Part 9: One last leap to freedom

A few days ago I let my husband in on my blogging secret. Even though I am doing this anonymously, this is his life too. I am sharing our lives with the whole world. So I told him about it. He was awesome and so supportive. Even went so far to say he was glad I had an outlet to work through things.

I have a few readers now or at least views. It feels very weird sharing personal detail of my life that I never told anyone else aside from my husband. I second guessed myself a million times about writing things because of judgement. But this is my story and even the things less than ideal are a part of it so I will continue.

A month pasted since Jack and I had our rendezvous. Jack and I were living in different states. We talked on the phone every single day. . I had only months left in school. He was doing much better.We were talking about marriage but no plans were set just yet.We were happy together.

I woke up one morning feeling horribly sick. I though it might have been a bug or something but after several days it didn’t pass. The smell of things made me sick to my stomach. I was exhausted.Yes, I’m sure you see where is going. I was late… I had never been late before.  While Jack and I knew about the basics of birth control from various pop culture, I was not on birth control. My parents would NEVER let me use it even if it was medical reasons. I closes thing I had to “the talk” was when the “Leader” from our former church had told only dirty girls have sex before marriage. They also get STDs. I had never seen a condom in real life nor did I really know how to use one. I was too was afraid that if we bought contraception, we would get caught.Plus, our night together waaasnt really planned. So we tried to just well… without going into the gritty details “be careful” naturally. This was not such a good idea. While I don’t really regret being with Jack, I did wish it were under better circumstances. Or that we had been better prepared. Meeting at night wasn’t the best idea. The temptation to indulge was strong. But meeting during the day was not an option. My parents would never approve. How silly is it that two adults needed their parents approval?

Jack wanted to come and get me as soon as I told him. I hadn’t even taken a pregnancy test yet. I told him to wait until I was sure. I wasn’t allowed to go to the store alone so I had no idea how I was even going to get a test without getting in trouble. I tried to pretend this wasn’t happening but my nausea wasn’t helping any.

One morning a few weeks later I woke up feeling weak and achy. I went on like usual. I had a really hard time focusing in class. I went back to my dorm room at lunch time to rest before I had to go to work. I was in horrible pain now.  Pain like I hadn’t felt before. If I had been pregnant I wasn’t anymore. I felt sad and scared. I didn’t know for sure what was happening. But I won’t lie I wonder if it wasn’t God’s judgement on me.  Miscarriages ran in my family. My mom and my sister, Olivia both had lost their first babies. Olivia also lost her second at 6 weeks along. I tried to shake the thoughts out of my head. I popped a few Advil and suffered through it. That time was a blur. I am pretty sure I took some sick days but I can’t remember how many or how long. When I did go back to work I remember trying to pretend I was alright. I ended up with dish duty at the restaurant where I was working. It made it easier because I was alone and I didn’t have to force myself to hide the pain I was in.  It lasted for nearly 2 weeks. I did my best to pretend I was ok but I wasn’t. Jack tried his best to be there for me from a far but there wasn’t much he could do. My parents told the college to look at for him so we couldn’t see each other. I went through it alone and silently. I told no one at the college about it. If anyone asked if I was ok I blamed it on the flu. Soon I recovered and pushed my thoughts and emotions deep down and moved on.

By the time I finished my year of college, Jack had already moved away to another state. I transferred my job back to the area where my family lived. Jack was doing well. He continued to rent from his friend and we decided he would continue until after I joined him so we could find an apartment together. The summer passed and Jack was more than ready to marry me but I wasnt quite ready yet. He was the amazingly patient with me. I wanted be 100% this was right. His mother had called me and fed me lies about how he was going to beat me after we were married because he was abusive to her. While I didn’t believe her since she was a known liar, I was afraid. If it didn’t work out I’d have to come home with my tail between my legs.

Nearly 2 years after Jack walked through my door I finally told him I was ready. He got a plane ticket because I didn’t want to make the trip to an unknow place by myself.  I gave my 2 weeks notice at work. I didn’t want to ruin the last few months with my family so I didn’t tell anyone except for Olivia and another close friend.  I gave them one last holiday-Thanksgiving. A couple of days before I left I told my mom I was going. She didn’t take it well. She called the pastor of our church but he told her to let me go. I was 20 years old. I had to make my own choice. I was very surprised. (Shout out to Pastor P. for granted me my freedom). The “church” we used to go to probably would have told them to lock me in the basement.

My mom didn’t let go without a fight. There were tears and “fasting”( Going with out food in hopes that God will grant your prayers), loud praying and guilt trips poured down on me. Of course yelling and warnings too.

The night before Jack arrived I got cold feet. I felt like I had betrayed my family.  Even my sister Kolbie was crying. I called Jack and told him how I felt. He said I’m coming anyways either way but not to worry. I dont think I slept at all.

That morning I packed what I could fit in suit case and a pillow case which wasn’t much. I left my bags at home and for the first time I met Jack down the street in day light. I was shaking and full of  uncertainty. I wanted him so bad but could I leave everything I’ve known?

Jack hugged me tightly. I hugged him back and took in his smell. He was warm and familiar. We sat together. He told me he loved me and wanted me to come with him but he would understand if I didn’t. I appreciated so much how he treated me like a person. He was the first person who let me decide my fate instead of telling m what to think or do. It was my choice to make and he never pressured me or amde me feel guilty for getting cold feet or feeling uncertain.

I called Rob, my friend, who had played a mediator between my parents, Jack and I before. I needed some outside advice. He said something that put everything in perspective. He said, “Do you love him?” I replied that I did. ” He said ” Sage, the only one stopping you is you now.”  He was right! I let the guilt and fear hold me down.  I needed to simply walk away. I kissed jack and went back and got my stuff that I packed and left the rest behind. I told my mom I loved her, dad, and Kolbie. Then I left with Jack.

That was the day I truly found freedom.  That was the day my new life started

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.

Welcome to my blog

Let me start by saying I’m not responsible for any ads that may appear on my blog.

These are the real live accounts of my life. I have spent the last several years of my life trying to find myself. Undoing the things I was taught as a child. I came from an extremely conservative, religious background . In my new life, I’ve done things for the very first time as an adult, that most people would consider normal as children. This blog is my way of working through all the things I have tried and learned in the past few years along with the accounts of my past in what I can only describe as a controlling cult. This is about my thoughts and feelings on my whole experience.

These are my words and my story. Please don’t take them without my permission.

Sage © 2015  Starting over and Breaking Free.

I have labeled the post about my story as “Part 1”, “Part 2”, and “Part 3’…etc. Those posts are my back story. So you can read them in order and you know what is what. If I  leave it off, it is either unrelated or we have gotten to my current life story. I am new to this whole blogging thing so please bear with me. Scroll all the way down if you’d like to start at the beginning.

.

Part 2: Before the beginning…continuation

There was a lot of abuse that went on within the cult/ “church”. Vacations were NOT allowed. Weakness was certainly not allowed.. You smiled through the pain. Fake it until you make it was a common phrase. Because that’s what Jesus would do? If one got injured while in the care of the cult/church they weren’t allow to go to a doctor especially if you cried. We were taught to suck it up. As a result there was a lot of damaged done, including me. physically and emotionally. I spent a week with lets call this person ” The Leader” and other youth at a sleep away comference. A week of lectures and preaching.  While the leader was not the main leader of the church or “preacher” as he was called, this said person controlled everything that when on. The leader was the puppet master. Anyways, I broke a bone on this trip but was told that I was faking it and being a baby. I cried. I remember it hurt so bad. I don’t think I had every felt pain like that. The Leader only person I’ve ever been afraid in my life was our leader. But I hurt and when one hurts tears are a natural reaction to physical and/or emotional pain. I bit my lip and dried it up per her command in hopes I could see a doctor. I agonized in silent with a forced smile on my face because that is what good girls do. I never got to see a doctor. She said I was fine and to let it go. I don’t pity myself. But I do feel anger writing about this. Maybe not at leader but myself for allowing it. I really should have done something myself. I feel like I should have walked away. Leader has a habit of getting physical for example hitting, grabbing arms, general bullying, etc but I often wish I had run away or called for help. When we went home I was afraid to tell my parents even because even time my mom would fight for me, hell fire would rain down on my head if my mom tried to make right it. Again I wish I had done something and told them. It wouldn’t have helped the situation but at least my bone would have gotten fixed properly. But the Leader would make a public example of me as someone trying to hurt our precious cause. Someone trying to create a rift because the parents and the leaders. She would point me out to other leaders as a trouble maker, rebellious, weak. So I suffered through it until it healed on it own. It did not heal properly and still isn’t. It’s a reminder of what I have overcome. In another instant I spoke up and I was in fact made an example of rebellion. This is how I learned the skill to hide my injuries/sickness. It’s a hard habit to break and has almost gotten me killed. But that is another story.

Boys had it much easier than the girls. But the leaders were very hard on the all children/ teenagers. If you step out of line you went to what we called “the dungeon”. This was merely a room with out windows in the basement. Some kids were whooped for their wrong doings, rebellion, insubordination. The lucky ones were just grilled and lectured until they saw the errors of their ways. I remember one instant a child I was very close to was taken and slapped repeatedly by the leader because she was struggling with understanding her school work.

While recruiting to our “church” was an important part of the “church” outsiders weren’t really welcome in the school. You had to be a member and \have regular attendance 3 times a week in order to attend the school. There was no janitor so kids often had to spend the afternoon cleaning the whole build after school. If it wasnt good enough you stayed until they approved. The leader sat around supervising us usually eating something. If you didn’t do it joyfully to the dungeon you went to have a discussion about your heart. We even had to clean things we weren’t allow to use. We really just cleaned up after ourselves and the staff. While they staff complained about being too under paid and over worked to put up with us. But they did it for the cause. They acted as if they were saints for keeping us from being devoured by the wicked world. I spent a lot of time feeling sad and broken. I spend a lot of time in the dungeon because I didn’t smile through it like I ought.

I did have a small light. When I was a teenager I bought a CD of Elvis music( This was in the early years of 2000s). I adore it. It would have never been approved. Not even if Elvis sang about Jesus. Christian rock was also off limits as well as south gospel. We were only allowed to listen to hymns or classical-like pieces about Jesus.  I kept my CDs hidden behind a loose board in my closet. I would pull it out and listen to it on my CD player I had bought. I could only listen to it at home as it wasnt permitted at “church or school” and at home. While my parents were less strict in this area they prefered me to listen to music about God/ Jesus. But they never really checked what I was listening to regardless. Though if they saw it laying around they would most likely toss it in the trash.  I memorized every world to the songs on my CD. I used to sit up in a tree in my backyard. Scribbling short stories in a notebook and taking in every word in the music I listened too. When spending my afternoons doing dishes and other manual labor at the “church” I would replay them in my mind. What really go me through everyday was to be in another place. When I got stressed or when I couldn’t take another minute, I would go in the bathroom. Shut my eyes and pretend there was a secret door. It was my escape.  Would imagine myself going into the secret room. It was dark aside from a light streaming in through the top. I climb out the top out into a meadow and run and run. I was running away. Elvis music playing in the back ground. I was free. It seems so silly looking back. I never told anyone about this except my husband. I really just longed for away out. I always did. I guess you can say that was my happy place there in my head.

Outside friends were not permitted unless you could convert them. Basically, if you can bring them to church/ or they go to our church, they can be your friend. I had a very close friend who parents no longer allowed her to go to the church services and as a result she was kicked out of the school. I felt like the end of the world. I felt like I would never see her again. We decided to write each other to keep in touch. The leader found out about it and decided she was writing things to pollute my mind (having not even seen our/ read our letters). All our letters and contact to/from my friend had to now go through the leader. The leader controlled everything. After that, I didn’t hear from my friend again until I was an adult. I regret this very much. I wish we had done it more secretly. I had to give up more than one friend this way. None because I wanted too. Some because it was just easier than fighting the battle to keep them. OUR WHOLE LIFE was the “church”. I just wanted to avoid the dungeon visits and get through it so I can get out.  By now I didn’t know anything else.

We were allowed to have some fun. Fun to the youth was riding around a in a van all day on weekend trying to convert people to our little “church”. We also spend long periods of time listening to lectures and learning about how to prove we are right on. But there was no healthy debating. If you disagreed you were probably going to hell. And you were most definitely rebellious. rebellious children needed to be broken. It was so much easier to agree with everything then to be broken until you did agree. While they used the “Bible” in their debates most of the rules were not biblical but merely the ideals of the leader. For example: Any thing popular was wicked. Hair dos, fades, even words such as “cool”. Therefore it was sin. My biggest battle was my hair. I prefered wearing it down and this was unacceptable and showed my wicked heart. Clothes weren’t a problem because we all worn uniforms. All the way done to the shoes.  They had to be same flat shoes. Because thick-soled shoes were men’s shoes (even if they were famine shoes from the lady’s section) and therefore you were cross dressing. Nail polish was another enjoyment I had that was crushed. Since I spent 7 days a week there aside from summer I wasn’t supposed to wear it. ( I got around this by wearing clear.) On off days we were allow to wear light pink. Other colors such as light purple to bright orange made you a slut. Painting your nail a slutty color was one step away from becoming a pregnant teenager.

Abstinence was a law. Being a lone with a boy was never allowed. We never, ever had an opportunity anyways. Though a little secret between me and this secret blog, I used to dream about being pregnant because I thought it was the only way out. As the leader told the girls. If you get pregnant your throwing away your youth and you when no longer be my responsibility. You’ll move on to the adult group. I made the leader angry because I couldn’t hid the joy this statement gave me from my face. I earned myself a lecture. Mostly about STDs and God’s judgement on me, I think. Those words stuck with me but the lecture did not. I don’t really remember what was said really aside from STDS and God’s judgement…haha.  Oh! How lucky I would be! I had too much self-respect to go off with anyone though. I wasn’t much of a boy chaser. I rather be friends with guys than date them all. I was never given the sex talk. Parents usually gave their kids a book to read about it right before the wedding. So I can’t say at this point I would have really known how to get pregnant.

Marriages were arranged.  No courting ‘ chosen man’ until after a full year of college. Religious colleges were a required at least a year but if you quit after a year, you had no character. And usually were lectured until your mind was changed, We werent allow to work a job out in the world for risk that we stray. We could find a job once we are at college which left the newly high school grads from poor families in debt.

So that is my back story. The young virgin girl who never kissed a boy. Miserable little bird who wanted dreamed of flying. At this point I’m 17 and all I can think about is my escape. My parents are seeing I am unhappy and with drawn. They are realizing just how deep we are in and how this is affecting me. The laws of the “church” grow tighter every year.

I leave you here if you are still even with me. Are you still with me? My next post will about my new life.
Untik next time, Sage