I spent most of my life being low key rebellious. Sure, it started with taking the sharpest pencils from the pot in primary school and squireling them away from the rest of the kids, but I like to think I got a bit more hardcore during my 12 years of schooling. Really though, I just skived a lot during my last few years of school (I once missed 16 GCSE French lessons in a row. I'm still pretty proud of that) and I had a right mouth on me (shocker, I know). Truth be told, my rebellions at school did stay very low beneath the radar. Truth be told, I suppose they mostly did at home too.
I lived with domestic violence from being 8 until I was 15. Nobody knew what happened in that house, apart from those who lived there. My life was extremely well controlled and governed by rules that I understood. I knew how to keep my head down. I knew what I had to do to survive and to just live just crisis to crisis. I was contained. I was a pressure cooker. I was a disaster waiting to happen.
And that pressure cooker exploded the day we left, my 15th birthday. Overnight, the rules to my world disappeared and I lost my inhibitions. Some needed to be lost- I stopped caring what people thought of my clothing choices and how I spoke and what I said. I stopped taking crap from people, full stop. I just didn't care at all. Other inhibitions I lost are ones we have for a reason- I took stupid risks and did all manner of dangerous things.
I craved attention in the years after we left, because I'd gone from living under so much scrutiny and control to not really understanding my place in the world and feeling invisible, and that made me... flighty. I was like a helium balloon cut free and 10 years down the line I'm still learning the self restraint people usually learn in their early teens.
Of course, we all know what happened when I took one too many risks: I ended up in hospital too many times, and eventually I ended up in longer term. From being told it was likely I'd be in for 18 months right up until my discharge, which came much later than 18 months later, my life was back to being controlled by someone else.
It might have been with different intentions but it sent sirens blaring and panicked me more than anything had in the last several years. The larger choices in life were taken away from me, as I was forcibly detained, and the small things, the things I could control, were analysed- what I wore, how much I swore, how much Pepsi Max I drank (I swear, at this point my blood is made of the stuff). So I rebelled. And those rebellions are probably a good part of why I was in for so long.
I'm getting better with authority, but I still struggle when the authority comes from men. It's funny, because when a person says they're afraid of spiders because of the massive ones on the other side of the world (Australia: I'm looking at you), that's pretty universally respected. But when a person says they're afraid of men or of being controlled, it's dismissed off the bat. Not all men, not all men, is all we hear. Well not all sharks bite people, but swimmers still leave the ocean when one arrives.