with my father, but it is more angry and scarred children who pay the price.
And this price is not only physical damage, but also spiritual concessions.As a girl, I never believed in myself, never had a sense of self-esteem, was violently treated by my brother, broke my teeth, and no one protected me. All I could do was smile to cover up the pain and embarrassment and pretend that this was an ordinary sibling. joke.I panic when praised by others, but I am more used to being cruel.
And all my struggles, and my years of study, have always been to allow myself to obtain such a privilege: to see and experience the truth that transcends my father, and use the truth to construct my own thoughts and resist the mental control of my parents.I began to believe that the ability to evaluate multiple ideas, multiple histories, and multiple perspectives is the core of my creativity.If I give in, I will lose more than an argument, I will lose control of my thoughts.
I sorted out my growing up experience from childhood, corrected the cruel memories that I had glorified, recorded the history of self-doubt and self-depreciation, and recorded the coldness and unreasonableness of my parents, and the one I have been looking for throughout my life. Carefully record it and write it into a book called "Educated (Chinese name: You When Like a Bird to Fly to Your Mountain)".
▲Tara shares her autobiography with everyone
I want to use this book to draw a line with my past self and my original family-I have accepted the "forever rift with my father" and no longer obey and cater because of my family relationship.I am now a new self. I have learned to make decisions for myself, pursue academic peaks, drink coffee, see a doctor and take medicine, wear a beautiful dress, travel with friends, and believe that I am a shining gold.
More importantly, I am more determined:
Only education, and only persevering self-education, is the only way to break through the shackles of family and spiritual cage, so that I can have freedom like a bird and fly to the mountain that belongs to me only.
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