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My sixteenth birthday was fast approaching and something unusual was going to occur: I would be allowed to have my second birthday party, and this was no small matter: It would be my first co-ed party. I had sufficiently stuffed my depression and became exactly what they wanted: quiet, gently, reserved, and pious. In fact, I became so good at playing this game of theirs that I had eventually gained respect because I was so vocal in support of The Movement. Never a complaint was uttered again from my lips about how much I hated my situation. I learned to adapt so that I could survive and escape the abusiveness. Granted my father and I did not get along, but at least my mom’s spiritual abuse subsided. I learned to accept that this was simply my lot in life.
I actually regret that. I was telling my husband just the other day that if there was one regret that I had while in my parent’s home, it was that I allowed my personality to be squelched to such a level that even I barely recognized myself. I wish that I would have been a stronger person and simply refused to listen to their Kool-aid. I wish I would have talked to my grandmas and my aunts, I wish I would have been true to myself and been the person that I was created to be. I suppose hindsight is everything.
The big nagging question in my life was how on earth would I meet someone to marry out of this family? And how on earth would I do that when I was never allowed to be around guys? I knew that I had missed the boat on scholarships, and whenever I would bring up to my mom about going away to college or taking the ACT or SAT, I was pushed aside.
My family had risen to quite the level of power and status in our area, though the homeschooling groups themselves were riddled with infighting and politics. I listened daily to my mom giving advise to those who would call asking for help on applying for scholarships, when to begin applying for colleges, and when to take the ACT or SAT. I knew the answers. You apply for scholarships at the end of your sophomore year, apply to colleges in your junior year, and take the ACT or SAT every year from your freshman year on.
But I was a Daughter of The Movement, and those types of girls just simply did not do those things. It did not matter that I requested, nagged, and implored them to let me go to college, I was to remain at home until I married. I was to remain under my father and mother’s tyrannical reign, and then my husband would rule me. At that point, that actually sounded appealing. I wanted to take the ACT or SAT exam, but that was where my mom and Candi’s sick paranoia kicked in. They believed that “the government” used those tests as a means to “track” individuals and “come after them.” Think extremist and conspiracy theorist paranoia. That was who they were and that was Mom and Candi’s reason for not allowing us kids to take the exam. And there was no convincing otherwise, not by us girls or by our dads, because we all knew who really wore the pants in the family. Their idea of biblical submission was all for show.
So I knew that I would be left with very little options, other than to marry. My parents were all over arranged marriages, courtship, and betrothals. Richard “Little Bear” Wheeler and Norm Wakefield were frequent visitors at our homeschooling conferences. With as dysfunctional as my family was, that concept caused me great cause for anxiety. I knew that if they were to spend any amount of time with my family that my chances of securing a courtship-proposal were as good as over. While for some girls, this concept may- and I emphatically stress, may- have worked to their benefit, I knew that this simply would not work for me. I knew that I was going to have to take those matters into my own hands.