What happened was that one day I was in and the next I was out. It’s not inexplicable. I know exactly why it happened. The ‘when’ and the ‘how’. The entire order of events. It’s one of those moments of acute clarity. Many memories are smudged and blurred, but this one, it’s burned into my…
Pregnancy at Alon was a big deal. It was a sign of God’s blessing, of abundance, and progress. If you got married, you had kids. Every woman at Alon bore children, all except one. When you get a group of people together and the numbers start increasing, so too do the odds of becoming a…
So the first year of high school was the most tumultuous year of my school career. Battling to fit in with any peer group, battling to fit in at Alon and battling to remain invisible to Dustin within the corridors of our drab school. Maybe it was spiritual fervor from my recent trip to Israel…
Shortly before Alon featured on the radar of my existence, I spied a pair of Dr Martens I’d seen in the shop window of our local shoe store. It was love at first sight. So, when my mom took me to the shoe store on my twelfth birthday and we bought that pair of oxblood…
When we moved to Alon there were a few kids around my age. But most of them came and went as the years passed. So, I found myself stranded in a very small core group. My closest peers were Dustin and Lia. You could call us a trio but that wouldn’t be accurate. Trios work…
Sometimes I wonder I panic I fret What am I doing Splashing our secrets out onto the net Spilling the beans of our intimate world Spreading the news where insults can be hurled And then I remember the who and the why I see her weeping in the shadows where she can hide Wishing she were better, freer, and holding it all in Stored safely knotted deep within her belly Standing up again though her legs feel like jelly I reach out across space and time "I will speak your truth" "I will let the words tumble out" "I will do the impossible" And I know she will be okay She is thanking me now and willing me not to not let us down.
“You should write a book.” This is what people tell me… all… the… time. And I nod in agreement because I know someone should. I am just not sure that someone is me.
I wasn’t ready
But… I started a blog, winging it for real , as an outlet for my overwhelming emotions and mental turmoil shortly after leaving Alon and it helped me. It probably would have helped me even more if I had consistently put my thoughts down in writing but life got in the way and at some point I decided to just lay it all to rest and focus on the here and the now. It hurt too much to keep re-hashing the past. Like scratching open an old wound just before it’s had a chance to heal.
There were so many nights that I cried myself to sleep mourning the loss of an entire existence, the crushing absence of people who were more family to me than my own blood relatives. And knowing that I couldn’t go back and I couldn’t stay in touch even with those, who like me, had chosen to leave. There were just too many triggers, I knew that I had to make a clean break in order to give my mind a chance to recalibrate.
But, truth be told, I am ready to look back now without moving backwards. I think that’s possibly the key. I can think about things without spiraling into entrenched thinking patterns and emotions that affect my very physical being.
Is it my story to tell?
There is something else that has held me back – I am afraid of hurting people. First and foremost, I am afraid of hurting my husband and children by making our story public. I am afraid of hurting the many people that played a role in this tale of control and deception. But, it’s time to let that brain trap go too. Because as much as this is a story that belongs to dozens of people, it is my story too and I have the right to share it if that’s what I feel I should do.
And I do want to share it. I have spoken openly about my past to so many people because there is power in that. Truth and transparency are formidable forces. And I am by no means ashamed of where I have come from. My experiences have made me who I am today – as banal as that may sound, it is nevertheless the truth.
It’s important to remember that this is merely one version of the story – mine. If there is one thing I have learned, it’s that there are always two sides to every story and in this case you can make that about two hundred. So, if you don’t agree with the way I am recounting the events then you are entitled to your opinion. I am sure I will get things muddled up because memory is a fickle thing.
Anyway, for whatever reason, I know I won’t be able to fully rest until I have regurgitated twenty years of my life and hung them out to dry in fully formed sentences. Maybe it’s because this experience of living in a cult is far from an anomaly, and people need to be more aware of the pitfalls of controlling groups. Maybe it’s because I need to process this properly. Or maybe there is someone out there that will benefit from reading this. Perhaps I am just tired of nodding and afraid that if I keep at it I might just nod right off to sleep.
I don’t know anything about writing books though, so now I am writing a blog (of which I also know very little about!)
What’s with the new site?
So, I set up this new site, specially dedicated to telling a story and specially set aside for those of you that are truly interested. I have decided to make most of the content subscription based simply because I feel safer sharing this information with people who really are interested and in a way, I feel it is a way of showing respect to the the sanctity and humanity of the events that took place. I am not doing this to name and shame or to cause a stir.
Many of the names have been changed to protect the privacy of those involved. Some names remain unchanged because the nature of their origin serves the story.
I invite you to join me now and step back in time…
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