Abuse at home

My husband and I have been talking a lotabout our past since we started this blog and he asked me why I didn’t talk more about the bad choices my parents made and he also asked me why I left out certain details in my life? Partly, it was because I do still love my family and I don’t want to hurt them mainly my sister Olivia and partly because part it I felt like wasn’t my story to tell. But Jack is right. If I am going to talk about this stuff I need to talk about it ALL. So I am going back once again to when we started going to the cult church.
I have to admit I feel sick to my stomach right now thinking about it. I don’t think abuse should ever be covered up and brushed over. So ok I’m going to say it. The man I talked about in my post (click here to read post) He was actually related to us and lived with us were we lived for a very long time. No, It wasn’t my dad. One of my sisters was one of his victims. I knew he was a pervert but I was a child. I didn’t know what to do about it. My parents suspected he was into children too by the way he acted. But they didn’t know how bad it was until many years later. My sister stayed away from him as much as she could to avoid his encounters and he backed off eventually but tried to make her feel guilty about “not being fun anymore”. Taunted her. After my parents found out my sister moved out. My parents didn’t do anything about it. They thought because it had been awhile we’d just keep it quiet and pretend it didn’t happen. They also seemed upset with my sister for not wanting to live in the same house as him anymore. I once heard my mom say, ” You lived with him this long I don’t see why its a problem since he hasn’t done anything in a long time.” I think what hurts the most about it is that my dad is still there for him. When he says anything to my dad, my dad drops everything to go help him. He feels sorry for him because he has no one. Whose fault is that? He treats my dad horrible. Like my dad owes him something just because they are related. My aunt is not a christian but is living in complete denial. She thinks it was a one time thing. She defends him. But it he has so many victims and doesn’t feel like he did anything wrong.Why do people want to protect such evil monsters?
When I was young I had a lot of health problems. To be honest I still do. Mostly lung related. Before everything came out about this man, Charles, my parents would leave me home with him while I was sick. For people in our religion, the church always came first. You didn’t miss it for anything. You didn’t call in you crawled in. Though my mom and dad did take me to the dr and I do feel like my mom and dad did love me I often felt like church came first. One time particularly I almost died for an asthma/lung infection, when I came home, my parents left me in Charles care. Of course they didn’t know the how evil of a man he was but I also think they didn’t want to know. We were a good christian home. This would bring shame upon our name. As I told you before Charles asked if he could touch me but I said no. But I am sickened to think what he could have done to me while I slept and we were alone. I was on some pretty strong medication and I slept the whole time I was in his care. I want to vomit just thinking about it. He is now a registered sex offender for later offenses because of statutes of limitation were up by the time he got caught. One of my biggest regrets was not saying anything to police after I found out but I was a child. My whole world was “church” and school (they were the same thing). I should also add in a small defense of my parents, they did ask my sister what she wanted done. If she wanted him reported. But she was afraid and wanted it to be over with so she said, “nothing” but again she was a child.
I can’t express enough GROWN UPS, PLEASE, I beg you. Handle this stuff. If your children/ child or someone you know is being sexually assaulted call the police. Child predators don’t just have one victim and they don’t just stop. They may move on but they don’t stop.
Like I said before our whole lives were the ‘church.” I spend more time at church then I did my own house. I resented it. I was bored and tired. We often missed meals because we were at church. I once was fed a jumbo bag of m &ms for dinner because my mom was busy redecorating the church until late. I was hungry and my stomach ached. I complained about it and my mom was so embarrassed by it because the “leader” was there. I got an ear full the whole drive home about God’s service and not complaining. She did get me a burger on the way home which I ended up throwing up because I ate too fast, That on top of the m & ms, it just made me sick. It was dark by the time I got to eat real food and I didn’t have much lunch that day. Candy seems like a dream dinner for most kids but I didn’t have a huge sweet tooth. The rest of the week several adults in the “church” took their turns in lecturing me for complaining and not always putting God first. I even got a Sunday school lesson. I was so ashamed of myself. But the thing is I was a preteen. I was a growing kid. We never had dinner on Sundays. My mom had a lot on her plate. I understand that. But I wish my parents cared more about our family then others. She wanted to feel appreciated. The church praised her when she dropped everything for it.
If I had it and the pastor’s daughter wanted it, I had to give it up, joyfully. Needless to say we did not get along. I hated it. She never asked me for anything. She went straight to my mom because my mom would give it to her. We were poor. We didn’t have much. I hated it.
My parents often preferred to sacrifice for the church and pretend uncomfortable things went away. I love them dearly. Mom did often go to bat for me against the leader. But she was bad handling serious things until there was a gaping wound.
I remember when I was young she was so happy and awesome. I often wonder if she didn’t get postpartum depression after having my youngest sibling. That was right around the time we started going to the “church” and she really changed then. She was taking care of our house and Charles and home schooling me and my sisters while caring for a new baby. We all ended up moving into the same house. That is also when we stopped home school. My mother just had too much to juggle. Depression isn’t something Christians are supposed to have. I wonder what would have happened if that was acceptable?

My mom has expressed a lot of regret about how she handle a lot of things and I do forgive her. It’s too late to change anything but I did learn somethings. I will always put my families needs first. I know God is supposed to be first in one’s life but isn’t your family supposed to be your first ministry? Don’t their needs come first? Something to think about

Until next time, Sage

Trauma and life long hang ups

Unfortunately, child abuse isn’t something that goes away. It sticks with you like shadow. I found myself saying all the time I really hope people/ children I read about who suffer from abuse get the help they need. But what happens when they don’t? What happens when a child has a drug attack step dad who threatens to cut off his hand because the child flushed a dime bag of weed? What happened when a mother instead of leaving or calling the police protecting her son, she just send him to the pastor’s house to borrow $20. True Story! What happens when parents use starvation to punish a child? Or when parents yell and scream and dig their nails into a child when they are angry over something petty? What happens when a daughter is taught to hold in her feelings until she is ready to explode? What happens when she has to smile through her pain/illness or face humiliation or criticism.Well, I can tell you from experience.

My husband and I often talk about going to therapy but we are barely making it financially and could never afford the co-pay. He was once on anti-depressant but had to go cold turkey because he lost his job. If you have ever gone off anti-depressant you know how badly that screws with your mind. My husband suffered from depression for many years before and some time after we met. He is an amazing man. He endured some serious abuse. Mostly mentally but a lot of physical too. Though the depression no longer plagues him the way it used too when he lived with his mother but he still has has a lot of underlying issues. The man doesn’t have a violent bone in his body. But a lot of things tend to affect him. After our many years together I can pick up on it before he even says anything. This past weekend he struggled a lot. Sometimes he has nightmares. Other times the slightest noise make him jump. He gets anxiety a lot. It makes me sad before there is nothing I can do to help him. I hold him and rub his back. I remind him everything is ok. Stress tends to make things worse. THings have been very stressful lately. My children have been sick. Plus, we have been worrying about our kid’s schooling. Also his mother is planning on moving back into town. She plans on being homeless when she arrives. This is really stressful for us all. Another stressful issues we are worrying about is financial. All these things don’t help him with his anxiety. It’s frustrating because he has always been the guys to give and give and work his butt off for everyone but he never feels like he is on top.  He isn’t unhappy with his life. Neither of us really are. Just sometimes life pulls you down, you know?As a result he get what *I guess* is some sort of tick or trigger and he gets anxiety and becomes very jumpy. Noise even laughter can make him flinch.

My hang ups are different. I internalize everything. I have a very hard time expressing how I feel. It almost killed me a few time. When I am unwell I tend to push through it like everything is ok. It landed me in the hospital more than once. I don’t mean too. Really I don’t. It has become second nature to me.  My husband learned to pay attention to the little things and he has helped me learn to my find my voice and admit that I can’t do everything. I had a doctor suggest therapy to me before but it doesn’t come cheap? This blog however, is my way learning to express myself. To say hey? This was abuse. This wasn’t right! I’m not wonder woman! I am human! I don’t really have to hold things in. Easier said than  done. I’m a work in progress

Another hang up I find hard to admit is my defensiveness. I don’t take criticism well at all. Mainly because I took it so long stuff boils up. I usually find myself angry. Something happens I got home and fuel over stuff. I have many trust issues as well. Jack is the first person I have trusted in a long time. He is my rock. I think we found each other out of survival. I used to tell him I don’t need anyone but the truth is I did need him. He has saved my life numerous times. He brought my happiness back. He brought me hope. Together we are trying to work though our issues and we are better for it.

We have both come a long way since we ran away to Vegas together. While therapy would probably be most helpful we are making the most of what we have and actively trying to give our kids a better life then what we had. I would move mountains for my little family. we made together. While is started from two dysfunctional lives it’s now full of love and hope. Its happy ( though not perfect and we have our many hang ups). Its becoming something new and full of love. God has blessed us with these children. They are such smart, beautiful children.  They are my world!

I’m not discontent at all with my life. Our bills are paid and we have food. Sometimes we have to get creative but we make it. I have learned to be resourceful and frugal. I am learning there is hope in life. God can always make something beautiful out of rubble. Life can be a rough road  but it’s not over yet.

Until Next time, Sage

Abuse and the Church

My husband asked me once, “Does the church create the abuser or is the abuser drawn to the church? I put a lot of thought into this.

Mind you before I go into this further I feel the need to state that while there are a lot of bad people in ultra conservative churches, there also are some really good people too. People who mean well like my sister Olivia. She goes to a pretty conservative church. She and her daughters all follow the dress code, although she is not as strict in her other practices.  She is a very good and sweet person. She  has always loved accepted me no matter what my choice. I would never look down on her or anyone like her who are following their truth and are sincere and don’t use religion to hurt others.

Ok now that I got that out of  the way. There are many different types of abusive churches. It seems to me that most religions have some sort of extreme group. Some have more them one. For example you have the IFB ( Independent fundamental Baptist) for which I attended ( my former cult “church”). They were strict in so many ways it was hard to breathe. Another extreme is Westboro Baptist. They are all about the hate in a very extreme way. It’s mentally damaging. The funny thing is if my IFB cult church looked at westboro Baptist they would see worldly people. They wear pants. Use the NIV Bible which is considered very liberal. They aren’t close enough to God in their standards. They are both Baptist and both extreme. See what I mean by different extremes?

Even the Mormons have their on extremes. Have you seen the children dressed as little house on the prairie clothes and being married off as children? catholics have their own extremes. Muslims do as well. I could go on and on but you get where I am going with this.

So why do you see so much abuse in religion?

There was a man at our old “church” who had a fetish for little girls.  He was a wicked, disgusting man. He got a slap on the wrist. And eventually went to another church where he was thrown out. Then he went on to another church. He went to jail because the FBI caught him sending naked pictures to a minor over the internet.  When he got out the newest church he attended covered for him and welcomed him in. They were warned he was a bad man. They eventually realized it was truth and he was quietly kicked out. 4 Churches altogether he attended and abused in and he was never reported to the police. No wonder perverts like church! They can do what they want with no real consequences. Do you think Jesus would have allowed child after child be hurt in his church? Let the big bad wolf prey on our daughters in the name of forgiveness?  I don’t think so. forgiveness is a very good thing. However, forgiving doesn’t mean let people get away with crimes. Especially when they ARN’T sorry. They keep doing it and don’t see it as anything wrong!

Another reason abuser gravitate to conservative church is because children are broken and taught to obey the elders/adults/authorities over them NO MATTER what! I’m in charge of you, your are now my slave. This is not healthy! Yes, children should listen and obey but they have to be taught to think. Parents everywhere regardless of their religion or (lack there of) need to talk to their children about inappropriate touching.

Let me side tract for a min because what I am about to say is extremely important. Children are amazingly intuitive when it comes to people and they are very honest. They usually can pick up on a creeper. If our children don’t want to shake hands, hug, kiss and adult don’t make them. Making children show affection for someone who makes them uncomfortable shows them that they have no control over what happens to them. It may not be a matter of being polite. Children can often sense something is not right without being told. We need to teach out children not to do/ allow anything that makes them uncomfortable unless it’s a dr helping them.  Say it often!  It could save them form abuse later. I was asked once by the man I was talking about before. He tried to touch me. He even offered me stuff to trade/ I told him no and shoved him down. It spared me. My friends weren’t so lucky.

I got slightly off tract there, So lets move on. Another reason perverts/ abuser turn to religion is because of the word “God”.  This one was often used to manipulate my husband as a child. “God” – it’s like a magic word. If people think “God” said it they will pretty much do anything.  My husband was always told by his mother “God” put me in charge of you and you’ll do what I say or you’ll angry Him. Even as an adult she pulled the “God” card on him. Every time she moved or did anything impulsive it was always “God” telling her to do stuff.  Every time her house needed cleaned  and she didn’t want to do it (which was always) “God” told her to help him build character. Don’t get me wrong kids should have chores just not all of them. Especially not cool making a teenage boy walk to the laundry mat to wash your underware because so you can sit around and read magazines. Often times abusers use God to intimate people into doing what they’d like. Warren Jeff for example told the little boy that he abused that “God” wanted him to rape him and to keep it a secret. God would never want anything so evil to happen to a child.

The name “God” is often thrown around when really it’s just man/woman abusing thier authority. God would never want a child’s life ruins by sexual abuse.   Nor do I believe God wanted my husband to have a lonely, miserable slave-like childhood.  I certainly didn’t feel God’s presence at my old “church” when the pastor told us to support him or we were going against “God”.

So after much thought I think that a lot of time the abusers ARE drawn to the church but the sad thing is the church also creates abuser. Unfortunately, many children who are abused until being abuser themselves.

How do we fix this?

  1. Do background check on all people who are working church ministries. ESPECIALLY children’s ministries. If a church doesn’t do background checks do not leave your children there!
  2. Listen to your kids. If “that man” give them the creeps or makes them uncomfortable listen to them. I don’t care who he is or how old he is, or even if its a woman and not a man. We as adults were trained not to judge and how to be polite. Children are still leaving that and they are pretty good at picking out a creeper.
  3. Teach our children that no matter what tell if someone makes them uncomfortable EVEN if they said God says not to tell. We have to teach them that God will never tell them to keep secrets like that from mommy and daddy.
  4.  Remember abusers are often people close and often people you trust. Be careful who you leave your kids with.
  5. Be aware that power-hungry people often use ‘God” as a tool to control his people. Remember that a Pastor maybe a man of God but he is also human. Who makes mistakes and has pride. Man worshiping is against God. Respect your pastor but don’t worship him.
  6. Do not hide sexual abuse EVER. Forgiveness is a good thing and takes time but sexual abuse is a CRIME and the proper authorities (THE POLICE) need to be called immediately.
  7. Know the Bible and ask question. If you are going to be part of a church. It’s good to know what is actually in the Bible or what rules are more gray areas. Ask yourself is this really of God?  Questions are healthy. They help us learn and grow. If a pastor doesn’t like questions he might have something to hide.

Think about it, Sage

Forgiveness

My husband and I were discussing my blog yesterday. (He read it through for the first time recently). He has been very supportive of my writing. One of the things we discussed was forgiveness.

My husband said that one thing he appreciates most about our freedom was that he can properly deal with his issues. We were taught to forgive everything right away and move on. Bury it deep and pretend like everything is ok. The bad thing about that is that holding things in isn’t healthy. To properly forgive one must work through it. Other wise it can have unhealthy side effects. My husband suffered from depression for many years before we married. He even had a spout of depression after we had our first son. He was afraid of our son having to live a life the way we did. It was sobering. Obviously, we have chosen a different path. It was something he really needed to work through. While our lives are not perfect now we have a lot more happiness. We are able to enjoy life now. I can honestly say depression doesn’t plaque my husband like it did before. It is a process.

I feel like distance and time really helped me. I used to not be able to say the “leader” of our old cults name without feeling sick to my core. I saw the same name written on a business card awhile back and for the first time I laughed about it. I took it as God saying “be free little bird”. A reminder she has no hold over me.

How do you forgive some one who keep pulling you down? This is a tricky one. My mom seems to have come to terms with my new life. So while she doesn’t agree with it and I get a lot of comments here and there, we are able to interact. However my husband mom, Tina has a much harder time letting go.

Tina, had cut herself off from every family member she had except for my husband, Jack. She did this when jack was a boy. Starting this his father which is a whole big sad story on its own.  She once told my mom she was going to live with Jack forever and have a room in his house when he gets married. She shot herself in the foot so to speak, when she wouldn’t help him when he needed her after he lost his job. That was before we were married. He had taken on all her debt and had to file for bankruptcy. That is how he ended up on his own. He spent his whole life taking care of her. He supported her as soon as he could work. He also did all the house hold chores. When he bought his first car she took it and he took the bus to work. He was pretty much her slave. I saw this first hand when they lived in our guest house/hostel. (I feel the need to clarify. Our houses didn’t really belong to us. All that belonged to another family member. We just lived there and kept it up.)

Here we are almost 8 years later from when Jack and I got married, Tina hasn’t kept a job longer then 2 or MAYBE 3 years. She has moved more time them I can count. The last time I counted she was at 13 places. And she now currently out of work and on the verge of being homeless.  She wants to stay with us. She has been laying the guilt trips down thick on poor Jack. I feel bad for her. I pity her even some. She used people her whole life like a black hole and never learned to take care of herself. But we can’t go back to taking care of her. It’s not fair to Jack. She took away his childhood and part of his adulhood. She drug him down for her own selfish gain. So we aren’t sure what to do or how to cope with this. Is a few short months she is moving here and planning on staying in her car or so she says.

Supportive manipulation is that a thing? I think so. Jack joined a support group online. It wasn’t long before Tina found it.

Word of advice before I continue: When joining an internet forum that you are writing personal stuff you don’t want you nosey mother reading don’t use your real email address. Chances are she goggles your email address regularly.

He wrote some personal things in there about his search to find God.  He talked about mixed feeling and struggles with being a christian or not. Tina called him after reading this to express her “support”. She told him that when she was young she went through this too and she would help him find his way back. This was upsetting for many reasons. 1. She was googling his name and email address to snoop on him. Or at least that is what we think. The internet is a huge place. Why else would she be snooping in a ex-religious support group when she is still very religious? 2. He didn’t ask for her help. Pray for him but don’t push him. 3. It’s not really support if your just trying to “support” him so you can get him back to doing/ feeling the way you want him to feel.

So started her campaign to being him back to God. She sent movies “God is not dead”, she sent music  christian music CDs, and there wanted to have long discussions on the subject. I always reminded him he will find his way back.  The funny thing is Jack isn’t anti God. We go to church. we are finding our path. We just need to find it without the pressures. It’s hard to believe her anyways. She used religion to control him and manipulate him. It’s a miracle he has any faith at all.

I guess I said all that to get to this. forgiveness is a process. You can take life in many ways. You can let it make you hard and angry or you can roll with the punches and work through it. Taking it one step at a time really helps.  There is no shame in getting help from the proper people. Find a way that helps to face and deal with your issues such as writing, or talking to someone. Face your feelings. That one was a hard one me. Ok this post is longer then I intended so I’ll leave you here.

Until next time, Sage

Part 8: A little light in a dark place

Jack and I kept in contact secretly. We met when we could. It wasnt easy because our parents kept close taps on us. A week before I was supposed to go away to Christian college, Jack asked to meet me. He hinted that he had something for me. We often talked about a future together. He asked me if I saw him in my future. I did.  He boldly asked if I would accept if he asked me to marry him. I knew would and I told him so. Though I was in no hurry to marry just yet. I knew one day I could see us together and happy.  So an engagment now would be ok. Asking my parents permission was not on the table anymore. We both knew this was so. We were on the same page. Our feelings, thoughts, and beliefs. We planned a meeting down the street as we usually did.  I slipped out the back door. No matter how many times I did it, walking down the street frightened me. This time as different from the others. This time we got in his car and we drove to a near by empty parking lot. I knew he was going to propose. His not-so-subtle questions implied it clearly. But it still left me feeling surprised for some reason. It felt like a dream. He pulled out a small ring-sized box. To be honest I have no idea what he said to me. His words floated in the air but never reached my ears. I was beaming. The next thing I knew he had stopped talking. I sat there smiling like a Cheshire cat. “Well, are you going to answer me?” I finally heard him. I nodded “yes” like a mute idiot. He whispered, “can I hear you say it?” I had lost all words. My mind was screaming “yes” but I was unable to get the words off my lips. So instead I kissed him deeply. When I pulled back he asked if he could take that as a yes? I finally blurted the words out. “YES! YES!” Looking back I am surprised I left that night with my virginity in tacked.I was completely his mentally and he was mine. I obviously had to hide my little engagement trinket. That didn’t stop me from showing if off to my sister, Olivia. My one trusted confident. She was happy for me and I took joy in this. She was now married herself and she knew what a battled I had ahead of me. Going off to college put Jack and I in different states. Long distances are usually quite difficult for normal people. For us it allowed us to freely talk with out worry of repercussions. It also spared my of my mother’s constant jabs or complaints about my love for Jack. I never talked about him in front of her but that didn’t stop her from taking digs at me. School did have many disadvantages. The rules were much like that of my former “church” we had left just a year or so before. Some of the rules were worse. Every moment of my time was accounted for by the school. We had to get permission for everything we did, who we were with and where we went. It was like being in jail. We had to wear our Sunday morning best pretty much all the time. Everything had to be covered up for the girls from our necks down below the knees aside from our hands. Short sleeves were allowed as long as the complete shoulders were covered. Not even the tiniest slit in our skirts were permitted. Yes, this meant if our skirt buttoned up it had to be sewed or pinned shut under the last butten all the way to the end of the skirt. Otherwise it was considered immodest. No matter how long the skirt or “slit”. Pantyhose were a a huge deal. If we were caught without them and we were in big trouble! I often wore long skirts and boots to get around having to wear them. We also had a bedtime. Lights had to be out before 11.There was no internet access for students and men and woman were NOT allowed at the public library at the same time. Doing research papers with not an easy task.  I hated it but I was relieved to be away from home so I got through it. I focused on work, school and the highlight of my day-my phone calls with Jack. During the time I was a school Jack and I got to know each other more and more. We spend hours on the phone and texting during the week.  We knew each other’s schedules by heart. My co-workers hung on to our story like it was the “it” soap opera. Soon we had known each other for about a year. Jack and I had a rare opportunity to see each other. I had a particular rough week. I had just lost someone close to me and was feeling a lot of grief.  We meet in the cover of night as we used to do. I climbed into his car and we went and parked in an old empty parking lot. I fought back tears. I had missed him. I was overwhelmed with sadness. He told me it was ok to cry. I was too embarrassed to let go. I also afraid if I cried I wouldn’t be able to stop. He held me in his arms comforting me. He gently kissed my fore head. He sang to me my favorite Elvis song I couldn’t control myself any more. He ran his fingers through my hair. After some time I regained my composure. We talked and he comforted me. I told him I was ready to be his completely. At this point all bets were off. We had tried so hard to be good. We tried to follow the rules and things weren’t getting any better. I hadn’t planned it. It was just what I wanted. We were married in our hearts. He said no at first because I was in a vulnerable state and he didn’t to take advantage of me. I asked again and he he agreed. It was a first for both of us. We had many first together but this was the biggest. I expected to feel guilt, regret, and maybe even dirty after I lost my virginity. I had been taught my whole life sex before married made you dirty. Like an old rag God didn’t want anymore. But to be honest it was somewhat freeing. We were married in our hearts. Just waiting for the best opportunity to make it so on paper. We both had to be freed. He needed freedom from his mother and I needed freedom from my promise of 1 year of college. SO I could at least say I tried.  I went to bed that night feeling good. Neither of us had ever had the “sex ” talk with our parents or anyone for that matter. We never even got the” period” talk. Most of what we knew about sex had been secretly read from library books. It was awkward for sure but it was beautiful. It was us. It was real. Jack got laid off from his job and he had to go off his antidepressants because he now had no job or insurance to cover them. Tina, his mother decided that he wasn’t working hard enough to get another job. She refused to pay any of the bills to help him until he got a new job. He couldn’t go on like this. Soon they would lose their place of residence. Jack had to file for bankruptcy. He had a lot of debt from Tina that he had taken on in the past and was still paying off on top of  bills and other living expenses. It was crushing him. This was terribly hard for Jack. He was very responsible guy by nature. He was used to taking care of himself and his mom from an early age and this put him in a tight spot. He decided to start applying for job in other states. He got a job interview a place across the country with the first application. The first thing he did was call me. He asked my opinion on it. He didn’t want to move anywhere that I wasn’t willing to go with go him. After much thought and discussion, we decided it was the best thing. It could be best for both of us to get away. College was coming to an end for me we were getting close now. Tina, however took it personally. She felt like Jack was just trying to get away from her. He wasn’t really do it for that reason but it was an excellent chance to make a clean break with out leaving her high and dry since he did have an income. Giving his current situation he had no choice but to take the chance regardless. So he went. This state was a place he had lived before with his mom. He called ahead to church that he attended and found old class mate from his christian school, who agreed let him rent a room for a while. This is one of the best things to happen for him. There was no room for his mom. The old class mate was part of the Mackenzie family. They were brothers who lived together and they had one room available. They knew Jack and his mother in the past. They agreed that he could stay as long as he liked but Tina couldn’t live there too. Tina, of course, followed Jack as soon as she could get a job transfer. But had to find somewhere else to stay. She rented from a room from another church member.( It didn’t last long though over the next 3 years she moved a totally of 13). This was really the clean break he needed. This was his first step to freedom. So here I leave you again.

Until next time, Sage

Copyright Sage © 2015  Starting over and Breaking Free. Do not use without my permission.

Part 7: Where do we go from here?

2015-05-04 02.57.19

This little cartoon applies to the way I feel writing about this stuff.

Over the next few days… weeks even, I felt numb. I was dead inside. I had no idea how to process my pain and worry about Jack. I had no way of knowing if he was ok or not. When him was admitted to the hospita,l they took his cell phone and he now had no internet access. He had reached the point of clinical depression. He was in a regular hospital not a mental hospital like my mom had said. I wanted to visit him but I had no way of getting there. I was stuck.

What drove him to this? Jack felt trapped and hopeless. His mom had a job but he was still supporting her financially. She only paid her car payments. Aside from his work, she went everywhere with him. If he wanted to go anywhere alone, she would start a fight about how she was his mother and god-giving authority. If that didn’t work she would cried about how he didn’t want to be around her. Eventually, he gave in. She was telling my mother that he was turning away from God. She used his enjoyment of “wicked” rock music and mine as well as mine as proof of his corruption of me. Nevermind the fact that I enjoyed it before he came along. Tina, also told my mom he was abusive toward her.  My mom bought it all. He was a very kind man. He put up with a lot of crap. Now there was no hope of  my parent’s approval.

His mom controlled everything he did. She even controlled the way he dressed. He wasn’t allow to wear casual clothes. Only collared shirts and khaki pants. She picked his hair cut. She even controlled where he went to college after graduating high school. Of Course it was nearby so he wouldn’t be able to leave her. After a year she decided that God no longer wanted him there because she wanted to move to another state and she wouldn’t allow him to go back. Of course he had never been allowed to go to any school that would allow for him to have a proper career.

Our lack of communication added to the pile. He wanted to be free. He wanted to have a family with me. He had heard I moved on. He lost all hope. He slashed his wrist. Thankfully, his attempt failed.

After he had healed and was giving antidepressants.  He was sent home. He started attending another church with Tina. It was too far too painful to face people after what he had done. We were able to sneak a few phone calls while I was at work. We worked it out between us. We were both still willing to give it a shot even though both our parents were both actively trying to pull us apart. I was hurt and angry about what he did. But at the same time I have harbored thoughts of killing myself in my past so I sympathized. We talked about it and I said they only way I would still fight for him is if he never tried that again. He promised. We both agreed not to listen to the things our parents said in attempt to break us up. It was mostly lies anyways. We were ready to move on. Our parents were not.

One day Tina called my mom. I answered the phone first but didn’t hang up when my mom answered. (We had two phones. One each in different sides of the house)She told my mom that she was checking the phone bill and that we were still in communication. After that Jack bought me a cell phone. Now he had to get it too me.

We arranged to meet down the street after everyone had gone to sleep. It had been a good month or so I think since we saw each other. I missed him so much. I creeped out the back door as quietly as I could.. It was dark. The only light around was a street light at the end of the driveway. I tried to avoid it so no one would see me. I walked rapidly down the street My hard pounded. What if someone saw me? What if there were drunks or kidnappers out there? I saw a shadow and jumped. Was that Jack? I whispered his name. I heard his voice responded. I’m not sure what he said but it was him! I could hardly make out his face but that didn’t stop me from jumping into his arms. I somehow managed to pull it off with out too much trouble. We hugged and emotions flooded around us. He led me back to his car so we could have some light. He gave me a cell phone and we cuddled and talked. I promised me one again to never try to end his life and apologies for his selfishness. I felt at home in his arms. I will admit it,we kissed..a lot…a whole lot. I kissed him first. He asked me if I was sure I was ok with kissing. He wanted to make sure I didn’t feel like I was being taken advantage of by him. and that I still loved him.  I never did. He was also very careful to be respectful even when I was the one pursuing him.  This was the first time I felt happiness since he moved out of our little hostel.

We still had a long way to go.  I loved him dearly but I wasn’t sure how we were going to make this work. I was nearly 19 and I had only a short time before I would go off to Christian college. I wasn’t just yet ready to marry a man. Let alone one I had only met 7 or 8 months ago. But I certainly wasn’t letting go! We needed each other. I walked home slowly. I had no idea what to feel. I wanted to feel happy but was that possible? Was I meant to ever be happy?

I suppose this is enough for now. Writing the last two posts affecting me more than I expected. It is often hard to reflect on difficult parts of our past but it makes us stronger when we learn from our mistakes or grow from our experiences.

Until next time, Sage

Post 6: Dark ages

This point in my life I often referred to as my “Dark ages.” It was an unhappy painful time. Our forbidden love was taking root. Things seemed impossible. I couldn’t pull back from the relationship but I couldn’t see how we could go on either with disapproving parents.

The next morning after our first kiss, I received an email from Jack. I had been trained not to have emotions aside from fake joy or perhaps real joy (if I could muster soome up) and of course fear, as it kept me in line. I had let my guard down and I don’t think I reacted to Jack’s kiss and proclamation of love as I wanted too. I scared him. He was afraid he pushed me too far. He has crossed a line that made me feel uncomfortable. I wasn’t really uncomfortable just maybe overwhelmed. I did feel joy in his kiss but fear and uncertainty as well.

I went back to an old email that I created so Jack and I could email with out my parent’s knowledge. I was hoping to share the email he wrote to me but I was so sad to see it was deactivated for sitting un-used for so long. It was gone. I did some digging and I actually realized he had sent it to my regular email address. It was buried deep but here it is:

Dear Sage,
     I am very glad we got around to sharing our feelings last night!
     What I would like to do is set some boundaries for us so we can maintain our testimonies and continue to glorify God. I think God is very interested in us and He is the One we will follow. I believe we should not kiss. It is a line I will not cross again and I would ask you to do the same. Not because it is a bad thing (I enjoyed it!!), but simply because it would be wise as a guard against things which are obviously not appropriate for us right now. The right time will come!
     God has given us too good of a relationship for me to allow Satan to cause problems. He has blessed us beyond measure and we should commit ourselves to honoring Him.
     You are special to me and I really don’t want it any other way! I can’t help but stand amazed at how God allowed me to meet someone as like-minded and cool as you.
 Jack 😛
While he did say all the “right” things for a “good christian” man to say, I was crushed. I thought he regretted our kiss. 3 days we tried to behave. It was incredible awkward. We didn’t know how to act around each other.  Seeing him but not being able to hold his hands or kiss his lips felt like slow torture. 3 days…The 3rd afternoon I gave up.
 I was able to catch him alone on a chance.  I said I understood why he didn’t want to kiss but it felt cold between us and I hated it and I couldn’t take it anymore. He seemed very relieved. He felt the same way but didn’t know how to fix it.  He confessed that while he wanted God on our side he was mainly worried that I felt pressure to go further than I was willing to go. He never meant to make me feel this way. It was basically a misunderstanding of my reaction to our kiss. After that things seemed better between us. We held hands but kept things calm for the most point.
Jack soon found a place to live. I was happy Tina was going, but very sad to see him go. Our last night together at my house, we sat on the couch holding hands.  Oh, how I was going to miss this time with him. Finally, I gave in to my urge to hold him. I climbed into his lap and wrapped my arms around his neck. I laid my head on his shoulder. He didn’t push me away. Instead he hugged me. I fought back the urge to cry. I kissed him and he kissed back. We didn’t care about rules. Nothing else mattered.  I accidentally said, ” I love you!’ The words surprised me as I meant to say “I like you”. But that wasn’t the truth. I didn’t just like him. I was in LOVE. Head over heals in love. I started to correct myself but instead I said ” Oh hell! Forget it. I love you!” He smiled and said “I love you” back to me. While “hell” was not a word we were allowed to used unless referring to the place people burn when they die, I felt the need to use it in this instant. It was my way of saying rules be damned! I loved him more than anyone. We cuddled there for as long as we could and then we both went to our own separate beds.This wouldn’t be the end..I wouldn’t give up. That was the last time we met in the common room alone together.
Jack and I talked a mutual friend about the situation. His name was Rob. He talked to my parents and then talked to us. We came up with an agreement. We promised our parents we would behave and follow their rules with the hope that they would allow us to date after I attended one year of  an approved Christian college. We stopped emailing and seeing each other at church. Though occasionally we exchanged secret facial gestures as a way of saying, “I love you, hang in there”.  Later it came out that my parents were really hoping a year of college would help me move on.  My mother pushed a number of boys she picked out for me toward my way. Even told Tina that I had moved on because I spent time with a boy on a church project. But I had no interest in him. It was merely a job. It was getting harder and harder being apart and doing it my parents way.
I graduated high school. In about 3 months I would be going off to college. I was depressed. I was in pain. I was done playing the good “christian” girl.  I sent Jack and email waving my white flag of obedience to a rule I never wanted to follow. I was ready to be with him. I was ready to be his girl friend again. I just needed to hear him speak.
I got no reply. Maybe he wasnt ready? Maybe he gave up? Days pasted. Jack always answered my every email right away. I heard nothing.
 I often spent time sitting in a tree in my back yard jotting down short stories, drawing random things, or writing personal musings. This had been one of those days. I was having trouble focusing so I gave up and went back inside. When I walked through the door I heard my mom say too soomeone on the phone that I was back and that she had to go. She hung up and I cringed. She called my name. I leaned against the door frame of the room. Her face was somber. She told me that Jack had tried to commit suicide the night before. The news hit me like a brick in the face. I ran to my room. I heard her call behind me that he was in a mental hospital and that she was right all a long. She warned me they was crazy. As it turned out he had never received my email. I typed it in wrong. He didn’t know I was still holding onto hope. He only knew what he was told .I had moved on and my parents were never going to let us court.
Those words plunged into me like daggers to my heart. He wasn’t crazy. He was trapped. We were trapped.
Sorry but this is were I have to stop. As I type my hands are shaking. I need to regroup. So I will have to leave you here.
Until next time, Sage
Copyright Sage © 2015  Starting over and Breaking Free. Do not use without my permission.