Monday, June 27, 2016

Reclaiming Agency

Something I love about the internet is how it allows those who once felt isolated to connect with others who shared the same experience. Being seen is incredibly empowering!

One of the honors of being in the homeschool "survivor" community is getting to witness others on their healing journey. For many of us, a crucial part of recovery has been finding our own identity, accepting it and then asserting it. As we peel back the layers of trauma, manipulation, brainwashing, or abuse, we discover our true selves.

And the positive ways we find to reclaim agency over our bodies--our selves--are as varied as the negative experiences that etched our childhoods.

Exercise. Running. Bodybuilding. Sports. Yoga.  
Sex. Dancing. Tattoos. Surgery. Orthodontics.
Art. Music. Theater. Drawing. Painting. Building. Sculpting.
Photography. Fashion. Costumes. Comedy. 
Selfies. Name changes. Piercings. Hair styles. Facial hair.
Travel. Gastronomy. Dating. Reading for fun. Writing.
Education. Employment. Activism. Advocacy. 

Exploring hobbies, devoting energy to our passions, and trying new things are all exercises in personal autonomy. I may not share your enthusiasm for tattoos or understand what drives you to work out regularly, but on a deeper level, I do get it. I've made choices that would shock my younger self, but they were crucial to my growth and independence. What is highly symbolic to me may seem trivial to someone else.

Embrace the choices that are constructive to you. Not only will I celebrate their meaning with you, I will defend your right to make those choices... for your self.



  1. I just came across your blog this morning when I was doing some research on Jim Sammons and am finding it very intriguing. I would consider myself like your father. Though I don't know your father at all, I say that just because the things you've shared about your Gothard upbringing is how I raised my 5 children. I would love to discuss more with you because of what I've been going through for the last three years. I've never done anything like this and not sure if you're even interested in communicating or how to go about it. If you are interested and know how to go about it I guess you can reply to this comment. If you don't then I will take that as not interested. Thanks for sharing.

  2. That's a complicated question :) Or I guess a complicated answer. So I guess I would say they're doing ok. However, out of my five children I have a really good relationship with two of them. But that's because they got involved with a completely different type of church that really focuses on God's love and are not all judgmental and self-righteous like I was. Our family exploded about three years ago and because of that the other three kids and my wife don't want to have anything to do with me. So I'm just trying to figure out where I'm at. I know that I was very self-righteous, judgmental, spiritual know-it-all. So I'm working on coming out of that mindset. I'm afraid my wife and three kids are still in the very self-righteous side of things. After 25+ years of marriage and believing I was doing the "right" thing and then have everything explode has been tragic. I've realized that "my" Christianity is all screwed up.

    1. I thought someone's Christianity was all screwed up, and set out tracking down the "real" version. I finally reached the conclusion that all religion is mostly screwed up.

      If you view this page on your computer, there is a contact form on the lower right, under the archive index. Messages there will go to my email.