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.