Saturday, March 22, 2008

... and the horse you rode in on!

I've taken a little flack lately for the fact that I was in a cult and tend to be frank about it.  It's amazing how many people consider themselves an expert on the topic, despite having never been in a cult or even so much as read a book on it.  I suppose they saw some documentary on Jim Jones or David Koresh, which was all the education on the topic they really needed.  A friend of mine jokingly told me once that this video was all he needed to know about being a Mormon.  The context made it quite funny, but I'm not going to go into that.  What's sad is that many people probably think that it's true. 

Joining a cult is not an indication that you're stupid or disturbed.  That's like saying being raped makes you a slut, it's idiotic.  A cult is something that happens to you, like a car accident, being mugged, or getting a disease.  Nobody joins a cult intentionally, nobody joining a cult knows they're joining a cult.  Most don't know they've joined a cult when they leave.

Maybe people think I'm honest about it because I think it's cool.  I don't.  Would you brag about being raped?  That's how stupid the idea is.

Maybe people think I'm honest about it for attention.  Would you want that kind of attention?  If you do, you're a moron.  Imagine how much fun it is to go back to all of the people you were an asshole to and say "I'm sorry I was an asshole to you for the past few years, I was brainwashed in a cult."  Woohoo, now that's some real fuckin' fun!

I'm honest about it because it happened to me.  It's part of who I am now, and that can't be changed.  Believe me, I would love it if I could erase that from ever having happened.  I was a different person before, and that person is gone now.  I miss him, because he was a great guy. 

Maybe you would like to have somebody fuck with your brain for years, then have to recover on your own.  No empathy, no resources, nobody you can talk to about it.  Jack shit.  You're on your own to figure out what happened to you and make sense of it, and try to rebuild some sense of self and self-esteem.  How's that sound for fun?  Wanna try it?  I hear the Scientologists are still recruiting.

And here's the best part, in all the years since, all the people I've told this experience to, not one person has EVER said to me "Gee, I'm sorry that happened to you." or anything even remotely empathetic.  Instead, I get jokes, off color comments, and strange looks.  I went through hell, and my reward is people looking at me like I've got a nose growing out of my eyeball.  What lovely people.  Let's be honest, I don't really expect anybody to give a crap, and I never have.  That's not why I'm honest about it either.  I'm honest about it because it's liberating.  If I can tell people what happened, the cult has no hold over me any more.  Believe me, my first instinct was to hide it and never tell anybody.  I'm glad I didn't go that route.  I will, however, never refer to them any other way than "the cult."

Next time somebody tells you they were in a cult, perhaps you should ask them about it, instead of mocking them for it.  You might learn something.  At the very least you'll look less like an asshole.

1 comment:

  1. The part where one of the leaders says 'I invented air!' had me laughing pretty hard.

    I'm sure some people are looking at you differently (or even down on you) because of your frankness, but I doubt everyone who turns around and makes a joke or acts like they understand intends to be insensitive.

    Humor is one of the main ways people cope with the fact that there is a lot of nasty shit in the world. People who act like they know all about something like that are usually insecure, arrogant people who in their own way are trying to relate to you (even if they're elevating themselves and belittling your experiences in the process).

    I'm not saying you shouldn't be pissed. On the contrary, people are insensitive jerks.

    I'm just pointing out that most probably don't realize they were doing it.

    I'm also racking my brain trying to figure out if I ever cracked a cult joke, and honestly, I can't remember. I probably did. I joke about a lot of things I probably shouldn't. I even crack jokes about things that are taring me apart while they are. On top of that, I'm an extreme wise ass. So, if at some point I did, know that I didn't mean anything by making light of what must've been a really bad situation. I can't imagine what something like that must've been like, but it certainly says something about you that you were able to get through it and speak openly about it. :) I think I've mentioned before that's I'd be interested in hearing more about it on the blog. I know you've said in the past you want to make sure your blog doesn't become a pathetic place to bitch (or something like that), but I think it would be good to write about it. I think it would be educational and interesting for readers, as well as therapeutic for yourself. There are some things people never get over in their lifetimes, and this is probably one of those things. I have had things like that in my own lifetime that I probably will never speak openly about, in person or online, so that you can is really courageous. When you put yourself out there, you open yourself up to all sorts of crap. You give people the ammunition to hurt you and trust them not to (but people will). Hurting is easy for people, and showing genuine care, concern, and sympathy is hard. Know that there are also people that feel that way too, even if they are less likely to say so. Rock on, Cowman. Warm fuzzies. And how's the job and video game construction coming, by the by?