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Skinny kid from the Midwest who wasn't really good at much except running fast? Here's more.
I was raised Mormon. This wasn't the warm, compassionate, "families can be together forever", free-agency promoting Mormonism. It was a different version. My father led his family through the waters of religion and faith with the cold, coercive hand of obedience. Some people live their religion with their heart and others with their might. My father was in the "might" camp.
As a child I didn't grow a spiritual connection to being a Mormon. It was more a tool of parental control. He was obsessed with religious obedience and I wasn't. We clashed.
When I was 4, I burst out the front door into a drenching thunderstorm and ran away to the garden shed in the back yard. I was dramatic. This began a pattern that I've followed throughout my life. When I was 5, I ran away to Safeway with a paper sack full of shorts and a toothbrush. When I was 6, I ran away, hiding in a little cove under a neighbors bush. In my childhood brain I planned to run away FOREVER and live as free as a bird in some wildly exotic country studying the grazing patterns of zebras. After a few hours of daydreaming it was always with the heavy pang of disappointment I drug myself back home. Why did I never think to bring a sandwich!?
As I got older my running away evolved into sneaking out. When I was 15, I'd give my parents the ole' "good-night" routine then jump out my window and meet up with friends. Once, after returning from a night out I was horrified to discover my window was locked shut!! Horrified isn't the word. I was terror-stricken! I'd been caught. Instead of face the music...I ran away. Are you sensing my life pattern? Is it coincidence I was the fastest runner in my school. A sleeping bag on the floor of my best friends room was my home for a week.
At 17 I gave my virginity up to some stupid boy. I felt tricked.
The next day while walking the high school halls he slipped a mix-tape in my hands. A MIX-TAPE! It's alright, you can laugh. I promptly broke up with him when I listened to the tape and the first song was "Wild Thing". I was no one's Wild Thing. This gets more embarrassing and humiliating. Read on my friends...
My father has the gift of premonition. He knew I had sex with this boy. I felt the red flush of humiliation when this boy explained he'd found a phone message meant for his mother. My father had called demanding we all sit down for a chat. Can shame and humiliation kill you? My heart should have exploded right there. I don't remember what was said but I do remember feeling utterly belittled.
The summer I was 17 I ran away for good. I rented an apartment. I bought a pan, a spoon and a box of mac-n-cheese. That first night while boiling noodles I felt a chapter closing and the freedom of new fresh pages with nothing written on them.
I went to college. Earned my degree.
Changed my life. Found faith and love.
Served a mission. Helped others change their lives.
Met the man, fell in love and got married in the temple.
Three months into our separation I get a late night call. He's audibly shaken and asks to come over.
He has written a fearless moral inventory (Step 4 of sex addiction recovery) and shared it with his sponsor and our church leaders. That night he was excommunicated. His name was no longer on the records of the church. He had been formally removed. Oddly, this was devastating to him.
He shared his moral inventory with me. I listened.
On my sofa he sobbed. He was vulnerable, defenseless. The anger and haze of darkness were lifting leaving him broken and scared. I held his hand as he talked and cried for hours. I held him as he trembled and apologized. I didn't say much. I ran my fingers through his hair and met his eyes with mine. They're blue and clear and honest.
Our bodies knew each other, like familiar lovers with renewed depth and compassion. There was no fear or resentment. No reactions drenched in PTSD. This was a moment I had believed would never happen. As we loved each other waves of healing washed over us. That night I slept in his arms until the sun rose.
In the morning I made him leave.
* Disclaimer about sex
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