The loss of a beautiful sunset, makes way for the next amazing sunrise. Photo taken at The Lost Coast (CA.)
I really want to improve my story telling skills, that’s why I am participating in Writing 101. Yesterday I couldn’t make myself to write the given assignment, it was to free write about our three favorite songs; how they made us feel, and why. For some reason I couldn’t make myself to do it. I’m not someone who postpone things. Writing is usually easy for me. I mean, it’s easy to write words. Good, interesting writing is not easy. Not in English, my second language. Not an excuse! I’m working on it.
I also discovered that I am afraid of pouring out my soul, being personal with my writing. After a day of fretting yesterday, I decided to skip yesterday’s assignment (it’s the kind of class were you don’t have to do every assignment,) and give the next assignment everything I got. Well…..if I thought yesterday’s assignment was personal…
|Day Four: Serially Lost
Today’s Prompt: Write about a loss: something (or someone) that was part of your life, and isn’t any more.
– How it felt, why it happened, and what changed because of it.
Serially Lost Identity
So this is the first post of three. My friends knows me as a confident, strong, adventurous, and independent woman. That is also how I see myself. I believe that every new door that opens, comes from one door that closes. A door that closes behind us could be seen as a loss. A loss that would make a new beginning possible. A loss doesn’t have to be something negative, even though it can be a serious challenge at the time. I feel that during my journey of becoming me, I lost my identity several times. Some of them because of circumstances I had little to say about, some of them because of choices I made. When I think about it, it might be hard to only write three posts about this.
I was four years old when my parents got divorced, but since I was too young to remember much of that, I hardly count that as a loss of identity. Not even when I lost my mother to cancer at age twelve, it did not make me loose my identity. It shook my world for sure, nothing was ever going to be the same, but I did not loose my identity.
How did it happen? I was born into a very strict religion. What really made me loose my identity the first time was when I realized that the religion I was brought up in was a sect. A sect that did everything they could to brain wash their members.
I don’t know when I first started to question things in my head. I do know that it was before my mother passed away, I always use her death as a point of reference.
My step father was a priest, or he became one, when I was a teenager. He was a charismatic man that people believed in. At home he was the devil. At first I tried to justify what I experienced at home with the thought that of course there would be a few bad people, even evil people, in a good religion. I’m not going to describe all his evilness, since I don’t think that would serve the purpose of this assignment. It included physical, and verbal abuse, starting with my mother at their wedding night, continuing with all us kids. I believe I was the one that made it through easiest, by outsmarting him; I cooked, cleaned, baked, got excellent grades, never questioned things, tried to be invisible at home, read my bible every day, and kept smiling, while I made a plan in my head of how to get the hell out of there.
At the beginning I thought that he was unique, in a bad way, and that if I only got away from home, everything would be OK. As I grew up I understood that maybe that wasn’t the case. I choose to ignore the signs, for a few years. When I grew up I wasn’t allowed to play with other kids, other than the ones belonging to the same religion. I wasn’t allowed to participate in anything. I wasn’t allowed to ask questions. I wasn’t allowed to have opinions. So I kept my opinions to myself, that seemed like the smartest thing to do. I still believe it was, at that time.
I struggled with feelings of hate, loneliness, and a wish to be accepted. I struggled to stay above the surface, and to not let myself sink.
Of course it affect a young person to be manipulated like this. I did try to leave the organization a couple times, but found it very difficult, since this was my whole world. I did not know how to behave outside this very small circle of people. I understood that I didn’t know. I did not know anything about being a normal, young adult, if there is such a ting.
Perhaps you already know what sect I am talking about? My step dad was a Jehovah’s Witness. If you do choose to leave the organization, no one will ever talk to you again. They will pretend that you don’t exist. I know, because that was how I was expected to treat people who choose the devil. For me it did not make sense to do so, if God was love, but I did, as long as I lived in my step father’s home.
I moved to a bigger city, hundreds of miles away from my hometown. Still it was impossible for me to completely break up with my past. It had become my life as well. I changed my game plan. I started to develop friendships with people on the outside, in secret. After doing so for several years, fighting with myself, I still believed in some of the values I was taught from an early childhood, I finally broke up with my past for good. It was a decision no one should be forced to take. I forced myself to take it, because I couldn’t continue living in a lie. My step dad was far from the only evil person in the organization. Physical, and verbal abuse is horrible, brain washing people to lose themselves, and give everything to an organization is worse. I did loose my identity. I felt very lost. Most of my childhood friends disappeared. Some came back, after taking the same decision I did.
It was definitely a loss of identity, but it opened a wide world of opportunities. After dealing with the aftermath of confusion, I felt tired, but I was free. For the first time in my life I could actually choose to do whatever I wanted to do!
I did actually write 200+ pages about this last year. I decided to burn them after I was done. It felt good to write it down, but I felt that it wouldn’t be a positive thing to publish anything like that. I’d rather choose to be the girl with the beautiful photos, that makes people smile, than the author of a very controversial book. My childhood is part of my story, but I am not living in the past.
Feel free to share, leave comments, constructive criticism, and a link to your blog.
PS. The second part of this series is going to be about Serially Lost in a new country.