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  • pridehsmith

Scary or Inspiring?

Updated: Aug 28

After my father died. Life got really rough for my mother. Having the eight kids at home, no support, and a mountain of business debt from my dad's business. Mom didn't really know what to do. She wasn't in a place mentally to handle the pain and chaos of the situation and my older siblings were left to be the parents. My older sister Charlie became the mom of the house while things became chaotically balanced.

My mom sold our home in Oklahoma, packed us all up, and moved us to the middle of nowhere. Bayfield, Colorado. She bought a scary old home on 10 acres in the middle of the rocky mountains. This is the place where my journey into creativity began.

I guess she figured, "How much trouble can my children get into in the middle of nowhere?" Had she only known, she may have chosen differently. I on the other hand wouldn't change a thing. Sure, I wish my dad had never died and that I had a father there to teach me to be a man. I wish my mother had been mentally strong enough to raise us as a kind loving mother, but this journey is what made me who I am today. The struggles and pain that racked my mother's life were heavy-handedly passed along. This journey built all of the creativity that a messed-up childhood can bring.

As I grew to an age where I really started to build memories, I just remember being free. Free to do whatever I wanted as long as I didn't make my mother mad. Free to roam the countryside as a feral child. Free to take full advantage of nobody being around. At least in my mind. I could hide in the trees and be as alone as I wanted to be or I could choose to be in the house getting beat up by my rough older brothers and sisters. I was free to turn this giant scary home into my play place. And that I did. The home was two stories with a basement and a terrifying attic. There was a fireplace in the front living room that warmed that single room and a scary old coal furnace in the basement that heated the rest of the house. there was a wood-burning stove in the dining room that often had chimney fires and another fireplace in the master bedroom that made for the best top ramen in the world. It was a truly magical home. Filled with scary ghost stories and memories to be made.

This was the freest place I've ever been in my whole life. This home and property in the middle of nowhere became my nudest colony. Yep, that's right. With nobody around to stop me, those stupid uncomfortable clothes were a thing of the past. My toddler mind was free as a bird. The second I could break free of the grasp of a family member trying to keep my clothes on me, I'd streak the yard leaving a trail of clothing in my wake a hundred yards long as I disappeared into the trees. They couldn't run fast enough and for the most part, they finally gave up. Prude the Nude they called me. I had proudly earned that nickname.

I was one with the wilderness and this was my garden of Eden. To do with as I pleased.

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