Side effects of the registry
Written by Phoebe . . .
I am a wife. I am a mother. I work a full-time job as well as side jobs to generate income. I am a volunteer with a non-profit and in my church. I am an advocate for reforming laws. And – I am a built-in Uber for my child who has to be a million different places, seemingly at the same time. What is it like to be a family member of someone on the registry? At times, very lonely. At times, full of guilt. Guilt that you can do all the things you want and need to do, but your family member can’t due to the restrictions. What’s it like? It stinks. I have no other fancy words to explain it. Simply being assigned to the registry is not necessarily the most difficult part. My experience over the years is that the side effects which come with the registry are also quite challenging.
Every time the doorbell rings or there’s a knock at my door, I experience a moment of panic. It is the assumption that the sheriff is at my door. And if they are, it’s okay because we are not doing anything wrong. They come by to verify our address about every other month, but the sheer thought of them showing up just freaks me out. I plea with my friends and family to please call before they show up at the door. I don’t even care if they call from the driveway! Just please don’t ring my doorbell unannounced because of the anxiety it causes me.
Many people don’t see the side effects from being on the registry. I certainly do. I have. I am part of that collateral damage. Every place my family wants to go comes with a checklist. We do a mental rundown of the legal restrictions to see if this is a place we can go. Many of those family-oriented places are No-Gos. The restriction of not being able to attend church as a family is a tough one for me personally. Two years ago the a NC Senator running for Attorney General pushed through a law that now restricts residents from attending church (with nursery/childcare facilities), a place where forgiveness, healing, and reform happen. Not having my husband with me has been extremely difficult, to the point that I have sat in tears many a Sunday over it.
Animosity sometimes sets in with me. I work really hard to overcome it, but sometimes I am bitter. Is it fair to our child that his father can’t be there for him as he grows up? Years and years of missing school plays, sports events, music concerts, and award recognitions. Is it fair that I am the person having to do all the leg work that my husband is restricted from – pediatrician visits, school conferences, drop-off/pick-up to school. I feel like parents look at me with that, “Why is her husband never here” look? That is the worst. Don’t get me wrong – I will do everything in the world for my child, but not having a partner to help keeps the responsibility completely on me at all times.
I have put up a wall. I wear an invisible mask. I keep people at arm’s length and hide parts of my life that I don’t want them to know. Rarely do I let people get to know me beyond a surface level. Listen up – I am not a stuck-up person. I am just guarded. I stand off to the side. I don’t share personal information or volunteer things about myself. I fear people knowing my family story. I fear the questions they may ask, or worse – their biased opinions and judgement. I am ultra-protective of my family to protect them from harm, gossip, and accusations. So, yes, I shut down and only let a select few into my social circle. I am very blessed to have friends who have been by my side, shared my hurts, and celebrated my victories. However, the registry has put up these walls around me and caused me to become a more guarded person.
So here’s the thing. I didn’t write this to scare you or depress you. I wrote this because it is raw, true emotion for me. Yet, with anything, there should be a maturing process along the way. I have grown. I am not the same person I was years ago. Yes, a side of me is far more guarded, but I have also proven my strength. My faith. I have found who my true friends are. I have found an ability to talk to people going through a really tough time in their lives because I have been there. Accept where you are, then find the good in it. Do not focus on the negative. Do not crawl in a hole that you can’t crawl out of it. The past is the past – and how you move forward is what matters. You are not alone.
You must be the change you wish to see in the world.
Be a Change Agent…
Be a Change Agent…
2 thoughts on “Side effects of the registry”
Damn post put me to drinking! I remember the first time I heard the door bell ring after prison. It hadn’t been very long since I had upgraded the system and installed new push buttons on each door. They even had some illumination to them (which was something I’d always envied about push buttons on other houses since I was a young boy). Well, after that first experience being struck silly dumb and terrified out of my mind–hearing the dinga-dinga-dinga-ling peeling sharply throughout the house (it turned out to be a much too excited FedEx delivery boy who must have found some twisted delight pressing my button in rapid succession for an unnecessary fusilade of sonic pulsations bouncing sharply off of every square and angle of my humble, little home), I had already decided what I was going to do. After receiving my package, trembling and throbbing from heel to head, and looking, no doubt, to the delivery boy as disheveled as anyone he’d met all day, I went straight way to the brand new ringer mechanism hanging on the hallway wall, opened it up, and disabled the system by removing its leads. Nevermore would I hear my doorbell ring. And I’ve no plan to hear any such doorbell for the remainder of my life.
There is far too much collateral damage implicated by law that renders human of lessor import than a people’s machine database. To advertise world wide the worst of one’s flock is incredibly short sighted. The kidnapping of poor Jacob happened in 1989 and talk began about prevention by electronic tracking of certain persons of known predilections. It was thought by the profile communities a correlation could be made between two distinct behaviors, child molestation and kidnapping. Their reasoning surrounded each person who commits these distinct offenses has common issue with recognizing the violation personal sovereignty and no empathy for others. Therefore tracking these individual persons as a whole would reduce not merely sexual assault and kidnapping but murder too, by interdiction of the psychological variety. That is the real intent behind the registration form and process. Those forms do implicate speech rights, most prominently the right to remain silent. A citizen and individual liberty to be free of needless gov intrusion via the database. Some wouldn’t like that reality, recognizing who that is is important because these are no friends of liberty atall.