Nitty Scott On What Independence Means To Her
The ingenious Nitty Scott writes about her feelings on what it means to be independent.
It all started when I was 17-years-old, looking out of a rainy window in my bedroom. The black nimbus of depression I had successfully dodged all my life finally took over and formally introduced itself. I had known shit was dysfunctional from the moment I was old enough to grasp it. But all my life up until that point, I had navigated my heavy childhood trauma by being an overachiever and over-compensator — a “LOOK AT ME NOT BEING A STATISTICAL PRODUCT OF MY ENVIRONMENT!” — kind of kid. I even remember when an elementary school counselor once told me that my parent’s ugly divorce “wasn’t my fault” — I looked at her blankly and said, “I know!” Offended that I was actually expected to blame myself for the shitty world the adults around me had created. In my mind, I kept repeating to myself, “I am not troubled! I am not bound for failure!”
I was able to maintain this attitude for a long time, well into high school. Despite repeated sexual abuse, a revolving door of toxic step-dads and step-moms, nine different schools by 11th grade and parents with dogmatic, conflicting religious beliefs — I still managed to “not act out”. I was a thriving creative writing major at an art school, working at Disney World as a character performer and truly striving to make everyone around me proud. But my gentle spirit was broken by a final injustice; the straw that broke my back and sent me spiraling into deep psychological distress.
I was gay—bisexual, really—but we won’t unpack that and that was simply unacceptable in any of my multiple households.
I scrambled to hide my relationships and “unnatural” feelings as much as possible. I was even blackmailed on several occasions by people who threatened to tell my parents. I was always nervous of being outed, targeted by teachers and an angry ex-boyfriend who felt insulted by my orientation. I couldn’t even talk about it without revealing myself in the process. My grades suffered, I crashed my car, lost my whimsical Disney job, started to experiment with drugs and wrote a lot of poetry and music. Sitting through arbitrary church sermons became unbearable, and I struggled to understand how God could create people to be something He fundamentally hated. That black nimbus clouded over me and continued to unravel as I shrunk into the terrified little girl I had hidden behind trophies and straight A’s all those years. My parents eventually found out about my orientation and all but literally killed me. I was shamed, physically and emotionally punished, manipulated and humiliated by the people I loved most – for something that even I understood was way beyond my control. It was unbelievable that so many things no longer seemed to count for anything either; like my character, bright future, or good heart. I couldn’t take the bigoted rejection and became suicidal.