If asked to pick a single character trait that I found most important in a person, I am unsure of what I would pick, even after some pondering. After aquatic contemplation, the word that keeps returning to the forefront of my mind is loyalty.

That I respond to loyalty assuredly follows directly out of the marked lack of loyalty during my childhood. As a child I was neither mature nor experienced enough to distinguish between the one adult who was truly loyal to me, the few adults who notionally loyal to me, and the abusers who were loyal only to evil. Rather than admit to the evil, of course they spoke of their loyalty, along with their piety, their holiness, and their righteousness.

While it took me decades to be able to name their iniquity, it only took me a few times before I recognized that their actions were never in my best interest. I suppose people can be loyal to things and I was definitely treated like a thing but I was a thing to be used and then discarded. Before I had the vocabulary to describe it, I had learned that I needed to be useful if I was to survive. That still feels nothing like loyalty to me.

Which is not to say that I was completely ignored. While that is abuse in its own right, I felt that it would have been preferable and did everything I could to be ignored. Instead, like the nail that stands up, I was beaten back into place. From this I learned that they were loyal, just not to me. Rather, they were loyal to the abusers and their abuse.

I have seen loyalty misused but I would still rather be loyal.


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