I See Consent as a Central and Abiding Issue …
In my Communities I Notice Questions Stirring in Communal Consciousness…
How am I Gaining Consent?
How am I Maintaining Consent?
How am I Accounting for my Behavior? As a Partner? As a Community Member? As a Community Organizer?
I Burn My Chest.
I am afraid and shut down. How can I speak or move or breath with my mother sitting so heavy on my skin? How am I to slough this shackled cage of bones pinning me to the bed…to the sadness…to the pain. Her pain, my pain, the pain of the children.
I clinch my throat when I write the last sentence. I notice my body hiding behind the silencing stiflement-I feel urgency for things to change; a pressing need for the violence to stop.
I am sitting with the violence of tone and body language I learned from my family and I still carry in my body. I notice how much of my mother, father, and uncle, I live with in my body. Letting go of these Superior body attitudes feels like losing yet another piece of connection to them. Being shunned means I have very few permitted intimacies with them. My body still carries these reminders in my eyes and my face and my intense ‘leaning in preacher’ body language.
The Violence of Control and Coercion are not limited to the physical and verbal realms.
I have seen my family cut people’s self esteem to ribbons without saying a word.
I have done it myself. I am willing to stop.
I am in the process of writing a book sharing my personal story of growing up as One of Jehovah’s Witnesses, a system designed to trap people. I hope to show the love and the pain I experienced with my family who are still deep within the Organization.
What does it feel like to stay? What does it feel like to leave? What does it mean to move on?
The possibility of deconstructing cults in general lives in the deconstruction of one. Dysfunctional systems pull from the same toolbox. The tools of manipulation and mind-control, once understood, can be spotted and their affects mitigated.