Before I launch into an explanation of the title to this post, I just want to thank Jen Brimhall for posting a comment to my previous post, Now is the Summer of My Discontent? Her comment was perfectly timed and very very kind. It provided the exact boost I needed at the exact time it was needed.
Apparently I, as a writer, am emotionally fragile. Or maybe I’m a wuss. Maybe I’m just sensitive.
On we go.
In case you didn’t know it, I actually was born and raised in a cult. (But he looks so normal! Scandalous!) Hush, it’s not that big of a deal.
Except, really, it kind of is. I’ve spent the better part of the last 19 years trying to figure out what place that cult and the first seventeen or so years of my life has in my life today, and each day, and it’s harder than I think. Sometimes I think I’ve got it squared away and buttoned down. But then it turns out I don’t.
Today I was at Red Lobster (ENDLESS SHRIMP) for date night with Her Highness and we were talking family dynamics. I brought up a discussion that some coworkers’d had about in-laws and how I really had nothing to add since my in-laws are all pretty cool.
Her Highness then pointed out that she didn’t have much to add either.
She had a good point. My mom died about eleven years ago. What’s more, she had essentially given me up for adoption by the cult she had joined years before I was born.
Then I had an emotional reaction, and as I often do when I have an emotional reaction, I went very quiet. I then said, “Yeah, well, she made a mistake. A big freaking mistake.” And there was a lot more emotional weight to those words than I expected, having had it all buttonholed lately.
Summing up: I was born and raised in a cult into which my mother had assimilated soon after she had her first son by her first husband. She married one of the cult founders, who was British (most of the cult founders were British), and had another son, who is my older brother, the Professor. Then she had me, but her Brit husband wasn’t my father, although he is on my birth certificate. The cult expected the following of those who joined it: total dedication, a consecration of all their earthly goods including inheritances, fealty to the point of giving up kids to be cared for en masse by any random cult member, and lifelong and full-life devotion.
We lived communally. I grew up with about 25 or so other kids who are quasi-brothers and sisters and who were: often my best friends, often my worst enemies, sometimes the object of a crush, bullies, half-brothers, close friends, cronies and competitors.
That, my friends, is the most honest sentence I have ever written about my fellow cult orphans.
That’s also where I’m going to stop for the day. I have come to realize that I must write about this experience. How can I be a writer if I don’t write about my own life- rich as it is with material?
So expect blog posts sometimes, and (hopefully) little forays into my memories of being a cultist. I’ll post every day, like I have been.
Don’t worry, I’ll also post chapters of Servant of the King.
As a heads up, I will post on Sundays too, although I typically haven’t in the past. I’m very religious, so my Sunday posts will be very religious too. In case you don’t know it, I’m Mormon (nope, not a cultist any more… :)) and I love my Father in Heaven.
If you have any questions about anything, of course including my life in the cult, I would love to answer them. Post them as comments and I will respond to them within two days usually.
Just love. That’s all really.
So, did you ever find out who your biological father was or is?
Yes. I will answer this question with more detail in the next post.
You are not emotionally fragile, nor a wuss. We all need validation and pick-me-ups from time to time. You are an inspiration to many and in my humble opinion, a great writer.
Wow…I think I will print out your post and frame it so that when you are rich and famous I can prove that I know you! 🙂 I think it takes a lot of courage (and talent) to write about sensitive parts of our lives. Thank you for doing it. I think the rest of us will learn more about life and what is important– and you will become an even better writer for doing it. I’m looking forward to reading.
PS Will you please ask Her Highness to give me a call? I miss her. Thanks.
I’m positively affected by your words. I’ve often thought of myself as an orphan, having spent my formative years in a similar manner as you. It’s nice to know you’re out there, in the world.
shannon, the only first name I’ve ever had
Thanks for the comments, everyone.
Kawika: thanks. Really glad to have you as a pal.
Jen: I passed your message on to Her Highness, but I will pass it along again.
Shannon: My quasi-brother. So cool to see you here. Glad the effects were positive! See you around.