December 27, 2017

X

Dear ex:
The holidays are hard for me, at least when it comes to Facebook memories. A lot of our interactions come up at this time, because this was the time of year that we decided to get together. I still remember the cold walk down to the community swimming pool and back where we set out an exhaustive list of ground rules.
No kissing till engaged.
No holding hands till engaged.
Why were we teenagers talking about engagement?

I think I was the first one to say those three words. I didn't want you to see them so I used a different language. I thought you had logged off, but you hadn't. What was I really saying? What did I really mean? I definitely didn't understand what those words meant, and I hadn't really experienced a lot of it in my own life. Everyone told me to give you a shot, everyone saw that you were head over heels for me. I decided that you had been a good friend for a while now, and I wanted to see what romance was like.

In hindsight, if I was taking things back I would start there. I would say something like: "you're a great friend, and I know you want a relationship with me. But I really am not in a good place yet."
Or, "I'm a 20 year old with the capacity for relationships of someone 10 years my junior. If you want to take a chance, I might break your heart."
Not that the warning would have made it any better, but it might help with the 'I told you so's.

Sometimes I want to ask you how you are doing, and how you feel. But I know that going there will just open wounds then I placed. It would be completely inappropriate, and downright evil.
I wish I could say that everything worked out, that somehow it would assuage my guilt.

But what am I guilty of?
Being young?
Being inexperienced in attraction?
Having just left a cult?
Not knowing what it meant to be turned on?
Never having had an intense physical connection to another person?
All of these things you knew, going in you already where aware of everything. Despite our age, you were the more mature worldly one.
While I was stumbling around in a dark foreign world, searching for my place and my role, you were getting an education. You were in the workplace. You knew where you were going and what you wanted out of life.

I don't know if you felt that way about me. I don't know if you know what that feels like yet, either.
I remember feeling stagnant in our relationship and asking for more. I remember propositioning you, and you being so afraid that you turned me down.
I remember how bad our first kiss was, and how the vodka only kind of helped. I remember wishing there was more, but not knowing what more was or how it felt.
I guess someone with more relationship experience would have had the words to describe this. Or maybe not? Has anyone else experienced this?
What is it when you feel a red flag but don't know what a red flag is. When you feel a distance, but don't have the ability to describe it.

I'm not saying I felt nothing. There were butterflies, there was an emotional connection, and a mental connection. You are my best friend in the whole world. You cared about me and you spent time showing that and it meant everything. I wanted to repay you, but I didn't know how. You didn't seem to want to move forward physically, and I didn't have anything else to give. I felt like a taker and I hated that.
But other things had begun changing as well. I didn't want to move back there. I wanted to go to college and get an education. I decided that I didn't want to have kids, especially not right away. I wanted a career, and I wanted to be making money and be independent.
Getting engaged to you would have meant an end to all of that. Maybe you didn't think so, but at that point in time I didn't know how to be in a relationship and be independent. And I don't think you did either. It was too close to move up there, I was beginning to like it down south.

I was finally feeling my sea legs, I was making friends. I felt like it was a place I could call home, but while you and your family had unconditionally welcome to me to yours, it wasn't the same.

I wish I had the words to explain all this back then. I wish I had known what was going on, before I found myself desperate and vulnerable.
Before I could put into words how much I dreaded you semi-proposing every other phone call, I allowed myself to run in the opposite direction.
It happened quickly... in a month, to be honest.
I wasn't honest with you, and I hurt you in more ways than one.
I wish I could have been more open when rebuffing your proposals. I wish I could have voiced how uncomfortable the idea of moving up there to be with you made me. Not because of you, but because of all the baggage.
I wish I could have voiced how it alienated me when your relatives were trying to convert me and you didn't want to leave even when I was begging you to.
I wish I could have said how little romance there was, and how your insistence on purity left me frustrated and confused.
When I would talk on the phone about breaking up, asking you how you would handle it, I guess I was trying my hardest to let you know how it wasn't working. And when you answered that you would lose it, I felt even more upset.
Yeah, we were saving ourselves, but I didn't feel like you wanted me as much.

I guess I went this way again because it feels like a picture got ripped in half. I want closure, if you would care to give it to me.
I want to know that you understand what brought about everything that happened.
I want you to know I am sorry, that I still go over 2012 in my mind, month by month and week by week.
I want you to know that I wish I had been able to express this.
I want you to know.
If knowing ever helped, I hope it does.

December 8, 2015

Broken

Its been almost a year, but something pushed me to write again.

The other night I was broken.  Deep, deep inside in a place I almost didnt know existed.
I refused to be "good" or "conscientious" as I told my mother exactly how I thought and felt about her.  I used words and situations that I would know hurt her, and I threw in a spicing of bad words to horrify her.  I literally didnt (and dont) care how she feels or what she will do about it.

What happened? 
I brought a situation to her attention that had to do with her life, something she had been a part of before she was married.  I asked her to look at the situation and to respond with human decency and added an article written by a religious person with thick biblical language.
Her response, in part, was that "(Jesus') words could go either way."

To recap, I sent her a very serious concern with a very biblical argument, and she posted one bible verse contradicting everything and declared that there was more than one way to interpret the Bible and she was going to choose her own interpretation, the facts be dammed.
I broke inside.

All my life there was ONE way, ONE interpretation, ONE right, and EVERYTHING else was wrong.  It was black unless it could be proven white without a shadow of a doubt.  There was no room for interpretation.  "Train the women to be wives" meant that I couldn't go to college and had to get married in order to fulfill my one life calling, that of my uterus.  "Honor thy father" meant that we had to obey everything, immediately, without question, and that our parents had the right to beat us, take from us, and otherwise mentally abuse and maim us as their "duty."
There was no wiggle room.  People who allowed interpretation were decried as "worldly" or "compromising" or "allowing sin into their lives," allowing it to make them less than 'I AM NOT ASHAMED OF THE GOSPEL.'

Maybe my mother thought that because I had been gone from home for over 5 years has made me forget the first 20 of my life with her.  Maybe she thinks I have forgiven the pain and torment I have lived through from their dedication to Pearl and Phillips and Gothard over human decency to their children.  Maybe she still doesn't know that before I was a teenager she had made me so angry and hurt that I vowed to not cry at her funeral and to be happy when it happened.  Maybe she doesn't know how many times putting a knife in her back occurred to me when she was berating me in the kitchen for something as simple as not scrubbing behind the sink and letting a light mold grow.  Maybe she never realized that I developed my sarcastic sense of humor that she so hated to deal with the fact that I had to tell myself I was a hired maid and not a family member in order to get through my late teens.  Maybe she forgot how strained out relationship was all my life with her, and maybe she doesn't think I KNOW WHY she treated me the way she did.  Maybe she didnt think I was smart enough to see her putting her frustrations with her husband onto the oldest child that looked, sounded, and acted like him.  I may have been female, but I was his and his mother's spitting image and still could be.

Maybe she was literally not thinking and said something she didnt think through, but that is not my mother.
I mentioned the insanity of her phraseology to her, and she STOOD BY IT.

I broke.  I lost all the common courtesy that holds in a lifetime of hurt and spiteful treatment and let her have it.  I cursed her blind obedience to a tyrant, for being a willing doormat, I blamed her for her refusal to leave because I know exactly what that felt like and the strength it took.  I accused her of being duplicitous all throughout my life if she really believed different than the patriarch she bowed to, and I blamed her for allowing us to be brainwashed by him through her.  I threw hurtful things in her past at her face, adding scripture references and asking if there was more than one interpretation for them. 
I still feel that empty pit contort inside as I shake my head at my brutal honesty, but I dont regret it.
I have spent 5 years trying to give her the benefit of the doubt.
I have spent 5 years trying to see her as a victim too.
I have spent more than 5 years trying to forgive her for her mistakes.

But this "mistake" is too big to let go or gloss over or forgive in the common sense.
Everything she ever says to me from now on, those words will echo after them.  I can no longer take anything she says at face value.  I dont know why this one little sentence is what did it, but she said it and she stood by it when I pointed it out to her.
I have been angry at my parents before, but I have never felt like this.  I wasnt taught to name emotions, but this screaming-sobbing-heap that I am inside feels similar enough to anger, I guess.  I am done with her, I regret asking for her assistance or getting favors.  I will pay all my debts and cut off all future ties.
I will call the house phone to speak with my siblings or the oldest's cellphone.  I will not cry of grief when she dies and I will be glad.
What I knew inside, innately, as a preteen still holds true, whatever it was.
I guess she should be fine with all this though, cause it could go both ways.

December 11, 2014

Matthew 18 vs Patriarchy

  Reading over the BJU Investigation Final Report by GRACE today I was particularly struck by the part of how Matthew 18 does or does not apply to cases like sexual abuse.
  As someone who has been victimized in other ways, many people have pushed Matthew 18 in my face with less than any grace as if I cannot speak about what I have endured or the things I suffered until I follow their rules for me.
       (And no, while Matt 18 may be a biblical rule for conflict resolution, making it a requirement before someone speaks publicly is a personal rule that you are putting on another person over whom you have no right to put rules.)

  I remembered, during my reading, a rather traumatic event in my teenage-hood where a semblance of Matthew 18 happened.  Like all flashbacks of my traumas, this is a memory captured in a picture frame, everything crystal clear and piled in emotion, the faces and words of people hanging in the air as the scene plays out in one still life painting...  
  During one of our home-church sessions with the only like-minded family that my father could find to agree with his bajillion rules (and even so they disagreed on things like headcoverings and speaking in church... somehow those werent so bad all the sudden?) my brother somehow got up the nerve to confront my father about his past actions and his lack of repentance for them as evidenced by his comportment around people and how he acted to his family and children.

  Like he always does, my father argued that his role as head was divine right and that no matter what serious sins he committed in the past (less than 3 years ago), he had definitely repented and no longer needed to act like he was repenting.  He was free to be the patriarch as was his right.
  Slowly, my mother and older sister and myself joined in the conversation, truly sharing our hearts and crying, all of us in tears, except my mother who sat stone-faced in the corner.  She shared the least of all of us, my thought is that her pain had reached the point where tears didnt even help any more.  My big brother with tears streaming down his face, the instigator of this confrontation, sat with his back to kitchen, glaring angrily at my father through his pain, hurt, and finally letting out the magma that had been seething for years.  My older sister sat closest to me and my mother.  She had found a way out, and was planning an escape.  She contributed only when the emotion in the room reached maximum levels.  And then there was me.  I sat looking alternately out at the dismal ice-scratched face of central PA through the lace curtains, and around at the room.  I had the foolish hope that this confrontation would mean something, that somehow our hearts and tears would result in the overthrow of the spell that the Pied Piper of patriarchy had put on our "head."
   First my brother, then the rest of us adult children (I was the youngest at 18 and a couple months), and briefly my mother reiterated the problems we had with how my father conducted himself as a commiter of serious sin.  Finally, the discussion included the father of the other family we met with that Sunday afternoon... the other "pastor," the only one allowed to talk in his family, the only other part of our "church."  

  And this is when the partiarchy overwhelmed Matthew 18.  Because they dont work together.  Because like oil and water, like bleach and a stain, one must win and one must submit or get the thread it clings to burned into disintegration.  The other patriarch scolded all of us, including our mother, for doubting my father's testimony on his own behalf.
  Obviously we were all bitter and had refused to forgive our father.  We were not being the proper subjects to his god-appointed ruling.  The other patriarch's earnest, pale face and shiny bald head turned mostly towards my older brother as the instigator, I see him sitting comfortably close to my father, at times reaching out a caring hand to touch my father on the shoulder as emphasis for what a stellar patriarch my father was.  My mother retreated further into the corner, I think if she could have turned green she would have faded into the pale sage of the walls.  My older sister left the room shaking her head at the pointlessness of it all.  My brother clenched his fist and his face turned bright red, anger coursing through him as he looked like once again he had been beaten/spanked as he was as a child.
  I dont remember my own reaction, but inside another part of me shriveled up and died.  It was pointless fighting against the patriarchs.  Of course we were in the wrong, of course we had not truly forgiven.  After all, what can stand against the combined wisdom and headship of god's appointed heads?  I remember driving home feeling more suicidal than before, if that was possible.  My father was not held to repentance or required to act like he needed to make amends.
   He would often tell me that he was owed respect and that he had no need to earn it, and then this situation only perpetuated his superiority.  We bowed and kissed the boot that stepped on our backs.


  Fast forward less than a year later, maybe even as little as 6 months, my oldest sister found a way out and ran away from home in the middle of the night.  I looked into her eyes 2 days before this and saw something that took the breath away from me.  I knew that she needed to leave, or she would die.  Still suffering from Stockholm Syndrome, I realized that nothing I believed in mattered as much as my oldest sister's life.  I disobeyed all my parent's beliefs and helped her escape.
  Not knowing my involvement, my parents feared that I might be influenced by my sister's "rebellion" and decided to send me to Bill Gothard's Journey To The Heart in Northwoods.  This was a prodigious expense for my poverty-level parents, but they made it happen in order to "save" me from the same future.
  As I was packing, my mother asked me to speak to Mr. G in a re-attempt of the final step of Matthew 18.  Her exact words were "He is the last man your father respects and who can hold him accountable."  Although I had to fight to get a personal audience with G, I attempted to help my mother, my family, and myself as well, still unaware of the contrary nature of patriarchy and biblical accountability.
G took the usual course and told me to find the sin in myself and to write down the things I was grateful for that my parents had taught me.  Instead of seeing this as the last-ditch attempt of a family to seek biblical resolution for a serious sin, he turned on me like a patriarch, defending his own, and demanded that I once again submit myself to patriarchal rules.
I left in tears, ashamed of myself, because that is how he wanted me to feel.

Fast forward to today:
  While I think that scripture has some significantly good things to teach us, I think that the first thing that needs to be demolished is patriarchy.  Like the Eye of Sauron, it permeates all corners of the Fundamentalist Conservative Worldview, and opposes any attempts at dissent, even though it is a cruel, evil, and twisted power.  Patriarchy will not allow Matthew 18 to work against themselves, and therefore they render it useless.  Any other biblical passages you bring up will also be shot down.  There is no accountability or reason allowed when it comes to men.  Sin and impurity and even abuse will be allowed as long as they can keep up their "good old boys" club, and they will send the women and children through pain and torture as long as they remain in power.
SMASH THE PATRIARCHY!!!!!!!

November 6, 2014

Lemony HSLDA Snicket

  This evening I watched the 2004 "Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events."
I found it both endearing and triggering, but I laughed out loud at the odd combination of pop-culture ( Osh Kosh B'Gosh), the grammar nazi, and steampunk clothing and machinery.


I almost cried when the children see in the letter that they are all they have.  I know how it feels to be the only one looking out for your siblings and feeling like the ONLY one who really loves them and looks out for their futures.

But the parts that made me upset were the parallels to what is going on right now in 2014.
When Violet reminds her brother about their parents trip to Europe I was upset by the fact that not only would the parents not tell the children, but the "letter that got lost" sounds just like what rich, unattached parents would say as an excuse.
  Go ahead and call me cynical.  I have been hurt one too many times to trust very easily.

But the part that made the blogging fire blaze in my soul, was the ending, where the watching crowd gasps at "Count Olaf's" reveal of his plan and behavior, and the fact that he had just legally married the 14 year old to which he had been given custody.
  "I'm the monster? You're the monster! These children tried to warn you, but you wouldn't listen. No one ever listens to children!"

Despite the children seeing through his outward veneer, and attempting to advise and warn the adults in their lives, they are consistently shut down and repeatedly ignored as the adult is manipulated by Count Olaf.

  Much like HSLDA, Michael Farris, Karen Campbell, Heidi St. John, and Voddie Baucham have been grooming the adults in the homeschooling world, only a couple "Count Olafs" have been unveiled: namely Doug Phillips and his flagship Vision Forum, and Gothard with his IBLP banner.

  Ignoring the parallels of a society where Phil Robertson of Duck Dynasty can support and encourage child marriage and still be respected, these big fish in the homeschooling pond are consistently being taken in by predators, or are the predators themselves in disguise.  When "children" (as some people keep calling us, despite our age) call out the problems that they see, the abuse, the misuse of power, the blatant evil in the waters, we are ignored and shut down.
  Repeatedly.

How long will it take for the villain to finally feel so comfortable that his mask will slip and the "well meaning" banker and the buffoon of a detective realize that in all their time being #notyourhomeschoolpolice, they have only handed over the victims to their abusers again and again?!?
How long will it take before the voices of the children are listened to?
How long before the "well-meaning" leaders of the movement TAKE AN HONEST LOOK AT THEMSELVES and see that they are ACCOMPLICES to all the evil that has been going on, and to all the evil that WILL CONTINUE to happen.

EVIL
EVIL
EVIL

I dont know how many times I have to say it before they hear me.
I dont know how long it will take for something to change
I dont know what else to do in a community that is already distrusted and cast-out.

 But we are family, homeschool survivors. We will always have eachother, we will always know the truth and know that we did not stand idly by and be accomplices ourselves.
As Lemony Snicket says:
And they are the sort of people who know that there's always something. Something to invent, something to read, something to bite, and something to do, to make a sanctuary, no matter how small.

I am no inventor.  I may only be able to bite at the heels of these big fish, and babble my go-go's and ga-ga's at them.... but I promise to bite as hard as I can to make a sanctuary for all of us.

November 1, 2014

Gaia's Dominion!

I have learned to prefer the second chapter of Genesis the more that fundamentalist christians attempt to pull me back into their webs.  The first chapter has had so much exegesis done on it that it has been well-night exegited itself to death!!

  One of the interesting movements that come out of Genesis 1 is the Dominionism movement.  Made popular/trendy by Doug Phillips in the last decade, it became a jumble of command and prophesy.  It was said to be implying that somehow people needed to once again plant their christian flags on parcels of dirt, pray over them, and somehow metaphysically claim them for their religion and God.  The more devoted DP fan believed along with their rockstar that America was the new promised land, taking parts of the book of Romans and changing "Israel" to "America."  Others simply saw where they were as the best place to start and envisioned acres of the nearby land as belonging to their children, grandchildren, and extended family, slowly taking over the city, county, and state.

Others merely took it to mean that the earth itself and all the creatures in it were theirs to steward, care for, and dedicate their lives to.... at least I hope some did, because I sure didnt know them!!!

Most "regular" people, like my dad (and therefore his whole family, cause he was the HEAD) assumed that it meant that man was over earth when it came to totem poles.  As a person who thought this, he used the bounty of the earth often without giving it another thought and simply assuming that it would continue to provide for man as long as man ruled it.

THEN CAME AL GORE.
*cue thunder, wolves howling, screams.....

The Ozone Layer, Climate Change, Global Warming, Melting Ice Caps, the Polar Vortex.... all of these climate trends were fundie-splained away to me as a child.  Even my High School Science textbook (Exploring Creation with Physical Science, by Wyle) had an explanation as to why the hole in the ozone layer was too remote to hurt any PEOPLE, and that it was overblown in an attempt to control human behavior (which I guess would inevitably lead to burning and throwing Christians to the lions and making them criminals.... because persecution complex).

The earth was somehow magically made to support any and all godly human life (thus the disasters being punishment for teh gays), making it impossible for the land to sink under water, get too close to the sun and burn, or not be able to support our atmosphere.  Dominion qualified anything and everything from animal slaughter to corporate decisions like polluting and fracking.  We have dominion over this water, so we are free to frack with it.  Dominion gives us this shelter full of unwanted animals, we are free to kill them all.  Dominion gave us the beasts of the field, so eating meat is not only godly, but vegetarianism might even be sinful!!!

Into all this comes a wonderful example in the from of Heidi St. John, aka The Busy Mom.
You may remember her choosing to shut someone down for asking for her help with child abuse during her "busiest season of the year," or you may remember her making light of a picture of obvious violence and using it as a positive example.
  Recently, she posted a "lifehacks" meme and told a story about how in a similar situation her husband threw a stuffed animal of one of the children out the window.
When a conscientious mother comments....  Well you read it!

This is something that I could see my father saying.  Like Heidi took a page right out of his book.
The environment can take care of itself.  One bear wont hurt it, and besides; MESSAGE!
Environment loses when it comes to people, my dad would say that all the time.  People (souls) are more important than not driving to the mountains to witness to them because of the effects of the gas burned while traveling.  The good deeds outweighed any negative, according to him.

The thing is, the Environment loses to religion,
The Environment loses to teaching your kids a lasting lesson
The Environment loses to lost souls,
The Environment loses to taking dominion...

If it keeps losing eventually something will happen.
Dear daddy, and dear Heidi: We do NOT live in a magic world that will sustain human life forever no matter what.  Your obvious flippancy with the world at large and the places where you have tread all add up.  Like the kids book: If Everybody Did.  Maybe you live your daily life differently, but for every exception you make, everyone else might have made one as well.
Can you not see how devastating that might be to a real, flesh-and-blood planet?

You can keep on keeping on and then someday take dominion over this charred, waterless husk of a crust.  And enjoy it.  I'll bet even your religion will outlast the planet.... unfortunately.

**I have refrained in this post from discussing the despicable act of ruining and throwing out a child's special toy in lieu of looking at how the larger effect of "the environment is gonna be fine" can be severely damaging when taught, propagated, and said so flippantly.

October 28, 2014

Gothard, again

You blamed me and some supposed, hidden sin in my life rather than the blatant woeful treatment I’d been receiving.
 Once again, you held me responsible for the abuses of others.
~Heather

I wrote a long letter to most of the members of my family about two weeks ago because I know that they are still keeping Gothard materials in their homes and even using them for their own "enrichment" or for teaching my siblings.

  I told them about how I got the famed "personal interview" with Got-hard and how he immediately closed down the conversation and the time when I said that our missionary family had not been able to afford to purchase and ship his homeschooling and other materials overseas.
  I told them about the second time we talked when I came to him with a special request from my mother.  Desperate for "godly" solutions to our increasing home trauma, she asked me to ask G to call and counsel my father.  As she put it, G was one of the last teachers on earth who my father respected and would listen to.

Instead of listening to me he attached the blame to me.  He said I must be bitter and had me do a writing assignment.  Then he left for a long period of time ostensibly to talk to some delegate in mexico on a "gospel-spreading mission."  When he finally deigned to come back and speak with me, he looked quickly over my pages of writing and again ordered me to asses myself on my own time, and write further because obviously the first draft was half-heartedly done and did not really reach the depths of my bitter, hardened heart.  Why else would I dare question the behavior of my father, no matter how many times I attempted to reiterate that it was my mother's request with which she entrusted me.
After both times I left his office sobbing deeply and felt not only valueless, but dirty and shamed.  How could this great "seer" (as my Journey Leader Libby called him) have possibly gotten my situation wrong?  He was the one who was the leader and I was one of the inductees.

I told them in the email about how one girl who was largely deaf, but with golden hair and big blue eyes was asked to stay.  Another girl, one of a twin, was asked to stay the last day.  Her other twin was more loud, "tomboyish" (in the most feminine sense of the word), and had darker hair and more makeup was left protesting.  She was told that she had to go home and finish school, while her mostly identical twin got showered with the honor of being asked to stay at HQ. (Her school was somehow able to be completed via distance at OakBrook)


When I contacted my mother by phone (a twice-a-year-if-that-occurrence) a week or so after, I mentioned the email to her and she voiced extreme reticence to not only believe the accusations, but to see G's horrendous teachings for what they were.  She felt that the testimonies were hearsay and few and far between and did not compromise his lectures and seminars.
  She did not discount my story, but she apologized for putting such an expectation on a 19-year old.  I told her that I felt proud to be her emissary and was deeply disappointed that I was not able to help my family.  And then I told her something that nagged at me then like a mosquito bite and was obvious to me now: I KNEW that I WAS NOT THE REASON that there were problems in our family.  Yet I was made to feel responsible because of how G acted and the very pointed things he said, almost in those exact words, that I was.

Making children responsible for the sins of their families is heresy.  In fact, it is also abusive, cruel, and harmful to the children/adults themselves.
I think this is something that has yet to be fully addressed by places that focus more on g's theology.  But I know that it has been a constant thread for those of us with family.

October 22, 2014

Gaslighting and Repression

  Just this afternoon I was told by someone who will be the main focus of this post not to talk about them on my "unhelpful" and "problematic" and "lying, attention-seeking" blog.

I had a very emotional and heart-wrenching truth-telling session with my mother over the phone last week.  I told her, honestly, things that I had felt for a long time but NEVER intended to say to her.  Brutally honest things.  Things that she definitely got defensive about but things that she also cried with me over and listened to.

One of those was self-harming behaviors by "the-one-who-shall-not-be-named."

Then, this afternoon when asking a question within the one's area of expertise, I was chastised for mentioning "them" on my blog (something I have not done) and for telling my mother about their self-harm.
I acknowledged that they and I had never had a conversation about self-harm, but that I had seen the self-harming with my own eyes in public and I had only told my mother exactly that.

They immediately professed shock at the notion of ever having done so as a younger child and when I brought up a vivid, particularly bad time, I was told in a ferocious roar that such a thing never happened.  They had no memory of that and therefore I was making up things.  They told me that I needed to stop blaming "everyone else" for my problems and that "seeing a shrink" would not help me with this chronic blame-shifting that I am apparently engaged in.

They continued in a loud voice over the phone to berate me for taking medications (a "band-aid" that would make my delusions worse) and for doing other things like talking about my story and seeking professional help.  I was crying and attempting to defend myself and suddenly I realized that I could hang up and that is what I did!!

Like my hero "Shade" says: +5 points!

It shook my self-confidence much more than I expected and left me on the side of the road sobbing for about 15 minutes.  It is one thing to praise Cynthia Jeub for voicing her story, it is another to be called a liar by people you know/knew and do/did respect.

I mentioned in a previous post how I am anonymous because of this very reason.  I dont have Cynthia's courage to face my attackers with my own name.  I write posts about them anonymously, taunting at them to find me in the chasm of the internet, daring never to come near the light.
The pain is too much for me.

I dont know if "they" have repressed these memories and called old scars "bicycle accidents" or if they really did not happen.  But I have more stories and clear memories that I would be glad to share with them and with the people who I KNOW where witnesses.  I am sure eventually someone will remember and the pieces will fall into place.
Repression and Stockholm syndrome all on one: someday I will be here for you, sweetheart.

October 9, 2014

This is How We Do





HEY Homeschooling Parents!!



Did you know that Katy Perry was the daughter of a pastor?

How do you think her father/mother raised her was any different from how you raised your kids?

(Whatever you are thinking, its probably wrong)

Her message in this catchy dance-song is that life for the new generation of young adults (that she is one of) is a lot different from other lifestyles that came before.  But this different life is normal and works for them.  Its just what they DO.


Do you remember how you raised us?

Your arrows in your quiver?

Your future warriors?

Your young Joshua generation?




Yet some of us are speaking out and you arent very happy about it.  There are closet-skeletons being laid out to air.  There are great leaders toppling left and right.  There are rugs being pulled back and all the grime under them being exposed to the light.



And the question that most parents I hear from ask is this: "Why are you chipping away at the very movement that created you?"



Because.

THIS. IS. HOW. WE. DO



We were raised to change the culture for the better.

We were raised to have loud voices against evil.

We were raised to not back down and to never stop

FIGHTING for what is right.

We were trained to not be ashamed of our youth.

We were trained to stand up to authorities without fear.

We were required to use and work with logic and truth daily.

We had to be of sound and strong mind.

We needed to go out and challenge the status quo...



At least that is what YOU TAUGHT US.



This is how we do, straight pulling down ivory

towers of the home school elite.

This is how we do, do, do, do, do

This is how we do.



Standing up for truth and openness.

Fighting against sin and hidden evil.

Exposing the liars and the dirty, dirty cheats.

Refusing to stop on our quest for change.



Because you taught us well.

And this is how we do.  Our kind of life is different, but to us, it is normal and just something we were raised to DO.

April 25, 2014

Emotional Expose


I have been changed for good, and I love you guys with all my heart.

Dear people who were once on a path to being family:

  I know it has been some time since you have heard from me, and I doubt that even yet enough time has passed for it to be a pleasant surprise.  To be most plain, I understand if you refuse to read this and do not wish to hear my side of the story, but nevertheless I wanted to see if something of this sort might make amends for the devastation that has been wreaked on our relationship.
I am sorry.  I apologize for my actions and the consequences that they brought upon your family and life for an extended period.  Truly, if I could go back in time I think I would remove myself and my influence from all of your lives completely, but the good times would be a shame to lose.  In apologizing, I apologize the most for my ignorance.  And, for those who would rather not read on, I will continue without minding for your squeamishness, I will be frank. 
My ignorance in this whole situation was perhaps the chief cause of the pain, misunderstanding, and perhaps mostly, for the eventual lies and betrayal.  I was raised ignorant of love and sex and had no relationship experience to speak of, a fact which I told him most often.  I equated my mental intelligence with that of a pre-teen and made no promises at being easy to integrate.  However, your grace as a family and abounding joy and love made me long to be one of you.  I was accepted and enjoyed; thus I thrived like the withered plant that I was given the invigorating fertilizer of your family. 
Yet I was still strange, an alien creature to you and one that had to be his.  Under steady insistence I decided to give him a chance.  I felt like it was owed for the love and grace shown by his family, and for the constant affection shown by him and sister.  There is the malignant root that eventually rotted this thing, but I foreshadow.  I initiated the words of affection and I sought out a relationship I had no business entering, in the state I was in.  Finally being granted one of his long-sought-after desires, he jumped in head over heels and was willing to do and say almost anything for me.
But the ignorance still crept out of the shadows, leaving the fear and uncomfortableness that poisoned our friendship.  Do you remember, Sir, a conversation had with you, sister, and brother?  I was discussing the lack of education in some homeschool situations, particularly the lessons of sex education.  When you queried me, I acknowledged a personal anecdote about pubic hair and not knowing that it was a natural thing for women, much less for men.  You seemed most confused as to why that was a fact that an 18 or 19 year old woman would need to know and did not seem convinced by my frail attempts to explain something not even I had a comprehensive grasp on.  I was ignorant of that most basic human urge and purposely kept pre-pubescent in soul and mind that it ruined the relationship. 
He often told me he liked the size of my chest, but despite my verbal invitations (in the sunset of our time), he refused to touch them.  I offered services to him that he also turned down, taught as he was by you, his parents, and by his culture and religion to keep “sacred.”  But how can the carnal be kept sacred?  Such an idea is preposterous, as were my attempts to convince my adult body to regress into my mind’s ignorance.  See, I was ready for more than a friendship but at the same time I did not want to be anybody’s stay-at-home wife.  The system we were both brought up in, and he was still stuck in under your roof, made that an oxymoron and an impossibility.  I could not have married him, or gotten engaged, or gone any further with our relationship and gone to school and pursued a career.  There is no way that could have happened.
  Also, I had no physical connection to him.  It took nearly two years into our relationship to do more than hold hands and even so he felt guilt and shame for moving forward in that way.  He had wanted to kiss upon engagement, but I was not looking for a commitment so fast, so he compromised for me.  It was as far as he ever went.  In my ignorance I assumed that a bland “passionate” kiss only meant that I was not someone who “liked” to kiss.  I assumed he enjoyed it, but I felt nothing, and in my ignorance and confusion I did not know how to voice it.  Thus, when I happened upon an individual whose very presence and scent lit me up, I felt ashamed and confused and hid that under a fa├žade of “everything is fine.”  It grew to include fear and eventually engulfed my limited emotional capabilities.  Pursued by this chemical passion, I broke the assumed promises I had made and went in a different direction. 
All this time he was repeatedly mentioning his desire to seal our relationship with a ring and a promise.  Every time he mentioned it I would rebuff him with strongly negative words about my mental, emotional, and personal fitness, or even telling him that he deserved someone better.  As much as I was pushing him away from myself, I was attempting to see if forcing myself emotionally would result in a connection.  In an extreme state of cognitive dissonance, I went on our last “family” vacation together.  Remember how upset you were, Sir and Ma’am, at the levels of affection we were showing eachother?  Before I ever met the other person who tore our pseudo-family asunder, I was consciously forcing myself to be affectionate, hoping that through mental force or through prolonged experience, a physical affection would blossom as the emotional and mental connections had. 
Remember our last night, dear one, when I showed you the things I had written about you and about how you had kept me alive for much of that time?  About how your calls and friendship had given me the strength to survive?  Despite our differing religious convictions and the problems that you knew I would inevitably have with your parents’ worldview, you continued loving me.  I believe that everything you did and said was honest; and I can only wish that what I felt for you had been more than a zombified friendship.  I introduced you to freedom, to alcohol, to kissing, and to relationships with the opposite sex in general.  I wish to someday be friends again, but I doubt that is possible with our complicated and painful past.  Like nuclear fallout, it will take more than time to heal.
Sister, I loved you with all my heart.  You withdrew from me, and in fact began hurting me when you changed.  Instead of acknowledging your own struggles, you painted me as loud, abrasive, and impossible to live with.  I still treasure our good times and when you messaged me last year it meant the world to me.  If you ever need anything, I will always be your friend.
Brother, I know that our acquaintance began in a bad place, and I attempted throughout the rest of our time together to repair that.  Being the youngest I identified with you and I hope that you find your best place in the world.
   Sir and Ma’am, I cannot imagine what words you might have for me.  I have no idea what other things have happened in your family and in your lives since I unceremoniously dropped out of it.  I hope that in reading this you all can understand somewhat how ignorance is a problem that can destroy not only relationships, but families.  I apologize for the pain, the heartbreak, and for the anger that I have caused all of you.  But take responsibility for your part in continuing the ignorance of your children and potential children-in-law.  See how what you are indoctrinating your children with is neither healthy, nor commendable, and most certainly not feasible in the world that we live in today.  I know that this sounds like a rather unceremonious lecture inserted in what might have otherwise been an apology, but I hold to only apologizing for what is my fault.

I hope that the rest of your lives are unmarred by sadness and that you prosper in whatever you seek.  With all my love,

J.

January 31, 2014

Keep Your Filthy Hands Away from My Family

  There seems to be a trend, when people come out of the wood work and attempt to change the status quo, of "discrediting" that person in attempt to inhibit or block their work.  Perhaps some of the most insidious examples of this are people who use their life story as an example and a catalyst for change.
  "This happened to me." 
A trend I am seeing, in silencing the voices of homeschoolers or former homeschoolers who have suffered educational neglect and potentially other more serious consequences of isolation and total parental control over every aspect of their lives, is that of using one's siblings to discredit the other sibling.

Stacy McDonald used Hillary McFarland's sister as a method of making Hillary's groundbreaking book seem like the dramatic rendition of a "vivid imagination."  Interestingly enough, her book and blog sparked a fire that is still setting free quiverfull daughters like me
As noted in Quivering Daughters not all homeschooling families are quiverfull and patriarchal, but patriarchal and quiverfull homes will most likely be homeschool homes as well.

See, the problem with using siblings (like Josh Powell's sibling) to discredit potential laws and books written in the face of the "homeschooling produces excellent results every time" and "no abuse here" and "homeschooled girls are so great because they are victorian" is that it tears apart families and makes the point about "she-said-she-said" and not: This is a serious issue that cannot continue.  This needs to be addressed and dealt with.

Children being homeschooled have no rights. 
Daughters under strongly religious families are repeatedly beat down into caricatures of what their families think was best about the past, crippled with sub-standard educations and stunted mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.
Sons are forced to become "entrepreneurs" instead of "wage slaves chained to desks" and bound to a life of poverty with their futures stolen.

I am angry and I am scared.

See, I have multiple younger siblings still living at home, which is the main reason for my anonymity.  I want to protect them and their way of life, even while I try to dismantle it from the outside.  I know that my parents have been reported for educational neglect (by others and neighbors), but the state they live in has not decided to do anything about it.  I have not lived there in over 3 years, or been allowed to see any siblings under the age of 18.  I get only small glimpses from my older brother or my oldest younger brother when he calls me.

IF I WERE TO SPEAK OUT using my own name, how many of my younger siblings could come foreward and say that I was lying? 
Many of them were not spanked like my older brother was, mostly because my parents no longer had the time to individually deal with offenses.  "Creative punishments" like chores, or enforced hugging, or writing verses were used more, or periods of verbal berating. 
Many of them are males, and therefore will not receive the same kind of spiritual abuse I did, being told that God would not speak to me because I was a child (meaning I had a living father) and a woman.
The younger children have no idea what our father did because it is a "hush hush" family secret so that no one knows that he has no integrity.
 Thats the thing about sin, if you hide all of yours and dont let anyone tell, you look perfect. 

They could easily say that I was "being overly dramatic" about leaving the RP and what happened to the former ministry there.
In fact, many people would back them up on that point.  I was dramatic as a child, singing made-up opera songs at the top of my lungs to get attention.
I also was a "perennial liar" because I would often attempt to tweak the truth or get out of a punishment by inventing white lies or using "deception" as my mom would call it often.  "Not telling the WHOLE truth is deception, and therefore a lie and a sin."  SO, if I got the whole house cleaned, but spent some time on the computer as well; telling her that I worked all afternoon is a deception, a sin, and a LIE.  See, I am not to be believed. 

Anyone who knows my name could get my older brother (who still is a fundamentalist patriarch in beliefs) to "discredit" loads of things that are my empirical evidence, based on his empirical evidence.

But guess what: KEEP YOUR FILTHY HANDS AWAY FROM MY FAMILY!
HSLDA, and the McDonalds, and anyone else who feels like using sibling against sibling in order to keep their money-making, influential empires intact.
I am here to break down your system, and my family is not a pawn in your game.
When I do break out of my anonymity, I will not allow you to use them against me.
And for those who have already done so (specifically those mentioned above): For Shame.

Shame, shame, shame upon you and your name and legacy.
Your hands are tainted with the shame to which you stoop.
Your legacy is smeared by the abuse you defend and allow to continue.
You have no credibility, so you hurt that of those who do, using the few people who might be able to damage them.  And you use a family to do it.  You are not defenders of the family, but wreckers.

Shame.