When I was 8, my family moved from our home state in the midwest to the east coast, where we are now. We moved because of my father's job at the USDA: back home he researched in a university, but he was moved to a government site near a university campus to research under a published scientist in my father's field.

The move was the most scarring experience of my life. Before it, I was a relatively well-adjusted, outgoing kid, then I morphed to a shy, introverted messed-up weirdo in the space of 3 months. I wasn't old enough to understand how many changes moving would put me through: but I had an idea.

Learning that I would be leaving my hometown, my extended family (we were, still are, very closely knit), my friends, and everything I had ever experienced scared me signifigantly. I didn't know it then, but by moving from a small midwestern town, where my parents trusted that I would be ok (until the Matthew Shepard thing), to a more densely populated suburb on the east coast, my parents were giving up a large amount of freedom for my sister and I. In some ways, my town lacked things that others took for granted like large shopping centers. But that is a small price to pay for a lot more freedom. I remember visiting my cousins and being amazed at how they could walk anywhere they wanted, if they told my aunts and uncles first. I had to ask my parents for a ride wherever I wanted to go, and my parents were reluctant to have me go anywhere. The move made them more worried because of the higher crime rate on the east coast.

But it was more than freedom that moving took away. It also robbed me of confidence, replacing it instead with fear. I became intensely germaphobic, and used to wash my hands until they were raw. I developed paranoia, and thought that everyone could hear what I thought (I still, after years of therapy, haven't quite gotten over it).

Moving alienated me from myself and everyone else. It created rifts where there were none before. Saying this, I now pose a question to you all:

What Fucked You Up?