I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
~~Robert Frost, from "The Road Less Traveled"Sometimes I wonder what it would be like to have had a “normal” life. To have grown up with parents who weren’t involved in a cult. To have had birthdays and Christmas and Halloween like other kids. To have not had to stand out in the hallway during the playing of O’Canada every morning at school. To have gone to school dances and prom and kissed boys and dated and explored masturbation and sex during the normal stages of development. To have not had to “prayerfully consider” every minute detail of my life; my choice of entertainment, clothing, grooming, friends, life course. To have learned to trust in my own abilities rather than cult dictates. I wonder what it would have been like to grow up thinking I was worth something just as I am.
I wonder what it would have been like to go to University out of High School, to have continued on with my peers into higher education. I wonder what it would have been like to have actually let people into my life, people of all backgrounds, without seeing them as a mortal threat to my faith. I wonder what it would have been like to be close with my extended family, to attend family celebrations, rather than being the outsider, keeping myself “separate from the world”.
I wonder what it would have been like to get married because of love, not because of a deep desire for sex and connection, having been denied them for so long for religious reasons. I wonder what it would have been like to be taught how to think instead of what to think. To have learned basic life skills like logic and decision-making, rather than faith and wishful thinking. I wonder what it would have been like to have a heart full of joyful childhood memories, rather than a smattering of bittersweet wounds.
I wonder what it would have been like to grow up with a mother who mirrored for me what a strong woman was all about. Who I could emulate from a place of respect. A woman who could best show me who I was and how to move in the world. I wonder what my life would be like if my earliest memories were not of despair and grief and suicide. I wonder what my life would look like if things had progressed in chronological order, if I’d had the normal stages of development at the normal times in my life. If my growth hadn’t been stunted by depression and illness and cult indoctrination. I wonder who I’d be now. I wonder if I’d like that woman. And I wonder if she’d like me.