“Husbands, Take Control of YOUR Household!” Part 2.
I’ve been telling lies since I was a child, my breathing regulated by the religious pristine holy-white fence-posts planted at miniscule intervals around my reality; large enough to stick your ten year-old head through and small enough to get stuck if you tried. I told stories that were lies that were my only truths because the reality of the childhood offered to me, as a child member since the age of three or so of the Worldwide Church of God was a lie layered in sumptuous garments of truth. I knew, somewhere in my little girl body that it was all a lie; an elaborate costume tailored to fit the needs of the lie and not my own. I knew that my only way of avoiding suffocation under the heavy brightly coloured Joseph coat, was to tell my way through the layers, silently, secretly, while learning to perform the lie as convincingly as possible.
I was very good at this performance. Part of me still perceives life as performance.
On the outside, I was a model Church child. Quiet, obedient, respectful of my elders, appearing silently accepting of every single regulation that controlled not only my social activities, my education, and leisure time, but also controlled the most basic of bodily functions: the food I could and could not eat, the clothes I could and could not wear, the words I could and could not speak, the Words I could and could not read, and the body, and what was happening within that body, that I could, and mostly could not, feel.
Oh, I had it down good. Inside, I was a seething, angry child, choking on guilt for having any feelings at all. And so, my stories, intricate plots of heroic girls in fantasy lands scribbled furiously in the dark over a period of several years, wove authenticity of feelings for me from the fabric of lies; my feelings had one function; to serve the lie, the regulations of the Church as adopted by my mother.
(Even now, feeling is Indulgence. It is the one lie that, try as hard as I might, remains inscribed on the cell membranes of my body.) And so I tell, because I heard somewhere that History is not written by the losers but the winners. And none of us are winners in these kinds of stories.
And yet we don’t tell for fear of being called liars, by those who have washed their hands of history, once re-telling it to satiate their own longings for redemption and naming those who don’t fit into their tellings, liars.
When we have ceased to tell our stories, they will have won. And so I tell because I do not want to tell, again, and always for the first time, the story of four women silent and broken repeating cycles of fragmented families from habits of non-feeling and non-remembering, the story of us hating each other for feeling, the story of us accusing each other of misunderstanding, the story of us never crying and trusting each other, the story of us never being able to feel enough to love, the story of us stomping to the march of blame that will keep us bound in silence against each other.
And so I tell because I have lived enough lies to learn that if I don’t tell stories, they will be told for me.
And so I tell, because They called her, They called me, and
They still do, a liar.