I am writing this with music blaring, bass thumping, walls and glass shaking. It is so loud you are needing to be conscious of each breath you take, laboured as it is in the midst of the music vibrations surrounding my body. The genre isn’t important to me as I will dance through most of them, learning a long time ago to be comfortable with my eclectic approach to musical satisfaction. It is the atmosphere that is important – the setting that is so rare a thing to achieve but is so therapeutic in these hard moments of life.
Writing about my cult experience is and has been hard. When my wife and I finally left the cult, that process was a painful and hard one. It took several months until our resolve determined our next steps. It was at least six months before we spoke ONE word about our experience to one another. We were afraid of language, given how distorted and embedded it had become. Words held different meanings and context was lost in experience, defined only by the cult leader.
I will need to unpack this more as my story unfolds because the reality is from the last point in time – my having just been fired – to when we finally left the cult, two or three years will have gone by. Then there was the relentless pursuit of the cult leader after we had left. The phone calls to pastors, the following of our ever move, the contacting of friends and close acquaintances, all with the intent to shame, humiliate, and expose our darkness to everyone, in order to have us see the error – no the sinfulness of our ways and come crawling back to him.
Good thing we didn’t give a fuck what he thought at that point or else I would be his personal secretary right now, setting appointments for him to fuck up other people’s lives. That position goes to someone else, a young couple that joined his fold just as we were leaving, discontent with family, life, and church they mocked us as we walked out the door. We just met their judgemental stares with deep sadness in our eyes. It shocked us – me, as I peered into their eyes, because it was like I was looking into my own broken soul.
Ah, yes – why the music? Why the loudness? It is a calculated construct of self-care. It is a place where I can retreat to in order to feel safe, to feel secure. My hearing is not the best, even in silence, so with the beats pulsating all around me it is as if I have become completely deaf and there is a comfort in that place. The only noise I am able to listen to in those moments is my own voice and that is a pleasure.
By listening to my own voice I immediately drown out the external language that has mocked and ridiculed me my entire life. I honour my own emotional experience by drowning out all that outside junk. I can take the time to just be – to sit with my emotions. Often, as the music pushes the walls in and out I laugh out loud for no apparent reason or I suddenly burst out in tears, with no rationale at all, and in it all I am incredibly comfortable with those emotional outbursts, because in those precious moments I am learning how to listen to my emotional self and not the noise of the outside.
And that is healing.
I grab these moments in my car when I am commuting or even with headphones in my ears I can be in that place out in public because in those precious moments I am safe with my music and I don’t give a damn what people think about what they are seeing. Some grown man, head bobbing and tears streaming down his face or a manic laugh for no apparent reason. For me, this is therapeutic and as I capture my emotional experiences in my autobiography there will be quite a number of times that my need for bass-thumping, wall pulsating noise will be necessary.
And I am okay with that.