Recently someone from my past communicated with my husband, telling him I have no mind of my own, no will of my own, that any thoughts, beliefs, or choices I have formed, expressed, or made are not mine but those forced upon me by him and others.
It’s an old trick of Patriarchy. A tried and true method to control and suppress women, smother their doubts and questions, and undermine any attempts they make to break free.
In the past, such words were lethal to my very sensitive heart and mind. I believed them. I accepted that I did not matter, that any questions or doubts I had were the work of the Devil, that any dreams and hopes I had for change were merely the reflections of a rebellious heart and needed to be confessed, abandoned, and replaced with whatever my authorities decided was best for me.
I picture those words like those heavy, leaden blankets you wear during x-rays, hurled over to smother me, obliterate my voice, douse my light, keep me under control.
For most of my life I lived under that blanket, quietly accepting my lot, trying to find ways to shimmer a little in the darkness, keeping Me safely hidden.
I’m not part of that world anymore. I left it with three suitcases, a one-way plane ticket, $1000 in my bank account and a passionate, desperate hope that things would turn out OK.
Bit by bit I got out from under that strangling blanket. I’ve learned to think, to speak, to be without shame, to link arms with fear and courage and tackle grief and rejection and loneliness and illness, and slowly but surely stand on my own two feet with a mind of my own and a worldview and faith shaped by my own experiences. I have friends, true friends, who love me for me and don’t care two pins about the all the external stuff. They see me, with all my foibles, and love me anyway.
The Blanket People hate that.
So every couple of months they send someone along to contact us to try to get me back and return me to the girl living in darkness and oppression and abuse. They tell me I’m going to hell and am a shame to God and all of them. They accuse him of hiding me in a dark medieval cult. There have been death threats and desperate attempts at manipulation. They’ve tried to turn him against me with private messages telling him I traveled the world sleeping with men in exchange for money, that I was never abused or in a cult, and that I only married him for his money. They go through Robbie because in that world, it’s the Men who decide what’s to be done about the Women. My decisions and choices and thoughts have no weight simply because I’m female.
In the beginning such communications were so traumatic for me I’d be vomiting, get migraines, and have nightmares for weeks afterwards. As I healed and got stronger those symptoms eased and eventually I could see that although I’d stepped out from under the blanket, the blanket was still being used to harm me. The blanket needed to be burned.
I’ve learned that the only way to burn blankets is to find out what gave the blanket its power in the first place. To go back in time to when the lies and false beliefs took root in my heart and mind, and replace them with truth. It’s been an arduous task, but a precious one. With each journey another chain is broken, another blanket burned, and the peace I’m experiencing is beyond description.
I’m so thankful for Bear and our dear friends who have stood by me through all this, who helped me unpack the lies and remind me of truth whenever I got wobbly. Because I do get wobbly. Sometimes the pain overwhelms the truth and I can’t see it anymore. That’s why we need each other, to help us get out from under the blanket when it starts smothering us again.
Today, as the sun shines so brilliantly, I’m celebrating that this latest blanket toss didn’t smother me. I was able to see it for what it was – lies, fear, control – and reject it outright, burn that sucker, then remind myself of all the loving, non-smothery people in my life who make this world a beautiful place. xo