I don’t know when it started —
It wasn’t like a light switch. It isn’t something you can turn on and off.
It didn’t happen suddenly. It was more like oil leaking slowly into the ocean. It seeped in gradually, until it was the only thing that was there.
I was talking to my friends one afternoon, and after going over struggles I was having, I realized with tears and fear — even more than fear, it was terror —
“Oh my gosh, I think I have depression! What do I do?!”
Depression seemed like an ocean, like a terrible storm that had come to drown me. What do I do? Find help. And so I did. But help is also very unlike a light switch.
The darkness doesn’t switch off and go away just because you seek help. Oh, no. It is layers upon layers of discovery into WHY.
I began to feel as though I were ripping screens off of my forehead that had been nailed there over my eyes, one by one over the years.
Layers of screens from a window pane, or screens such as people use after they have panned for gold. Only the gold never got discovered, only the dirt and grime got past the screens, so that more darkness was added.
Bringing with it layers of confusion, pain, and fear. Layers of dirty screens until everything was dark.
Blindfolded. Darkness. Pain.
The perpetrators varied. An organization. A teacher. Parents when they tried to teach me something that they thought would protect me. Information was sifted by these authorities, according to what they believed.
When I was in the beginning stages of these discoveries I began to deal with many things, like crisis of reality, mental illness, depression, anxiety, panic attacks and more. I found lots of anger. Lots of questions.
“Why did the Church, and places like ATI/IBLP(a type of cult) put these screens here?! When did this happen to me?!?! I will rip them out one by one no matter how bloody I get!! Get them off of me!! When did these gags get shoved into my mouth so far down that I cannot speak out? I can’t communicate what I feel! When did my brain start to jumble sound like that? Are things too loud or are they too muffled? What is this constant aching pressure in my chest that writhes its way up around my throat threatening to choke me. I can’t feel my body at all, it isn’t there…… No, it is there, I feel it all too well. My legs are so heavy they sink into the bed like it is water. Pressure, pressure is everywhere. Everything hurts. EVERYTHING. I don’t know who I am. But I just want to go to sleep, and never wake up.”
I had to travel through the depths of myself, like exploring the depths of the ocean.
I had to travel through my memories that burned like fire up from my soul
into hot tears that threatened to never end.
And then one day I found myself. After reading old diaries of a poor, beaten down child and teenager, I found all the pain, and I followed it.
I followed the pain, and I allowed it to guide me through its path in my heart, and the patterns it had weaved through my life.
But in doing so, it felt like the pain would never end, so I started screaming one day into a pillow in my room. My fists clenched, body aching from the stress and strain, I kicked, I punched my bed. I yelled at the ones who scared me,
“Get away from me! Get behind me!! SHUT UP!!” GO AWAY!! Get out of my head!!”
Then, suddenly, the stronger older me emerged from the flames, and it was as if my head finally broke the surface of the sea. I stepped forward out of the raging turmoil of my soul, I tucked that small innocent broken little me into my arms, and I said to her through the wailing tears,
“Do not listen to their lies. Rebuke the shame they place on you.
Don’t you let them hurt you anymore. Don’t let them beat you down!
You were made this way on purpose, and one day, you will be free.”
And so I am. The lies that I am lesser than my ‘authorities’. The lies that I am only made to be one thing because I am a girl. The lies that I am only here to help, to please, to be pretty, to be acceptable, to be subject, to be trampled on, to be spoken over, to be hushed, to be patronized, to be shamed, to be controlled.
All those ‘good’ marriage lies about Love and Respect, Submission and Silence.
Oh the lies, I don’t even know them all, but they controlled me until that day.
Now I am not as broken anymore, and I will not be silent.
I have been reborn from the sea and fire. The two things I thought were my enemies, the two things that I thought would destroy me, were actually the tools that set me free from the real enemy:
the chains of fundamentalism, complementarianism, legalistic Christianity.
That version of religion rears a myriad of terrors, and false love.
It imprisons and oppresses. But it will no longer imprison, terrorize, or oppress me.