I feel like I am struggling to get out of my cocoon. It’s time to believe in myself. It’s time to implement the tools to change. I have no more excuses. I’m uncertain about this new world of mine. Will it be safe to truly live? Will I be able to stretch my wings and fly? I can only try. I can only press forward. I cannot go back into the cocoon of darkness. The return button is gone. I’m scared to move forward, but I’m more afraid to go back.
I awake most days to thoughts of my former days at Church on the Vine. Sometimes I write my thoughts down as I process, “what happened to me”. To be able to write “what happened to me”, shows great progress in my life. It’s so far from the former belief of, “what’s wrong with me?” I spent too many years contemplating what was, and is wrong with me, and how I deserved to be punished. I had nightmares for years about how oppressed I was in that destructive religious cult, and my fight for for freedom. I have read several autobiographical books, and have learned from them that freedom from the thought processes that were engrained in my mind can be overcome. I listen to audio books also and am currently listening to, “Unorthodox; The Scandalous Rejection of my Hasidic Roots”, for the 2nd time.
This book is so profound because of it’s likeness to a Christian religious cult. This Jewish cult, (yes, I will call it a cult because of the control over their people), oppresses their people to a profound degree. For example, they, meaning their family and teachers, don’t compliment, they only watch for wrong and dutifully point it out, dishing out punishment if they deem it necessary. They keep tabs on each other and report back to the elders. They are taught, to think a secular thought, is a forbidden though, to be pushed out of the mind. The young girls and boys are not taught about their reproductive organs and what is involved in an intimate relationship. Even the menstrual cycle is not talked about or explained. When women marry, they have to shave their heads and wear a wig. They follow their laws blindly, and that is key to any destructive group or relationship; to follow blindly. Because if you question, that’s a reflection of a rebellious spirit – the leaders want you to follow blindly so that they can keep control of the relationship.
I was often set up to fail, making Don and Jean, the leaders of the group I was in, to look even better. There is a lot of oppression in destructive groups like the one I was in. I want to be more empowered, to really have control of my own life. I must own it, this life of mine. I’m creating it now! I want power, but not power to control, but to own myself. And I’ve been thinking about how I can own myself. It shows in my life by the decisions that I can make on my own. The key word is that. “I can”. I can chose…to do whatever I set my mind to do. Not just anything because I obey the laws and the land; I also have my own virtues that make me who I am. It is this making of who I am, everyday, every hour, every minute, and every second that presses, (not oppresses), me to move forward. I can…own my life.
It’s a new day, a day of reflection. After leaving the cult, I was uncertain about my relationship with God. I’m a believer and have been since joining the cult. That was one thing they couldn’t take away was my faith in God. My hope was gone for a period of time, but not my faith. I consider all their false teachings rubbish now. I have a new life; I have exchanged the lie for the truth. I can live with endless possibilities. Realizing that something bad happened to me, not me being a bad person was , and still is my biggest battle. I was told over and over again that I was in sin, therefore in need of their “correction”. Now I believe that Christ Jesus died on the cross for all our sins, and that I don’t need “correction” from some other delusional person for my sins. I alone am accountable for my relationship with God. It is to Him that I ask forgiveness of my sins. I will continue to do my best to heal and move on in my life to even greater things than what I have now!
Being in a very destructive religious cult is difficult to the extreme, it’s even worse when you leave. As the saying goes, you can take the person out of the cult, but you can’t take the cult out of the person. It is a journey of healing. I used to dislike the word, “journey”, because it insinuated that this healing process would take a long time. Now I have accepted that it is a journey. It has been a gift from God of discovering who I am. This is a lifelong journey that is one I refuse to give up on. There are times when I am tired to the bone and absolutely full of fear and terror of the outside world; that world that most call life.
If you hear a voice within you say, “You cannot paint”, than by all means paint!
I’ve been hearing for too long that voice saying that, “I don’t deserve”. It’s time for me to paint my world. I feel like I am 23 years old again and that I’m just starting out in life. I was 23 years old when I joined a destructive religious cult. Although they proclaimed freedom, what we really got was heading towards death and not life. My spirituality is now my own. I get to define it, live it, breathe it, and share it – through my life style and through this blog, I hope to be able to touch many lives. Stay tuned.