an excerpt of a memoir
|I was small-town raised, sheltered from the “ways of the world”. I had barely turned 18 when I left home to marry a batterer, not knowing in the beginning that he was such a man. He slowly and methodically stripped me of dignity and eventually separated me from our children After seven years of marriage, traumatized and two months pregnant with my third child I fled my abuser and sought sanctuary. And so it was that on one April evening in 1974 I stood naked in “front of God and everybody” and was baptized into a religious cult. I left my past behind, gave up my possessions, and turned my back on my flesh and blood. In this vulnerable state, I dedicated myself to this group of people, their ideals, and to the charismatic man that led them. He spoke like he knew the answers to life and while he exuded the feeling that while in his presence I was loved and beautiful, his confidence was overwhelming and I felt diminished. I was never fully comfortable around him for any length of time.
In the peaceful setting of fragrant flower gardens, beautiful music and people dressed in flowing robes and lovely dresses; one would think I had arrived in heaven but I was numb inside, looking out from inside a bubble, separate from everything around me. My tears threaten to spill out but I did l not let them escape. I hid behind a smile and artificial pleasantries while beneath the surface my emotions roiled. Ripped apart I shielded my heart to suppress the pain because I could not face it. Not yet. This group of people that I was among was so peaceful and welcoming and yet not one person had an inkling of who I really was. We in the family were encouraged to live in the present and not talk about the past, let alone bring up any unpleasantness that may have occurred in daily life. This would be construed as negativity.