A year ago today I started this blog. It's been an interesting, educational, humbling, frustrating, rewarding, sometimes painful, yet healing twelve months. I've forged some wonderful friendships and associations, both online and person to person, and come to respect a particular group of women (survivors of patriarchy) immensely. Words would do that respect no justice. Let me just say that "they're my heroes" isn't hyperbole.
In the spring of last year, right after my ex's wedding ceremony, my real grieving process began. I'd been so busy fighting in my situation that it took her wedding ceremony for me to even be able to begin to grieve. To that point, I'd looked into only the cultic aspects of the situation with my ex's family, mind control, thought reform, et cetera. I hadn't really studied the P/QF aspects of it. Heck, I'd still never even heard of Vision Forum. I came across Cindy Kunsman's blog, Under Much Grace, randomly, and was blown away by the depth of the P/QF problem, opening my eyes to just how big of a monster I'd actually been fighting. It seemed that everything I read there made me say to myself, "Yes!!!!!!!!! I've SEEN that! I SAW that happen!" It was a very vulnerable and emotional time for me, and to finally come across information that was helping me connect so many dots was a big deal in my process. After reading there for a couple of days, I sent Cindy an email outlining all that I'd dealt with and where things were at that point. Cindy responded with an email that I'll appreciate forever, having taken some time to type up a very detailed, and compassionate, response, further helping me attach names and meanings to the psychological aspects of the situation with my ex. Included in her email was an encouragement - "don't waste your pain" - that was a big part of my motivation to begin CoM, and continues to motivate every piece I write. Cindy has become a valued friend.
Soon thereafter, I found a link at Cindy's blog which took me to Hillary McFarland's blog, Quivering Daughters. I began to immerse myself into, and absorb, all of her articles there, and soon I began to join in the discussions in the comment threads. A couple of my comments raised the temperature levels of some, for a couple of reasons. I think a big part of it was the mere fact that I'm a man, coupled with the fact that I'm a man who was injured by the P/QF paradigm while being an outsider. My perspective was a very different one that seemed to rile up the patriarchal types chomping at the bit to attack the purpose and message of Hillary's writing. Hillary and I exchanged a few emails, and she encouraged me to use my male/outsider perspective to start a blog of my own. Once I began CoM, Hillary went the extra mile to let QD's audience know about it, and she's also become a valued friend.
To Cindy and Hillary - Love to you both. You're awesome, incredible, gifted, and brave women. I'm more than honored to have crossed paths with both of you. Thank you both for your prayers, encouragement, and valuable insight.
Once I began writing, so many things that had been brewing in my heart now had a canvas on which to be painted. You may question the value of the art, and that's fair enough, but it would be foolish to question whether it's genuine. It always is. Every piece of mine that I've published here is written in realtime. I don't really have "drafts" for the blog. I research pieces, yes, but once I've collected all the data, and my thoughts and feelings on an issue have been established, I sit down, start typing, and hit "publish" when I'm done. I want my writing to be raw, emotional, and passionate - because the issues usually are - and I want my message to be conveyed the same way it would be if you were sitting across the room and we were talking face to face, even if I can't deliver the syrupy southern accent you'd hear in person through a keyboard.
I began the blog with no expectations. In many ways, I was writing for me as much as I was for anyone else. I really had no idea if it would resonate with any sizable group of people. I added stat counters to be able to track hostile anonymous comments and was amazed that so many people were reading. Within a couple of weeks from now, over 200,000 pages on the blog will have been visited, and no one is more surprised by that than I am. Those of you who've become regulars here, I'm honored and humbled by your support, encouragement, and contributions. You guys rock.
I can see changes in me in what I'm writing now as compared to a year ago - and frankly, I LOVE it. I'm a continual work in progress, and I welcome the changes that continual self-examination produce. My basic desire to point to Christ (even if you don't like how I do it) hasn't changed, and won't change, but the past year has opened my eyes to so many new areas where people need help, and I always want to be malleable to the Holy Spirit to be able to help those I can help and LIVE my simple faith meaningfully, whether through what I write or through undertakings this blog has brought about. I've received more heartbreaking emails and heard more heartwrenching stories in the last year than I ever anticipated, and to those of you who've opened your hearts and lives to me in sharing your stories - you're never far from my heart and mind.
God-willing, the next twelve months will be as meaningful as the last twelve have been (even if it's only been meaningful for me thus far), and I hope you'll continually be challenged to think and examine. I promise I'll put in the effort - raw, emotionally, passionately, and with no pretense.
Love to you all.