The greyness of that church, and the solitary man among the many empty pews could only remind me of one thing: the loneliness that religion has brought me at this point.
I know that I’ve discussed what has happened to my my family before, and I’ve talked briefly about what it’s like for me, but something I haven’t discussed is just how often it comes up for me, how often I’m reminded of it.
Well, it’s pretty often.
People jokingly discuss cults all the time. I know by the logic of criteria, my family is involved with a cult. I’m still not totally comfortable calling it that though, because whenever people discuss it there’s this associated feeling of being better than people who could get sucked into a cult.
We all think that.
My dad thought that. My mom thinks that, and my sister thinks that. They’re not stupid. They’re smart. Cults prey on people for different reasons, but it’s not just “people who don’t think for themselves,” let me tell you. My parents always taught us to think for ourselves, my dad always taught me to question everything, and my sister was always, always, always thinking for herself. She got herself in trouble for it all the time.
I miss that.
I miss my sister so much. She always says she misses me, and my parents always tell me she misses me, but she can’t even begin to know how much I miss her. I can’t even describe it — I’m struggling to find words to explain just how much I miss my sister. I know that I’ve discussed moving on from the anger and frustration, to treasure what I do have left with my family, but I can’t help it… it’s hard. Especially at this time of year.
I mean, now that it’s November, it’s Christmas already. (Seriously, what the hell? Already we have Christmas music up our ass? Just a few days ago we were freaking little kids out in the dark!) Unfortunately, at this time of year, I am usually saddest. This is the time when I been dreading going home to be alone for almost my entire visit, to remember the good times we used to have watching movies, playing games, going to see Christmas lights and drinking hot chocolate. I always try to bring back old traditions like that, but normally there just isn’t time. So I’m left to be lonely and fight the urge to lose hope.
The fact that November already has bloody Santa and his elves in your face really doesn’t help. It’s an early start on the emotional attacks, where I have random flashbacks of childhood, when my dad would surprise us and jump out from the bathroom when we got home from dance class, when my mom would make fresh blackberry pie from the blackberries we picked with my dad. When my sister and I would play Harry Potter games, me always (yes pun totally intended) being Hermione, and her Malfoy. Flackbacks of how innocently happy we all were.
Back then, I could never have imagined what things are now.
Just three years ago you couldn’t tell me this would happen.
Whenever the topic of cults comes up in conversation now, I always notice. And I’m always saddened. I usually hide a little though, because I don’t want people to worry about me. I don’t want “Oh, don’t talk about it, she’s sensitive.” No. I’m not. Talk all you want about it. I’m just never going to be comfortable with it. Would you be?
I’ve worked hard at not fighting tears every time something relating to a happy family comes up. Did you know that the first time I watched Frozen I cried? The sisterly love in that movie did it for me. It was still very fresh. I don’t think anybody knew, but I’ve been working on it. I even discussed it in counselling. “I want to be able to do normal things and not have meltdowns.”
I never used to cry at movies. It had to be a real tear-jerker to get me. I didn’t even cry watching Titanic or The Notebook.
There are many things in my daily life that have changed. I see a father and his children and my heart doesn’t even know how to feel. Children’s laughter reminds me of being that happy and unknowing. The beautiful smell of the rain always takes me to the greenery that was home, the freshness that is the ocean.
Indeed, the greys and emptiness of that church really do resonate with me. It’s not colourful. The black of the man’s jacket, the grey white of his hair… perhaps it’s still peaceful, but there isn’t much life. It’s empty, but life goes on.
I want to believe in something, but I just don’t. I don’t know what I believe. Maybe something is out there. Maybe it’ll be me searching, alone in a quiet, dying church one day…
How easy would it be for you to accept?