Thursday, August 23, 2012

I'm happy just because: I found out I am really no one

When I was three years old I used to go to bed, pulling the covers up to my chin, hoping that maybe tomorrow would be the day that I would wake up and finally be a princess. With the ubiquity of Disney fairytales during my youth, it could be reasoned that as a young child I might have developed a vauge fantasy of living a life like I had seen in the cartoons. Afterall, it wouldn't be that hard for a little girl to extrapolate from the movies and assume that they, too, ought to lead the charmed, adventerous life of a princess. (In fact, I am convinced that this is where the wedding fantasy is derived from for many young women.)

However, the influence in my life was much more direct. Before my mom could lecture us with the literal meaning of the Divine Principle, she would make up bed time stories as fables intended to impart the life lessons of our theology. The story that I remember most clearly was her version of Adam and Eve, in which they were a prince and princess in a beautiful kingdom that was happy and prosperous. God was the kind, generous king who allowed his children ultimate freedom - with one caveat.

While the details of "the apple" are fuzzy, structurally the story was the same. The young prince and princess betrayed their king, who languished in heartbreak and flooded the land with his tears. While the story ended tragically, the Epilouge always held hope. Because, you see, we Blessed Children were the princes and princesses in exile who could heal the king's broken heart.

At three I didn't know anything about the concept of exile, but I did know what it meant to be a princess. You got to wear a lot of pink and people paid attention to you. With a younger sister and baby brother at the time, I was already feeling a deficit of attention. And while that morning where I woke up to be greeted with royal status never arrived, the concept had taken root in the back of my young psyche. I was different. I was special. I was a Blessed Child.

This created a strange dichotomy growing up. Many of us in the church had difficulty connecting with kids who didn't share our background and culture. It didn't help that we were discouraged from interacting with outside kids. It was often imparted to us by our parents just how different we were. When I was five I tried to explain the difference to a school friend. "I'm a Blessed Child, and you're not." Her parents probably didn't appreciate it.

We were taught that our lineage was sacred, almost royal; we were the only true descendants of God in the Human History of thousands of years. Therefore, falling by having any kind of sexual (emotional or physical) relationship with someone before marriage was akin to destroying the entire foundation of the foundation set by the conditions and sacrifice of all Biblical history. My mother would often paraphrase Genesis 6:2-4 (The sons of God - Those who were called by the name of the Lord, and called upon that name, married the daughters of men) to emphasize that to marry outside of the church was not only to marry outside of the realm of God, but also (in her opinion) to marry a sub-human.

That culture was a strange mind-fuck that often found us within the church forming close relationships of solidarity against an evil, possibly sub-human, world. What it also did was reinforce a "special status" that would be irrevocably lost to anyone who left the church. It wasn't just that one would lose their community, their spirituality - they would also lose their status in heaven and on earth. Those that left or fell were spoken of as condemned to the farthest reaches of hell and agony and remorse.

It was another brick in the proverbial wall. For some, that, and the illogic loop that the church rhetoric constantly reinforced, was enough to keep them trapped. For me, it eventually became something to fight against, because it disallowed my taking ownership of my own accomplishments and goodness. If I was smart or kind or hardworking, it was all because of God and True Parents, and the indemnity conditions set by my parents. 

My rebellious side chafed at the thought that on my own, my accomplishments and traits had no merit unless in the context of who Rev and Mrs Moon were. Though I tried to understand and appreciate who they supposedly were, I resented that I was often left alone to grow up outside of the safe parameters of a church community and had no direct influence from anyone church related other than my dysfunctional parents. Yet I was supposed to own any personal merit to the strangers whose photograph I had been taught to bow to every morning.

Strange, I often thought. And so what a joyous and freeing day it was when I stepped behind those confines and was able to shed the faux mantle of royalty that had acted as blinders in my youth. Finally, I was my own. And I was no one. Yet I was free.

Oh my mornings coming back
The whole world's waking up
This city bus is swimming past
I'm happy just because
I found out that I am really no one

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