Otherwise known as Something My Parents Did Not Believe In.
Oh, don’t get me wrong, they had some caution over what I read, but from a certain age they trusted me enough to think that if I was disturbed or concerned by something I read, that I would talk to them. A lot of the time they were right.
This lack of control over my reading taste probably went a long way towards helping me build the moral code I have now – I read books and I decided whether the character were right or not from quite a young age. It helped that my parents were quite moral people. Not in the conservative, controlling, traditional sense, but in the true sense, in that they believed that out of all the things society says is wrong, causing deliberate harm to another sentient being should be considered the worst.
This adult, ahead-of-my-age reading instilled concepts in me I wasn’t quite old enough to understand. My brain kept them aside from me till I reached the right level, and then there they were, ready to be considered. It’s where I came to the conclusion that sexual promiscuity was only immoral because people said it was, that it wasn’t inherently so if you were safe and careful not to break anyone’s heart, a belief I still hold as a married woman.
It’s how I came to the conclusion that the worst thing you could do to another person was rob them of their agency and free will, a belief I still hold so intensely that the idea of it nauseates me.
And it’s what gave me the moral strength to be myself, my strange, weird self, even when I was being tortured through school (more on that torture in later posts, readers). If my favourite characters could remain strong and true to what they knew to be right through the trials they went through, I could do it too.
Reading early, reading adult and reading often helped me turn into the strong person I am today. My moral code may not closely follow society’s, but I stick to it more strictly than many people who just do what they’re told.
I think I turned out alright.