As I’m writing “Rise of Sila”, the sequel to “Cult Child“, which details my transition as a teenager from growing up in a cult, to adjusting with American culture, the many ways in which I was conditioned by my child sexual abuse is coming out in deeper ways.
Excerpt from “Rise of Sila”: “I feel confused and lost. Boys come to school all the time with “love marks”, as everyone calls them, on their necks. Why does that make me bad? When it comes to boys, things aren’t so different in this world than they were back on the farm. Boys get treated better out here too. Girls? We’re dumped if we say no when they want to have sex with us and sluts if we say yes. My second lesson is that because I am a girl, even in this new world, I will still never be right.
Eventually Mama does ask me where Russ is; why he doesn’t call anymore. I tell her he met another girl and doesn’t want to talk to me anymore. Mama spends the next hour telling me that men are shit. They’re all shit. They take and take. That’s it. So, I should expect it. I should never trust a man as far as I can throw him. If I carry one thing into my adult life I better take this one, Mama rants on. Her voice fades into the distance as it has come to do when she begins to lecture.
I won’t listen. I will grow up to become battered and bruised by the men I would choose. I will also become hardened. She’s right about one thing, though. Right now, as I sit here listening to her, I know I’ll never be able to trust a boy.”
My mother reinforced in me an ideal that males can never be trusted. She did so any time a boy I liked didn’t like me back. While she had strict rules about boys, so I wouldn’t look like a “slut“, such as not allowing me to call them because a “lady” always lets a boy call her, she also projected her own hate for men out through my coming of age experiences.
The layers of aftermath created by the abuse of Sam Fife’s Move of God did not end the day we boarded a plane at the Fairbanks, AK airport in 1984 and flew off to Tennessee. It would settle into my skin and dominate how I experienced every aspect of my life in regard to relationships.
Writing this sequel is, at times, daunting. Stories I once told as funny, in short, cryptic and satirical form, now take on a different perspective as I re-live the experiences. They’re not so humorous anymore. They are painful and raw. They are a direct look into my own reality.
Most of all, they are making their way out of my DNA, through my fingertips, and into the pages of a book, which continues to tell my true story through the eyes of a girl named Sila.