Friday, October 7, 2011

Old Questions

Two posts in one day!
Today has been blissfully slow and unscheduled so I finally have a chance to answer a back-log of e-mails and questions from really old blog posts. Many of the e-mails and comments strike similar chords: for those, I will not put the name of who asked because there were multiple people. For others, I have put down initials or names (based on requests for privacy, usually).

Here we go...
How was your summer?
Busy, busy, busy! After last summers' financial fiasco, I decided that the best way to avoid a lot of my financial stress was to give up one of the scholarships I had accepted (that limited the time I was allowed to work) and just work multiple jobs while I could. The scholarship amount had been reduced to the point of it being absurd to limit myself. With the exception of the visit to the family, I worked almost every day at two places. I nannied for a family that just needed part time nannying on the weekdays, from 5am to noon. Then, I worked for a company that was taking down a chain bookstore and boxing up the inventory. That was usually a 5pm to midnight job. In between, I slept and did counselling with Harris or hung out. I was going to take a class but that was pushing the limit of possibility. Let's see. I also had physical therapy thrown in the mix.

Ron asked: How are you recovering from your accident?
Well, I think! I had a physical therapist who was willing to see me only twice a month (because of insurance and financial limits) and then provide me with really detailed, daily programs to follow. I did get a small settlement (after all the medical bills were paid out). It wasn't enough to let me out of working but it was enough to cover all the medical expenses and partially pay for the Arkansas trip.

How's Harris?
Great! He's really focused on the future and planning that (as much as you can plan).

T.J. of South Africa asked: Are you still in a holding phase about religion?Which church are you getting married in?
I guess so. I put those things on the back burner while I focused on my immediate needs for survival. My therapist had asked me one day why I felt like I had to put myself in a category for religion and I told her it was just something I felt like I was supposed to do. She asked "why?" and really pushed me to examine why I felt that need and, pathetically, I realized that it was a very external reason: I felt like I needed to check that box to define myself for others. Like I said- pathetic! So I've decided that - at least for now- that's not something I truly need to define and I'm okay with just seeing how it develops. I've been to church with friends and I haven't found a fit. I really think that organized religion might not be for me. But we'll see.
We aren't getting married in a church. There will be a minister performing our ceremony but it will be outdoors. That much we do know. Harris and I want to keep it small and focus on the things and people we love.

S. Sawtelle and Kate asked about gifting: I want to thank you for the offer and the love you're showing. For now, however, I want to pass on gifts from internet friends/readers. It's not that I don't appreciate what has been given to me or what you're wanting to do. It's just that that got complicated and made some people doubt the legitimacy of my blog and it's message. Just having a paypal link was seen as a request for handouts. So I can only imagine what having a bridal registry or wish list would make people say. Please let me think about it for a while. Okay? I do thank you for the sentiment.

Maritza said: "Do you think you're really ready to be married? (clip) you struggled financially...(clip) were just getting independent when you got engaged so fast. Why don't you date around?"
I love Harris and we've worked really hard to make sure this is what we both want. Our therapist was saying that no one is ever completely and perfectly ready for marriage but that you *can* prepare yourself with honesty and in depth, constant self-evaluation. I realize that this is a serious commitment I'm making to another human being and that I've had a rough past. I realize this will be difficult at times and that it will be work. I am willing to work at it. There again- I have never felt as deep a love for any person as I do for him and I am confident that he feels the same way. We have, during this premarital counselling run into issues that we disagree on but they're not deal breakers and we're not shutting out conversations. One of those issues is when to start a family. I want to wait a few years and Harris would love to start as soon as that ring goes on my finger. HA! Rather than not deal with it at all, we're talking about it and using the tools we've been given to really listen to the other person's point of view. I think we're much more prepared than most. And I can definitely say that we're far better off than some of the marriages that would've been considered "prepared" under the standards in which I grew up. I also think that using the term "rushing" is maybe misused regarding our relationship. We didn't scurry off to Vegas! LOL Tempting but we didn't.

Hannah K. asked: Did you hear that an ATI dad has used your blog as a cautionary tale during a conference speech? No!! Please write me back and share the details. I'd love to see if I can find it on youtube.

Jordan asked: Is there any way you would speak at my church? No. Although I feel closer to being comfortable sharing my identity, I'm not there, yet. I like the freedom this anonymity has given me to share my true feelings. As soon as I share who I am, it will be "game on" for an entire religious group and there's no turning back. My dad might be expected to show more discipline with my sisters, to prevent them from going "my way", and I won't do that to them. It's bad enough as is. But, there are several ex-ATI/QF women who would take you up on that offer. Just look around Freejinger or No Longer Quivering or those other sites. Good luck.

Wedding Bells and Summer

I'm sorry I haven't posted regularly (or at all). Harris and I had some post engagement jitters and decided to seek out pre-marital counselling. We decided to do it intensely and, the reality is, that *I* needed to work out a whole lot of things before I could feel 100% sure of marriage. As it turns out, that intense examination of our lives was the best thing for our relationship and we're full-steam ahead for a wedding sometime in 2012.

So I'm sorry for not keeping up here or answering e-mails. I was putting a focus on my relationship and didn't want anything getting in the way of that. Blogging takes some level of commitment. :)

I know some of you knew about the visit with my parents. I said I would blog about it, so here goes.

Harris' parents were really concerned about my relationship with my family. They brough up the valid point that, even with the history, my parents had some degree of a right to expect to meet the man I wanted to spend the rest of my life with. But they also agreed with my point that this was a toxic relationship (with my family) and any meeting would have to be on my terms and with enough support to facilitate a good outcome. Harris' mom decided she would go along with us.

My brother told my dad and mom we'd be back in town and asked if we might all get together. We met for lunch at a public place. It was very tense. I got to see my newest little sister (Blessing) for the first time, really. It was a special moment. She's adorable! Mom was happy to see me and hear about my life. As expected, though, my father was not. He only said two or three words during the entire lunch and those words weren't very kind. He had more to say (or, maybe, "inquisite" is a better word) to Harris.

The next day, the three of us (Harris, H's mom, and I) went to my brother's house and my father came storming in. He wasn't happy that Harris never asked his "permission" for my hand. He wasn't happy that I left home the way I did. He wasn't happy that I had, to his eyes, "foresaken the values I was raised to". He just wasn't happy. My therapist had prepared me for his reaction and to a large extent, I didn't care. After he ranted for twenty minutes or so, I asked if he would ever be able to accept me as I was? He said, "No." and I said that we were done then. He has the right to decide not to accept who I am and the choices I make. However that's his loss. I told him I accepted who he was and even though I strongly disagreed with his lifestyle and tenets of faith - I accept that that's his choice and not my choice. He told me I'd burn in hell and stormed out. THAT, my Gothard readers, is the "family first", "unbreakable bond" that you're heading towards! Choose wisely. Don't pick Gothard over your child. Would a benevolent and kind Christ make you choose an ideology over your child?

Mom and I had a good conversation the following and last day of my visit with the family. She said dad "allowed it"- which made me cringe. I want to keep that conversation private only because my dad would likely turn some of it against her and I don't want that. My mom was, as she said, "given authority" to form her own opinion about Harris and join us for lunch. She said she thought we were well matched...for what that's worth. I love my mom, dearly, but I can't keep waiting for her to ACT like the mother I want her to be. They've decided they can't attend my wedding but will chaperone any of the at-home siblings that wish to attend so long as we're married before a certain faith of minister. Since that's probably not the path we're taking, I guess they won't be at my wedding.

I wish it were different.
I'm still in school. I'm working quite a bit and struggling to be independent before getting married and becoming independent together (?). But, it's worth it! I'm sharing a place with four roommates (none of whom are Harris) and it's interesting for this former Gothardite Girl. :) Have a wonderful day!