When I was 13, I was forced to have a meeting with the "Elders" of The Crazy Cult, which is like being called into the principal's office, except there are several of them there to scold you. The topic of discussion was the length of my dresses and skirts. I was advised that the length was much too short and, because of it, I was "sending out a sexual message" to the "brothers" of the congregation. That, because of my inappropriate clothing, I would make one of the brothers "stumble," and he would begin to think lewd thoughts about my body.
Wow, those are some pretty scandalous skirts, right? Yeah... My dresses came to the tops of my knees.
I still shudder just thinking about a bunch of closet pervs getting a stiffy every time they saw my 13 year old knees. In The Cult, they actually force the girls and women to wear skirts, we weren't allowed to wear pants. But it's my fault for... having knees, I guess. Kinda like it's the rape victim's fault for wearing a short skirt, because she was obviously asking for it? Gross. I was horrified and humiliated by that meeting, and certainly that's not the only time that sort of thing happened, and definitely not the worst. Thirty-one-year-old me wishes I could hop a ride on a time machine and crash that meeting, so I could punch some dirty old perverts in the dick and tell 13-year-old me not to let dirty old perverts make me feel bad about myself, ever.
That is just one very small example of the sort of perverted, misogynist bullshit I put up with throughout my childhood. Aside from the crap most people know about, like Jehovah's Witnesses not being allowed to celebrate any holidays including birthdays, recite the Pledge of Allegiance, or have a blood transfusion, there is a whole spectrum of brainwashing, manipulation, and control that goes into growing up in The Cult, particularly for women. The brainwashing runs deep, and I don't think most people escape it in a healthy manner. Maybe I didn't either, I don't know. But I'm definitely better off than most, I think. They never broke me.
I'm also lucky in a sense that, because I was never fully initiated, I was able to fade out instead of getting kicked out, or "disfellowshipped." Being disfellowshipped is the worst thing that can possibly happen to you in The Cult. That means you've done something really naughty. Like, maybe you got caught smoking a cigarette. Or getting to second base with your girlfriend. Or celebrating Christmas. Disfellowshipped! That means no one else (who doesn't also want to be disfellowshipped) can talk to you ever again, not even to smile politely or nod should you encounter them in public: you are one big leper. (Unless you jump through all of their hoops and adequately suffer enough humiliation that you are allowed to be "reinstated.") They will actually cross the street to avoid walking by you, because your sin will rub off on them. Frankly, I could give a shit less if any of those self-righteous hypocritical assholes acknowledge my existence ever again, and that's including my mother's two asshole brothers. My status is "inactive," and I slipped through the cracks. People can talk to me, although they are still discouraged from doing so, because I'm "bad association." (Well, they got that right, at least.)
Anyway, The Cult has decided to screw with me again, particularly my family, and now I'm having to restrain myself from punching dirty old men in the dick.
Cora's godfather, as I've mentioned before, has been my best friend for the past 13 years. Over the years, he's gotten to be very close to my mom, he even calls her Mommy. We consider him family. Recently, he started renting a room from her, because he needed an affordable place to live while he's in nursing school, and she needs the extra money. We don't really feel this is inappropriate, considering: 1. He's family; 2. He's gay; and 3. This is not the Stone Age.
However, The Cult found out about it. (Probably from driving by her house to see whose car is parked there. They seriously do that. A lot. But the psycho stalking is another post entirely.) So, of course, Mom ends up in a meeting with the Elders. They told her that him living there is dirty and sinful and "goes against the Bible." She told them that she is doing nothing inappropriate, and he is living there because he is family, and they both need the help. Obviously, they are not having sex. But then dirty closet perverts start going on about how there would still be inappropriate contact, because they would be sharing a shower, and they would see each other in their underwear, or naked even, and they would think about each other in sexual ways (cue dirty old men getting stiffies and needing some private time). Never mind that the setup of her place is two bedrooms on opposite ends of the building, each with its own bathroom. The only shared space is the living room and kitchen. You know, like most roommates. Oh, but what could the neighbors possibly be thinking?! (Uh, for the ones that don't actually mind their own business, she's told them he's her son.)
But, it gets better. Now comes the epically ignorant bigotry. Because, after all, he's gay, so he must have the AIDS! (And, for the record, no, he is not HIV-positive.) They start going on about how she will "catch an infection" from him, because they're sharing a shower (again with the shower fantasy) and they, gasp!, share dishes! Because everyone knows that every gay person has the AIDS and you get the AIDS by eating off of a plate that someone else previously eaten off of and you washed before using. I mean, duh!
Seriously. What kind of sick perverts come up with this stuff? However, when they couldn't convince her of the error of her ways, they played their trump card, which is threatening to disfellowship her if she doesn't have him out of her house in two weeks. Two weeks! That's actually violating state law. My response is, of course, I want to go punch them all in the dick.
Anyway, he's going to move out, not because Mom's making him, but because he told her he didn't want to be the reason she can't talk to her brothers anymore. (Again, I'd find that to be a big bonus.) And The Cult is her only source of socialization, really. She just won't go out and make friends otherwise.
Having extended-stay guests makes Husband irritable (mostly because then he actually has to wear pants around the house, but also because of his weird work/sleep schedule), so I sheepishly asked him if he minded him staying with us for awhile, until he can get something permanent. His answer was simply, "He's family. There's no question about it. Of course he stays with us."
And that's it exactly. He's family. And self-righteous hypocritical closet perverts can go suck a dick (which they probably are, after they've slipped it some roofies, but that's another story entirely). They have no idea what family means, because should one of their family members break the sacred rules of proper behavior, they shun them and never speak to them again. You know, because talking to one of your family members who ate birthday cake at an office party will stumble you. Dick punching... argh!
Fortunately, we think we found him a permanent place this fall. One of my friends from grad school is looking for new roommates. She rents a house nearby and split between three people it's $400/month for everything. That's twice what he's been paying Mom, so he has to talk it over with his parents, who are bankrolling his return to school. He might have to take more out in student loans to cover it, though, because money is tight everywhere. And Mom, of course, suddenly has to make do without the extra money each month, without any notice. Not a great time since my contract work has slowed tremendously, and I'll be off work without pay three months from now, in addition to paying for stuff babies need, so if she needs help, we'll be struggling to help her out. You think any of those dickwads in The Cult will help her out if she needs it? Hell no. It's on us. Her family. You know, the people she's not technically supposed to talk to because we aren't members of The Cult.
So, I've just been on fire the past few days. Shit like this brings up all the trauma I endured from these whackos, and makes me seriously pissed off. I need to channel it into something positive, like start writing a book, but I'm still just too angry, even to file a lawsuit (although the best cause of action I can think of is intentional interference with a business contract, for which a lease agreement doesn't quite fit). I'd rather just punch someone in the dick.