What helps you the most today?
I sometimes get discouraged about my residual childhood baggage, but it helps to remember how far I’ve come. I also like to think of all the good things that are in my life now, and remember that I wouldn’t have them if I had stayed in the movement.
Having tasted freedom and the ability to make up my own mind and make up my own decisions allows me to hold up even when things are difficult with family members or friends from back then. Knowing how it feels to be free gives me the confidence I need to say that no, what they’re saying is wrong, and I won’t go back. My supportive husband and supportive friends help too, of course. And every time someone knows what I’m talking about when I say the word “Quiverfull,” it’s like a breath of fresh air. Oh, and I’ve seen a therapist a number of times, and that has been very helpful as well.
The blogging world! Since P/QF is completely unknown in Germany and the families are super-rare, there’s nobody who is in it or left around here. There’s also no programs or anything. The only way for me to stay in contact with fellow refugees and like-minded people is the internet and my blog.
Seeing my family gradually change in positive ways is incredible to watch. Perhaps the biggest help for me is being able to attend a healthy church where grace is really emphasized and the tangible parts of life are inextricably tied with the spiritual. Body and soul are not separated and performance doesn’t factor into God’s love for me.
Self-care, healthy loving relationships that I can count on, Persistence in trying new things and learning to say yes to things I am interested in and no to the things that drain me. One thing that continues to help me is reminding myself that I can take my time, in fundamentalism there is usually this huge push to commit. It’s as if you have someone yelling “Hurry! You either believe in God or you don’t, make your choice!” It’s OK to ask questions, it’s OK not to know. It’s OK to have a journey instead of a destination.
What helps me the most is my sisters and my husband. They keep me grounded and remind me that I’m not crazy at the same time. Especially my oldest sister. She knows all about my thought patterns of self-defeat and she can tell when I’m slipping back into it. She’s always there to help me keep my chin up.
Everything. The universe. The world is so exciting! I love being part of nature and not feeling like the world is going to end – those trees are still going to be there in a hundred years. I love music, all kinds – rock, some hip-hop, and definitely Florence and the Machine. I also love the sun on my skin and the way the wind whips through freshly cut hair. I love unapologetically wearing mascara.
Believing that the future doesn’t have to be determined by the past gives me hope and encouragement, especially during those times when I feel depressed about the years of my life that were “lost” to the patriarchy movement. Having a few friends that truly understand helps a lot as well (shout out to Libby Anne). 🙂