How do we tell our truth?
It has only been this past year that I have started to become open about my past with people, instead of saying "Well, I was raised in a pretty strict religious household" to "Actually, I was raised in a doomsday cult where I was told the only thing I had to look forward to was hopefully getting married to a man who would lead my every move and then give him a few children before the apocalypse comes. My childhood was suffocating fear and anxiety and when I escaped at fifteen I didn't look back, I lived in ten towns in twelve years and just kept moving and escaping, avoiding attachment out of habit.".I became an advocate for children, an educator, a lifeguard, a confidante because I knew how much I needed an adult like that in my life rather than men that called themselves elders whose main goal was to break this strong hearted girl who knew she could be more. After years of growth and meditation, my life on the exterior started to looked awesome, I lived on an island for three years and took children snorkeling and shared the ocean with them. At night, I still went home crippled by anxiety and depression, I had not confronted the pain I grew up in and so it tried to eat me alive. I have felt much more free since I have begun to name my pain and tell my truth even if it makes others uncomfortable. Our truth still matters if others don't want to know it and I am so tired of editing my life to make it more digestible to acquaintances and strangers.I just began work as Montessori elementary teacher, I signed a three year contract in an attempt to put down roots, to stop running. I was telling my new coworker about how I swam with whale sharks a few winters ago and how I was thinking of going back this winter. She told me I was crazy, how could I always be so comfortable around large animals like that? Without thinking, I told her the truth unedited. "Well, I was raised a Jehovah's Witness which meant I spent a lot of time alone as a child. I spent more time around our cats and dogs and rabbits than around other people, especially other children. I've always felt a great kinship to all animals, they were a large part of my life growing up, animals were the ones I could trust, people weren't." Her eyes got big and I realized maybe I overshared, I know religion is always taboo but I am so tired of my experiences being considered taboo. That taboo is what has allowed the witnesses to thrive as so much goes unsaid. My coworker asked, "Being a Jehovah's Witness means you're always alone?" I told her, "Well, it did for me, it was a destructive cult that thrived on isolation." She replied , "My aunt and her children just became Jehovah's Witnesses.". I felt awkward, I didn't want to insult her family but I also wanted to warn her so she would warn her aunt, save those young children just being thrown into the lion pit where their self esteem and self worth will be trampled as they await an apocalypse that isn't coming. Instead I just backtracked, said that some people have good experiences with the witnesses. It felt like a cop out. I don't quite know how to balance exposing the truth of the cult without further harming those within it. How do we tell OUR truth to the world now that we know there is no such thing as one truth?
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