Nov. 24, 2021

Deconstructing Religious Abuse

Deconstructing Religious Abuse

 Anna grew up in a fundamentalist Christian family as part of the Quiverfull movement. She and her six siblings were not allowed to attend school and were very isolated from the outside world. Everything about her childhood was strictly controlled, from the clothes she wore to the media she had access to. She was expected to teach herself from primarily religious texts as well as teaching and caring for the younger children. Her future was laid out for her as a submissive wife and mother to many children.
She left at 19 with help from family, starting life in a very unfamiliar world with little education was daunting but also thrilling. Seven years later she's still sifting through memories. She makes videos on TikTok recounting her experiences, and has found that many other folks grew up in similar circumstances. Many kids are undoubtedly still in that situation and Anna hopes she can raise awareness and play a part in helping others.

Coalition for Responsible Home Education - recommended resource



Growing Up in a Cult

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it's like a backpack full of bricks that you
need to learn to carry around and it sucks

but there's like little things you can do
to maybe make it a little lighter or lift

weights and get stronger so it's easier to
carry but it's always going to it's always

going to be there but you'll you'll think
of it less and less it'll bother you less

and less


hi there thank you so much for joining me
i'm hecate and this is finding okay a healing

podcast for survivors of sexual assault and
any and all abuse today i'm joined by anna

anna goes by the name of spooky patootie on
tick tock and has over 264 000 followers she

uses her platform to share her experiences
growing up in a christian fundamentalist cult

she helps raise awareness about the need for
improvement of homeschooling laws which make

it easier for child abuse to continue and
go undetected anna exited seven years ago

with the help of family she is now deconstructing
her experiences and helping others in their

healing journey

trigger and content warnings for this episode
include the following trauma abuse child abuse

sexual assault rape religious trauma cults
chronic illness medical abuse depression suicidal

ideation death incest and homophobia please
check in with yourself and make sure you're

all right to continue okay let me figure out
i'm i'm wearing um like my satan slippers

which i can't bend that way so i'm just gonna
like they're so cute oh my goodness they make

me so happy like as soon as the weather turns
i'm always really excited to put on my spooky

slippers and they give me such joy but my
pants are like they're holographic snakes

oh those are also red wow they're like kaleidoscope
snakes and uh and i have like a friend that

is always getting um like clothings from uh
clothing from like other punk friends and

like free bins and clothing swaps and stuff
like that and she ended up with the same pair

of pants uh which is like it's the most random
pair of pants that were given to me because

like i have a relative who got into like the
lulu thing and then she was trying to give

me leggings that she couldn't sell so they're
like the unsellable like kaleida snake pants

and then me and my punk friend ended up with
them both in it so i don't know oh no i didn't

mean to compliment lularoe leggings i didn't
know i mean if they exist and they were given

for free so yeah i didn't i didn't support
them yeah the pyramid scheme oh my goodness

so i'd like to start with uh the question
are you okay uh probably to be determined

that is a that's a deceptively hard question
it is that's why i start with it

i kind of feel like it's what we're all kind
of trying to figure out every day pretty much

so what is a compliment that you've received
that you've never forgotten oh when i read

this one came right to mind uh somebody said
that they felt safe to be themselves around

me and it was just

that meant so so much to me especially at
the time when i was trying to trying to grow

and be more accepting and and be a completely
different person from the way i was raised

and then to hear that somebody like a marginalized
person felt safe around me i was like yes

that's so important that's one of the best
compliments you can get yeah

and what is your favorite color and what do
you associate with it so my favorite color

is purple and uh it's kind of sad what i associate
it with uh when i was a kid i had a best friend

who was like a crazy purple girl like one
of those girls where everything has to be

purple like everything she owned had to be
purple but i liked pink at the time and so

we would constantly fight about which well
like pl pretend fight about which was the

better color um and i was when i was 13 she
died in a car accident and so from then on

i was like well i guess my favorite color
is purple now it's kind of a it's it's a sad

thing to think about but um but out of out
of her memory my favorite color must always

be purple yeah what what kind of purple is
it is it like a deep purple or like a lavender

or like she definitely loved like all purple
uh i want to say like royal purple like a

bright purple was kind of the most common
uh but she would be happy with any kind of

purple that's awesome that's beautiful too
yeah i'm sorry she passed though that's rough

it was

i talk about like so many aspects of like
my life and stuff that's happened to me and

i don't talk about that there's actually a
lot i don't talk about which is like how can

there be so much but yeah it's kind of crazy
how full our lives become

yeah i was taking a walk today and and had
uh an interaction with somebody that um kind

of made me think the same thing just just
uh the the things that we don't discuss that

are very much a part of our lives because
they they said something to me that i would

never have known if if they hadn't said it
but um but yeah just uh

just how how many people

come and go in our lives and make us who we
are and become a part of our story and uh

and are part of are a part of who we are with
other people um even though

they may never know that particular story
or that particular person or what they meant

to us and and yet like we we all like live
through live on through each other in interesting

ways and really beautiful ways too i love
your story about purple and that person and

the way that that someone's living on through
you as a color is really beautiful and special

i can't help but think about what her room
must have looked like if she were like the

purple girl like well she shared a room with
her sister so they had to compromise

i met a purple woman once she had renamed
herself purple like so her name was now purple

oh that's another level it was it was so like
she and like the hair was purple and she was

working as an artist's uh figure model and
so like i got to draw her as in only purple

and she was like this is the culmination of
all my life goals is to only be purple and

it was like yes yes oh that's excellent i
love that helping

but if i had to summon you in a ritual what
five things would i need to place at each

point of the pentacle on the floor in order
to summon you first we've got a cat uh it

could be any cat but probably preferably like
one of my own cats i would definitely come

if it was one of my own cats um a butter pecan
ice cream that that is necessary for you know

life uh

let's see what else oh uh like a sexy outfit
of some sort that uh hopefully involves like

some leather uh that that's pretty necessary
uh a sewing machine preferably again if someone

can track down an old sewing machine that
i once had and would very much like back uh

i would definitely come somewhere snowing
machine was it it was a faff that my grandma

gave to our family uh and then but it like
it was in my bedroom and i was the only one

who ever used it and so i considered it mine
but then when i left home my mother said that

i could not have it so now now it is gone
and i don't know where it is she may still

have it or she may have donated it somewhere
i don't know but i'm still sad i don't have

that sewing machine um oh and also a uh a
rainbow pride flag yes yes

oh and there was uh what what brands of ice
cream oh do you have a preference uh i mean

there i feel like butter pecan is good in
most brands um honestly i just eat the like

private selection smith's brand a lot i guess
they're called i guess it's called kroger

in other states in utah it's called smith's
i don't know why i is it because of joseph

smith i do not know [Laughter] yeah it's called
kroger everywhere else i think yeah that's

uh yeah like that's what we find it like costco
and stuff the kroger brand and yeah i think

kirk never thinks about the cops oh you're
right i was thinking the wrong thing well

i think the the kroger brand is it's called
private selection because they they want you

to think it's fancies but it's just as the
store's own brand so it's not that fancy but

it's still good okay what are three essentials
to your self-care uh so when i started making

this list uh my first two were also cats and
ice cream and i'm like darn i can't be that

uh repetitive if it's so true it's true well
i'm gonna leave ice cream on there because

that one is true um ice cream and long baths
and weed yes preferably all together yes i

don't know if that is true self-care or if
that is just escapism um but it still feels

essential either way i think escapism gets
a bad rap sometimes i think sometimes it's

important truth be told just about

oh sorry it's just about finding a balance
i suppose yeah and like i i mean for me it's

it's like all i'll i'll check in with myself
and like at a certain point with what i'm

doing and i'm like has this become a form
of kind of unh like is it unhealthy at this

point um and that sometimes the answer is
just no like sometimes the answer is like

i need to check out for a bit i'll be back
whenever i'm back and i think that's okay

considering the world we live in and how overwhelming
uh it really is and how exhausting um being

neurodivergent in this world is like

yeah just that no i feel that is it okay to
just kind of start by asking you like who

are you and how did you grow up yeah of course
uh it's a little hard to sum up um my name

is anna uh i grew up in a fundamentalist christian
family um we i had six siblings my parents

had some pretty intense uh religious beliefs
uh kind of above and beyond even your average

conservative christian um we never went to
school school was seen as a a way for like

the government to indoctrinate you with false
teachings like evolution so we were uh legally

we were homeschooled uh but our schooling
was more or less uh neglected uh so that i

feel like that is the

that sums up a lot of things i could go into
more detail about like uh the the length of

dresses that we had to wear or how we weren't
allowed to cut our hair or whatever there's

a lot of little things that kind of add up
to the whole like fundamentalist picture but

the whole uh school will indoctrinate you
uh therefore you can't go that that's kind

of that says a lot right there yeah it does

um i can't remember if you said the um the
word but the word cults being a very important

one um i do call it a cult now i definitely
you know definitely didn't see it at the time

or even when i was getting out i thought that
it was just my family and specifically my

mother i thought that they were really like
restrictive or even like mean it took me a

while before i could even like use the word
abusive um but then after when i was about

19 i found all these stories on the internet
from people who had the same story as me and

they wrote about the the teachings that influenced
their parents to raise them in that way and

they were the same books and authors that
we had on our bookshelf um and i realized

that it wasn't just like one isolated kooky
family this was uh a kind of larger movement

and that there were lots of us all across
the country whose families like bought into

this perspective and and way of being a family
and in some places there are enough of them

that they were able to form churches and then
and then it gets even more restrictive and

culty because there's directly like someone
there telling you what to do we went to pretty

mainstream churches so we were actually more
extreme than the churches that we went to

um so we were kind of disconnected from the
the whole in a way because there weren't very

many like fundamentalists in uh the state
i grew up in which is utah there there's fundamentalist

mormons uh but fundamentalist christians are
a little harder to find uh so we somehow grew

up like within a cult like a a like we grew
up within a system of cult teachings while

being somewhat disconnected from the cult
itself so it's a little it's a little confusing

or complicated at least does the does the
branch of teachings like have a name uh yes

and there's there's several names that could
go by but quiver full is kind of the the most

useful term um but even under quiverful there's
different authors and such that have kind

of built up the theology to where it is today
um i usually tell people to think of the duggar

family from 19 kids and counting uh even though
we only had seven kids so very small compare

comparatively but um we still everything you
kind of see on tv about their beliefs even

though their beliefs are very uh kind of

sanitized for tv you don't get to see the
darker stuff but even the the stuff that they

do show that's like oh that's weird like all
the courtship rituals and such i'm like yeah

that was that was my family

there's a lot of a lot of similarity there
i never i never watched it so i um have been

learning a lot from from watching your your
tick tocks and and uh and roaming around tik

tok uh in hearing from from other people who
have who have exited um like christian fundamentalist

upbringings and it's uh it's it's a completely
different world to me i was uh not raised

with with any religion um so it it's it's
kind of on purpose that we're uh that we're

a completely different world that's kind of
the goal is is isolation and and separation

and kind of uh like breeding your way to like
take over and like take back the country that's

kind of the goal if you if your group and
your religion has more kids than the other

religion then you win is basically the thought
and so in that way it's also really heavily

tied with politics uh because you're not only
like breeding christians uh they're also like

ultra-conservative christians who are raised
to vote a certain way uh when i was growing

up literally like being a democrat was synonymous
with like going to hell like i would pray

every night for my own grandparents not just
because they weren't christians but because

they were democrats and so they were so they
were sure to go to hell and so i had to pray

for them to be saved and that's uh that's
what i did every night from like as far back

as i can remember that's so intense

yep intense is kind of a kind of an understatement
but like while you're in it you don't realize

that it's strange because it's all that you
know you think that it's normal especially

because another part of it is restricting
the media that you have access to so if you

never see mainstream media then you don't
know that the way you're living is strange

if you're only a lot of the books um television
i mean we we were barely allowed to watch

tv at all but uh when we did it was a very
religious programming um the music that we

could listen to had to be religious in nature
uh movies that we watched had to be and not

just a little religious like it had to be
like extremely conservative christianity uh

had to be in all of our media even a lot of
most of the books that we read a lot of them

were from mennonite publishers or i just learned
recently a lot of it was or some book series

were seventh day adventist and i didn't even
know that at the time um i don't even know

what that is oh i i i barely know what i've
no what i've been learning has been mostly

on tick-tock uh because i'll mention a certain
a certain like oh i grew up with this book

and someone will comment and be like that's
the seventh-day adventist series like did

you were you a seventh-day adventist and i'll
be like no i didn't know so i they're another

uh another church that has a restrictive and
culty vibes at least that's what i've heard

from people who have commented but i don't
wanna i know a little enough about it that

i i probably shouldn't say more but um

oh so i was saying a lot of our books were
from conservative very conservative christian

publishers mennonite publishers a lot of them
were about like missionaries and martyrs and

just yeah the that was all part of of the
kind of isolation and uh keeping you thinking

that that your life is the the only way to
live the best way to live uh because your

options are limited we would literally have
there were books that we couldn't read because

the characters in the books attended school

and so if we read too much too many books
with school involved we might start asking

questions about school we might want to go
to school and so that option was just like

not on on the table i think there is i don't
don't necessarily want to give all homeschooling

a bad name because there's definitely uh great
ways to homeschool and and kids who do best

in homeschooling and all of that um but uh
even even people who homeschool for the right

reasons usually know the people who homeschool
for the wrong reasons because there's a there

were a lot of us there were a lot of us and
when your goal is to keep keep your kids isolated

from the world and indoctrinate them with
your own religious views that's a that's a

big old problem yeah well and i i had i never
like that it never fully connected for me

until i started watching the videos that you
were making but it it makes uh i mean it's

really dark but it makes perfect sense like
if you are an abusive parent and you are going

to try to get away with it homeschooling is
one of the best ways because if your child

attends school that's where a lot of child
abuse is usually detected like that's where

they're gonna notice something like malnourishment
or marks on your child or them saying strange

things or things like that and so you you
know remove your child from an environment

where everyone is required to report uh and
all of a sudden they're not you know people

other children or other adults like don't
even have access or don't even see your child's

there you go yeah we were we weren't allowed
to go outside like during school hours uh

so we wouldn't like look suspicious to neighbors
even though homeschooling in utah is completely

legal it's completely legal all over the country
um but we were still paranoid that we were

doing something wrong because that's that's
another part of the cult is kind of a persecution

complex that like the world is out to get
you um we were coached on what to say if child

protective services ever came and they did
come um i mean the rules again i don't know

all the laws and and regulations regarding
child protective services but if uh from what

i do know at least in the state of utah if
they come to the door on a call and they don't

see like an egregiously bad environment like
oh the house like looks decent nobody's like

trying to murder someone else in the background
and the parent says oh no you can't talk to

my kids you have to go away now that's what
they do they don't have they don't have the

right to like forcibly interview a child but
uh even if they did we were still coached

on what to say and the one time that i did
do an interview with child protective services

i just lied so

yeah i have a little bit of shared experience
with lying or masking truth with cps not at

all the same situation or the same like household
thing but um yeah i until i started watching

your videos i had completely just like lost
that memory oh no oh no i have a feeling i've

done that a lot really i forgot about this
thing i'm like well i i hope it's a good thing

that you remembered it otherwise i feel kind
of bad

it's good it's good we're we're all regaining
our our own [ __ ] and uh and you know like

i we were we were talking about that a little
bit on the tech call as as uh you know once

you're you're in a healthier space and uh
you know your your body and your mind knows

that you're safe you start to have access
to these things that you had blocked out because

you just couldn't handle them before and it's
like yay yup so glad i got this back i have

to process this

lovely um but yeah it wasn't it wasn't um
like a super horrible like it's okay i like

that memory is we're good we're all good oh
i'm glad oh before i forget i do because because

we're talking about homeschooling and this
is something i'm very passionate about just

like letting people know because most people
don't ever think about homeschooling and what

the laws are around homeschooling uh and uh
they're not great in in the us um the a lot

of states have hardly any regulation around
homeschooling uh i believe 11 states have

no regulation at all so you can just take
your kid out of school and and that's it you

don't have to do anything else uh there are
no requirements to to educate them no curriculum

nobody's ever going to check up on them uh
the state where i grew up in there was one

requirement and that was that your local school
district had to know that you were homeschooling

your kid so you had to send them in a letter
being like okay my kids are being homeschooled

this year and that's the only requirement
again no curriculum no requirements no testing

nobody's ever gonna check up on your kid you
don't have to make a portfolio um there's

there's nothing and so and these laws are
kept in place by

i mean there is a fundamentalist christian
organization called the homeschool legal defense

association or hslda and i i'm not an expert
on everything that they do but um but they

lobby for these these lack of laws to stay
in place uh and then the cycle kind of feeds

itself as more kids grow up this way and the
kids that stay grow up and then work for these

groups that then keep these laws in place
and it uh it's just one big cycle of yikes

well sash and i i never knew any of that until
i started watching your your videos i had

i like that blew me away the the videos that
you've done about homeschooling um are 100

going to be linked in episode notes um and
i was i was going to start talking about it

a little later but if we want to talk a little
bit more about it now we can always do that

um but literally um any link that you want
to put in episode notes to help raise awareness

what i do want to what i would link is the
coalition for responsible home education where

you can find they have statistics data um
just and and they don't they're not against

homeschooling they're just they advocate for
um the rights of children to receive a good

education whether that is through homeschooling
or or more traditional schooling um and it

is hard because every state is different there
aren't like federal laws as far as i know

it's just it's up to the states to create
their own laws and if the state a state doesn't

have laws then uh then they don't have laws
and uh the the maps that you had in your in

your video like just blew my mind oh and those
are all from the coalition for responsible

home education website so those wow those
can be easily found um and they're just color

coded of what what states have what what laws
i don't now i don't remember all the numbers

off the top of my head but the number of the
number of states that require home school

parents to have a high school diploma or equivalent
uh shockingly small shockingly small

yeah i i always like growing up i i knew that
other kids were homeschooled that this was

something that happens sometimes and um and
especially because like i live in an area

where there are extremely high rates of lyme
disease so sometimes there were kids that

would be pulled out of school because they
were too disabled to like from various like

tick-borne illnesses to continue with with
a public education they couldn't attend um

and uh and sometimes they would start homeschooling
and so like that was i was aware that it happened

with some kids and um and just the the way
my parents taught me about it was they're

doing the same work that you are they're just
doing it at home their parents teach them

and their parents uh you know have all these
books that they get from like you know like

the board of education or like from various
like resources and you know like i had they

take tests just like you that are given to
them by the state like completely different

idea of what was happening and uh totally
incorrect totally incorrect i mean and some

people for sure homeschool that way and like
and more power to them i don't want to say

that again all homeschooling is bad because
people seem to get that impression uh sometimes

when i talk about homeschooling i'm like no
no it just should be maybe a tiny bit harder

for people to abuse their kids uh and utilize
homeschooling to do so that's literally all

i'm saying let's make it like a little and
the the good homeschool parents don't don't

mind having a few extra hoops to jump through
uh to ensure that you know the kid next door

has a good education like we should we should
be caring about each other as as well like

it's wonderful if you take care of your own
kid well but like let's let's help let's help

the kid next door a little bit okay and that's
that's all i'm trying to kind of get across

to people that was really well said yeah oh
that in in my oh sorry no please continue

oh i was gonna say and people sometimes ask
me like what was school like in your family

and i'm i can't i don't have like a concept
of like a school day a school year grades

like we were basically just kind of it taught
to read and then encouraged to read various

books that are like actual textbooks were
very few and far between and even when we

did have textbooks they were basically religious
propaganda and were not we're not correct

uh i did i did biology in high school technically
and my biology textbook included things like

that evolution is fake and climate change
is fake so i basically can't trust anything

that was in that book and had to start from
scratch but then there was also just wide

swaths of of education that we just didn't
receive hardly not much history could to speak

of um i never learned any chemistry like whatsoever
um we were all behind in math because math

is a very hard thing to teach yourself we
were basically expected to teach ourselves

and then teach our younger siblings whatever
we know because in these kinds of families

the when you have this that many kids uh the
old the older kids just raised the younger

kids and that's how it goes so i first became
like a a teacher of kids when i was 11 um

i would literally sit them down and try to
like have school or what my idea of school

was um and that did not last very long because
i had like literally a nervous breakdown at

the age of 11. and i also i found a certificate
that i somehow kept all these years of from

my sister my older sister that was like congrats
on your on your like math assignment on completing

all the problems and she signed your teacher
and then her name and then i looked at the

date and realized that she was 10 years old
when she made me this certificate i'm just

like what my literal like my teacher was 10.
that's not that's not how uh it's not how

education is supposed to work it's not but
i can't like that's like really dark on one

hand and then also really sweet on another
oh yeah like i don't know oh yeah she even

had like rewards for me it said like you won
a gel pen and she spelled gel pen wrong like

it was it is it is truly adorable which is
hard and i try i try to tell these stories

with like some with a sense of humor because
some of them are are quite funny like it's

it's kind of funny to think of like a 10 year
old like making a certificate for her little

sister uh but it just gets it gets sad when
you realize that that's the only education

the the little sister is getting oh and i
did the same thing i made little like like

origami like trophies for my like sibling
students to be like you have accomplished

a thing here you go have my paper creation

kind of awesome i wish i had gotten an origami
trophy but i mean i also everything does have

that dark underside though yeah i mean i also
made a an origami hat that said the bad hat

and made them wear it if they misbehaved so

so i'm i'm curious when did you start to suspect
or realize that your family life or the way

that you were being raised was uh either not
normal or unhealthy oh that is that is a big

old question because it happened so slowly
there wasn't like an aha moment necessarily

um i think it mostly came about through the
internet so thank goodness for the internet

and that we had access to the internet uh
which actually in a way we were very fortunate

because i know other uh fundamentalists who
did who did not grow up with the internet


so again it's also a long story how i even
had access to the internet uh because our

our like computer was our computer time was
very closely monitored um we on each computer

was like monitoring software that sent a list
of every website that was visited to my mom's

email inbox so she could see everywhere that
we had gone i think in the like kind of family

computer room there was like literally a mirror
so she could look in the mirror from her desk

and see the the computer screen that that
we would be on so there was no there was no

like hiding your activity but i was a little
different uh because and this is again oh

very long story but um i was uh the sick child
uh and i basically was bedridden for like

a few years actually most of my teenage years
i was either in bed or would just be in a

chair um and since i was i got special privileges
because i was the sick child and one of those

was having a laptop and i'd still had the
monitoring software on it but i had more freedom

than my siblings did to kind of be on the
internet and explore um and it it's hard again

so so many aspects but the the being the sick
child was kind of uh i was actually not sick

there was nothing like physically wrong with
me but i went to a lot of doctors because

uh my mom did not understand mental illness
or how the environment she had created would

lead to mental illness uh and so she thought
i must have a brain tumor or a heart defect

or all these every couple weeks there would
be some new illness that i would have to go

get tested for but i was it and i couldn't
i thought i had those too at the time because

i couldn't understand why i couldn't function
um i knew that i'd like didn't want to be

alive anymore uh but i didn't understand that
that was depression uh and in hindsight i

can see that i was just so depressed that
i gave up on living and i was also very malnourished

and so and then just didn't ever get out of
bed so no exercise no sunlight all of those

the combination of all of those things will
lead you to have a whole lot of genuine symptoms

like i would have headaches all day every
day which is why like the thought was oh she

must have a a tumor or something and then
when that was ruled out it was like well she

must have migraines because you can't it's
hard to test for that and so you don't know

so let's just try this migraine medication
and then the migraine medication would make

me really sick and so we'd have to try a different
migraine medication i was on a migraine medication

that they had to give me through a picc line
in a hospital those are a doozy and i didn't

need it i didn't need any of it it's so awful
to look back in hindsight and uh and that

was another thing that maybe could have been
helped if i had i mean just be going to school

would have given me a reason to get out of
bed so that that could have been different

right there uh but since i had no school i
had nowhere to go i would just lay in bed

day after day after day after day um and then
maybe somebody would have noticed like oh

uh you're looking a little maybe skeletal
like my skin was yellow because i never saw

the sunlight like there were so many signs
and and i was going to church through a lot

of this but even people at church didn't notice
or didn't know any better because they were

all told that i was sick um and so they would
pray for me uh and give my mom a lot of attention

for being like the mother of the sick kid
like oh how is anna today i see she's not

in church is her her headaches really bad
um and that's why in after after the fact

i kind of figured out that there was probably
an element of munchausen by proxy going on

um that while i did have like genuine symptoms
that it was kind of a cycle um and that my

mom got a lot of attention and kind of purpose
out of being like the mother of a sick child

yeah and that's that's another thing i don't
talk about a lot either actually i think i

made one video about it but after that i'm
like i don't even know how to how to how do

you talk about that

i've seen other people on tech talk starting
to talk about it too like i think that's like

another branch of tick tock that's still kind
of still like it is a very

unique kind of abuse and such a strange and
alienating situation to be in as a child um

that is like thank you so much for talking
about it because it is uh i think i think

it is really difficult for people to talk
about um and i think it's really important

for uh for people who have experienced that
to to find each other um and to feel less

alone with that yeah yeah it's just again
it's hard because i i try to be like somewhat

humorous or upbeat because you can find humor
in a lot of things but it i can't find any

humor in that like at all maybe that's why
i don't talk about it um because i can't i

can't make it i can't make it anything but
utterly depressing

and i i think humor comes later with this
stuff like when you when you pull it out and

you're unpacking it it's just raw and painful
uh at first and uh and then sometimes like

over time as as you process it maybe then
the humor comes maybe and this was all all

triggered by my best friend dying when i was
13 because that happened um and then that's

when i just like went to bed and didn't get
up so it should have been obvious that like

this is depression and and grief and everything
um yeah and maybe it was to some extent but

i didn't get help in that arena

therapy was off the table um i went to a christian
counselor for a chunk of time


it can only do so much good when uh your counselor
already has preconceived ideas and notions

because she's your mom's friend

even wanted to like spend time with like my

friend's family so i could be around people
who were also grieving and like that didn't

happen because my mom was too busy to like
drive me to see them or whatever like and

that's all see there's so many pieces of of
the puzzle that kind of add up to this awful

situation because yeah another reason my mom
was so busy was because of um

because of the other thing i don't talk about

there was maybe i can say it vaguely there
was a sexual abuse occurring between my siblings

and um she was trying to cover it up but she
had told a pastor and that pastor had told

child protective services um so thank goodness
for that pastor because my siblings got therapy

and the one sibling the perpetrator was put
in foster care for a chunk of time and so

that kind of absorbed everyone's and so i
was able to just uh s melt into my bed and

cease existing until i was in such poor health
that it became like oh must be a brain tumor


i'm i'm glad that that situation with the
siblings was at least addressed um yeah me

too and it was even hidden from me at the
time so i didn't know what was going on oh

okay oh i only knew about it like i knew vaguely
like this sibling's in trouble or like this

sibling won't be living with us anymore but
that's all i knew i didn't know i didn't know

any details until i was basically grown in
my and my siblings and i were able to kind

of talk more freely so all i knew was like
oh i am like in like the most immense pain

of my like little child life and nobody cares

this is why i don't talk about it on tick
tock because it's so sad oh it's it's a lot

to unpack and it's very heavy how did how
did you find your way out of that uh that's

another that's another thing that's hard to
say and again it there was no like aha moment

it just happened very slowly um because again
i kind of progressed from being just like

completely bedridden to like i would still
stay in my room but i would sit up in a chair

and that was an improvement like i was so
i was doing so poorly that like i could barely

bathe myself so like showering became like
an accomplishment so like the better i got

the more regularly i could shower i could
actually brush my hair again a lot of my hair

fell out so like when it started kind of growing
back that was like a a positive thing it just

it happened it happened very slowly and incrementally
um and another another puzzle piece that strangely

like doesn't fit but but still does um this
whole time that i was a teenager we were doing

christian speech and debate competitively
like we would go to tournaments as a family

and and give speeches to like our friends
parents who would like who would judge us

and we would get trophies and you know i mean
that's actually a pretty normal thing for

teenagers to do if they have that interest
in school but the whole the fact that the

environment it was usually at a church and
that it was only christian [Music] uh made

it a a really wacky environment um and so
even when i was like could barely get out

of a chair i would still i would be writing
speeches like from my laptop in my chair and

then i would go to these tournaments and just
be completely exhausted but like somehow like

manage to have enough adrenaline to like get
me through the day and then i'd feel this

like huge sense of accomplishment because
i was actually really good at public speaking

um and then i would go home and then it would
just be like back to bed i go so there was

this kind of a disconnect of like always being
sick and always being in bed but like five

times a year we would like travel to these
tournaments and i would be like a star because

i would be because i was pretty great at it
and i would feel accomplished and get to get

to meet people and feel sociable and then
it was oh then it was back home and back to

bed again so

it's and that doesn't seem to fit with being
like oh i was bedridden for years oh but i

managed to like travel to many states and
uh do competitive speech like those things

don't seem to go together but they did i my
sister uh my sister was chronically ill for

uh i think over a decade and um

she was incredibly sick she could barely go
to school um and uh and at one point like

ended up like they encouraged her to drop
out um which it turns out is illegal you're

not supposed to do that you're supposed to
give accommodations to disabled children that

was their responsibility so we found that
out and came back with lawyers but um but

anyway um she was extremely sick and also
a championship irish dancer which meant that

having an invisible uh disability and being
chronically ill and almost like almost bedridden

most of the time um and then every so often
would like gather her spoons i don't know

if you're familiar with spoons yes but yeah
she would gather her spoons and she would

put it into uh into irish dancing and uh and
win awards and that meant that everyone would

be like so you're not really sick and it was
like oh no i might be dying but i do this

one thing like i like i can't do all this
stupid [ __ ] homework that you want from

me i have one thing that i that brings me
joy and that i'm passionate about and i'm

gonna do that [ __ ] thing and so it was
like this every so of it i think that's important

and i think that like you know what whatever
kind of like ailment you have i think those

things are important and um and doesn't discredit
uh you know the the experience of um of not

being well um whatever whatever form that
may take um and i hate it when when people

like cast out on the experience that you're
having because you have some joy in your life

or some kind of accomplishment sorry that
just like no you were kidding me and i was

like oh my god that thing that happened oh
i'm i'm so i'm so glad to talk to someone

who understands it like so exactly that's
exactly what it was like like yes you gather

your spoons and do the one thing that brings
you joy and that was another way that i kind

of got out of of that kind of fundamentalist
mindset because even though the people i was

meeting were also conservative christian homeschoolers
and in their own little bubbles a lot of them

were in a more lenient bubble than i was like
they would wear pants

and so that that helped me get out of of my
bubble a little bit um but it was mostly the


so how did you how did you exit and what made
it possible for you so this is a very kind

of the the exiting mentally is maybe a little
more complicated um like the how i managed

it physically is is more straightforward oh
another f another facet of like getting out

mentally was uh realizing i was queer which
i want to say happened around like 17-ish

i was like considering it like not sure um
uh and i i was like well if my religion teaches

me that uh that this is evil and bad uh then
i shouldn't have that religion anymore oh

and i was already having doubts uh mostly
because i was so sick and so miserable and

i would pray all the time that like god would
heal me uh and i never got a magical healing

even elders sorry i'm kind of talking out
of order here you're talking about something

else but um like elders from church came over
and like laid hands on me and like put oil

on me and like expected me to jump up and
have like a miraculous recovery and i didn't

and that literally made me not like start
to disbelieve in the existence of god or at

least a god who wished uh to help me because
i was stuck in my miserable situation i was

stuck in my like frail body and the only person
who could pull me out of that and who eventually

did pull me out of that was me

so extremely powerful realization to have
when i realized that i didn't have to credit

god for the good or the bad things and i could
give myself credit for all the good things

that was really that was really powerful and
amazing like i don't have to say like thank

you jesus for providing me for this opportunity
i'm like no i i got that opportunity i did


oh you were asking how how i got out um so
i turned i turned 18. and i still felt horrible

still felt super depressed um and now i i
knew that like the environment around me was

was bad and i should leave and be on my own
and kind of reject the the way i grew up and

like figure out what the world was all about
but i i didn't know how to practically do

that uh because part of the quiver full fundamentalist
movement is that women are supposed to be

homemakers and wives and mothers and that's
it so you are not taught how to find a place

to live find a job uh i was barely educated
at all um i did have a driver's license which

i consider myself lucky some fundies don't
even let their girls learn to drive um and

in our family you got to learn how to drive
if you were good enough so if you were if

you were a rebel quote unquote you didn't
get to learn how to drive so my older sister

got well this is another tangent but my older
sister got kicked out at 17 with no driver's

license uh hardly any education no money no
transportation no no no nothing so i'm i'm

even in a more fortunate position than she
was um and i then i we weren't allowed to

talk to her either because she was the the
evil bad child and so i didn't we i didn't

talk to her for five years uh after that um
so again i'm 18 miserable trying to figure

out how to leave have no resources to do so
uh a family from the church we went to because

we didn't go we went to an evangelical church
which can be its own brand of crazy but not

quite our brand um and so there were fairly
normal people who went to church there and

someone there took a uh a liking to me and
could see that i was kind of in need and was

on good terms with my mom and was like oh
hey how about anna comes over and comes over

and does work for me and she can like stay
at her house for a couple days every week

um because i need her help with like with
this and this and this around the house and

it would be really handy and since my mom
liked this woman she was like that that's

good go go ahead and it became it became basically
that i started living with this other family

because i just went home less and less and
this was at the same again so complicated

this is at the same time that uh my because
my parents divorced when i was 12 and there

had never been much of a custody battle but
this was at the time when uh my siblings were

fighting to leave my mom and for dad to get
custody and so uh that was all kind of happening

while i'm mostly living at this other family's
house and so i'm not really involved in any

of that um but i knew it was too late for
me anyway it wasn't because i was 18. so the

custody didn't wasn't going to impact me much
who who had custody

and so living with this other family really
got my mindset out of things because even

though they were you know good christians
uh they you know drank wine sometimes and

like had cigars and like wore tank tops and
said [ __ ] occasionally like they were

just a whole whole different brand of people
again brand of people a whole different kind

of like christian than i had ever met uh and
i mean i had met them previously but i hadn't

lived in their home and seen the way they
lived and everything like that known them

so intimately uh and so that really made me
realize that like everything i grew up with

not only is it awful and abusive it's it's
not even it's not even mainstream christianity

it's its own and this was the same time i
was reading these stories on the internet

of people who grew up like i did um and i
started to just kind of put all the pieces

together and then i was i knew i needed to
my education needed help uh and another homeschool

mom actually my my dead friend's mom that's
who it was who we stayed in contact and we

still stay in contact to this day actually
um she gave me a ged study book and was like

here get your ged you can do it and then i
told my mom i was like i'm gonna get my ged

and she's like no you should not do that you
should move back in with me and you should

finish high school we had already made up
a like a transcript that was entirely uh you

know fake garbage i had a credit for for medical
studies and that was because i spent time

in the hospital that's not what medical studies
are um and so she laid out this like curriculum

or whatever requirements she's like you do
this math book and like this history book

and and i'll write you up a cert uh diploma
and you can graduate and i then i realized

i would just be living in her house until
i was 20 doing this like [ __ ] religious

propaganda work offer a diploma that would
benefit me not at all because it was it would

be literally something she typed up on the
computer like would that get me into a college

or do anything for me in life probably not
like and so that was my my rebellious act

was to get my ged and so i i studied and everything
kind of behind her back um and she eventually

kind of accepted that i was gonna get my ged
and so she but she wanted me to move back

in with her and like stay under her control
and uh she she bribed me with college and

she actually did that successfully she was
like i will pay for you to go to community

college if you live with me and so i move
out i moved back from the friend's house to

my mom's house i kind of wish it had been
more of a clean break but that's that's how

it went again this is a very long story i'm
sorry but oh i'm fascinated so i moved back

in and i went to community college for one
semester and i uh started taking like fashion

classes uh because i knew how to sew very
well because that's something you learn when

you're a woman in a cult you know how to sew
really well and it was something that didn't

intimidate me because i'm like i can if i
take like a college math class i'm going i'm

i'm going to like utterly fail if i take any
science class any history class i'm not going

to know anything that's going on but i i know
what's going on in a sewing class so so that's

what i'm gonna do and then after and then
again that one semester of college is more

even more broadening of my mind and meeting
new people that and that are completely different

than me and realizing that even that things
about even though i i was trying to dress

more like normally and i was like i want to
look normal um even the way i spoke like gave

it away because i literally i read so many
old books that i spoke in like large words

that like people didn't understand it was
it was like everything about me kind of gave

it away that i didn't didn't know how to exist
in society um and then after that semester

i i was like i can't i can't live here anymore
i can't do this anymore again this is not

happening and my older sister the one who
had gotten kicked out at 17 bought me a plane

ticket to leave and go to her house across
the country and then that's what i did and

that's the the last time i ever spoke to my
mother was when i was 19 and was like i'm

off to the airport and i had two suitcases
and and that was it and i was gone um and

then i don't know if you want to hear about
all the the practicalities of starting life

but um i it was it was still really anxious
for me being with my sister because i didn't

want to just rely on her and i knew i had
to get a job and i knew i had to do this and

that um and i actually ended up after six
i spent six weeks with her and then i actually

moved back to utah because it was again kind
of less intimidating for me than starting

over in a brand new state um and i was like
i'm gonna go back to school because i did

one semester of school and i know it and i'm
familiar with it and i want to keep going

um and i found a place to live on craigslist
with four roommates um you know complete strangers

like you do um i found a job in a in a kitchen
because i was like my my only skills are cooking

and sewing those are my only skills uh but
people always are hiring like entry-level

cooks and such um or at least that's that's
what i found when i started looking for jobs

and so i got a job cooking in a in a place
that made pretty much exclusively food for

mormon wedding receptions so that was interesting
it was i was technically working for the mormon


um maybe my uh my still somewhat like culty
demeanor helped me get that job because i

i i was very like i don't know demure and
easy and like eager to please uh and yeah

from from there i just kind of went and uh
whenever i ran up against a hurdle that i

didn't know didn't know how to like do the
thing i would just google it or ask my older

sisters oh oh the questions that i that i
have asked google

was there was there a moment of uh of culture
shock like after exiting that stands out to

you like specifically or i know i've like
asked you this in the live chat before and

i wonder i wanted to ask again in case like
you thought of anything i don't know if i

thought of anything really specific because
it was like every even seeing like even the

little things of like seeing uh a good christian
woman like swear like that was culture shock

like it didn't even have to be very a large
disparity for for it to feel like culture

shock um i did go i want to say a couple months
after i got my job i'm my first job i met

uh one of my co-workers uh in the course of
a conversation that we were having i learned

that she was in the bdsm community and i expressed
interest in that and then she took me literally

the same day to a munch which is where you
just where you just meet up in public and

talk there's like no it's not like a party
or anything intimidating it's just like meet

up with kinky people at ihop um and so and
i was all about the people that i met there

i was like these people all look so cool like
they seem so cool they're so friendly uh and

so i was like this is the place for me and
i think i went to like my first bdsm party

like three weeks later uh so talk about culture
shock that's awesome that's awesome i did

actually i wanted to ask um how was the bdsm
community like healing for you oh and i mean

for one it was just like instant community
like the kind of thing that you get when you

go to a church like you're new people greet
you like

it now that i've been in it long enough i
can see you know there's drama and there's

like there's problems with leadership and
all this like there it's it's messy just like

every community but at the time i was like
this is heaven like and well this also can

can lead to being in a vulnerable position
but when you are young and thin and feminine

looking you're gonna get a lot of attention
because you're basically the new the new shiny

thing um and but i was pretty good about boundaries
especially since i had come out as like very

gay i was like i am a lesbian and so any attention
that i unwanted attention that i got from

from dudes they they tended to be very polite
because i'd be like i am gay i do not i only

i am interested in like your vlogger but nothing
else and they would be like okay that is fine

uh and then we would just do because i didn't
even get into very many like sexual things

because i wasn't comfortable with that um
i mostly did like sado masochistic play for

years actually that was kind of um and that
and that was very healing for me it was i

don't know in in in more ways than i probably
could even realize there was the community

there was the the kink itself which can be
very cathartic because you can you can yell

and cry and just like feel intense emotions
in a space where it's very safe and acceptable

that you do so um you can connect with other
humans physically in a way that isn't scary

it's not like it doesn't feel the same as
like hooking up with someone there's not the

same kind of expectations or like anxiety
um and there's there's always the expectation

that you're gonna have constant communication
and you can withdraw your consent any time

like it's literally the opposite of purity
culture that i grew up with where i was not

told anything about my body even about puberty
i didn't know that puberty was gonna happen

it just happened i was told nothing um and
i accept that i shouldn't ever touch anybody

or even catch feelings for anybody unless
we were courting and our parents approved

of our courtship and we were planning on being
married and even then we shouldn't kiss until

we were literally married that was the expectation
that i grew up with with how i would have

relationships um and so to be in a space where
you could be completely naked and nobody around

you is actually freaking out about it because
it's not actually true that uh that men are

just beasts and can't control themselves and
will think all the naughty thoughts if they

can see your shoulders like these men i was
these men that i was meeting were the exact

opposite of what i was told that that men
are um and i'm sure they were glanced and

and approving or whatever but nobody nobody
was being creepy or aggressive to me and nobody

cared like it was because everyone else was
naked too like or close if they wanted to

be like it was it was literally like you do
whatever you are comfortable with um and you

get a say like in that community people ask
before they like hug you which is which is

amazing like the level of of consent that's
just the level of consent that is the norm

which again is the opposite of what even though
i was told nothing the kind of the feeling

that i got about sex which was mostly from
the bible which is the worst the worst sex

ed you could possibly get um i wanted to ask
about it yeah the absolutely the worst so

i got nothing but i read the bible diligently
because that i was required to do that every

day um and there's a there's a lot of sex
in the bible but unfortunately it's all rape

like every bit of it like women never consent
to anything i think even with now and i'm

thinking there's the uh the story of like
lot and his daughters i suppose the daughters

had agency there but they're still a rape
it's just they're raping their father instead

of the other way around for a change like
there's i don't know if you know that story

it's bonkers but um i've never read the i've
only ever read the new testament when i was

in ireland because it was in the drawer in
the in the b and b and i've never gotten through

the old testament so like everything you're
saying to me is like new information and i'm

just like oh my i know a few stories but there's
a there's a very odd story where uh a man

and his daughters have like they fled they
fled sodom and gomorrah you're probably familiar

with that that story or maybe the name of
it oh yeah a little bit is this is this does

someone get turned into salt yes they're they're
the mother of the family gets turned into

salt as they're running away um and so they're
yes because they were instructed to not look

back on the city and she does but they're
in a cave and they're just like surviving

because they're the city they were in is destroyed
and you're out in the middle of nowhere and

the the girls are like let's we're all alone
and where can we find husbands there's no

people here we should have kids and they like
get their dad drunk and sleep with him so

that they can have kids

and this is in a in a book that has always
been skipped when that story has been relayed

to me right it's not it's not in any of the
of the children's bibles but uh in in our

family it didn't matter how young you were
you had to read the bible every day and if

you couldn't read if you couldn't read because
you were that young you had to listen to the

bible on cassette tape i would literally fall
asleep listening to the bible listening to

these kinds of stories because the bible is
horribly violent and oh my gosh it was so

bad wow but the the kind of picture that i
formed in my like hormonal teenage brain because

my only source of sex ed was the bible was
that like men do things to women um often

to like much younger women so the

i didn't have any concept of like consent
or like mutual pleasure or enjoyment or any

of that um but i was uh had a very active
like fantasy life because i was a very i guess

horny teenager oh i mean i was like but i
was uh i was taught that that was a thing

that men were not women so i wasn't supposed
to have any desire and i definitely wasn't

supposed to uh look at other women i actually
didn't even know women could be gay until

i was like i don't know around 16 or 17 and
then i mean of course when i realized that

was a thing i was like am i that thing uh
but uh so all everything that i like fantasized

about was like older men doing things to me
without my consent and i i'm not alone in

this i've heard this from other other fundy
girls who would that was like a safe fantasy

for them to have because since they had no
agency or no choice it couldn't be a sin because

they weren't they weren't feeling pleasure
and they weren't choosing it so i like rape

fantasies are incredibly common from what
i've heard from other people at least the

people who who choose to speak about it um
and so to kind of spend your your teenage

years thinking that that is what relationships
are and then go to this completely different

consent focused community is just it was just
night and day

i'm glad that you found a community that's
so that has such a focus on boundaries and

consents and um and respect uh to that that
you that you found that so soon after exiting

is is really beautiful i'm so happy that you
had that in your life that's wonderful i think

yeah it was it was fortunate and also utah
has an incredibly uh i mean not right now

because of the plague but a very active community
and a rather large community considering like

the size of the state and everything because
the dominant religion of this state is also

very repressive and purity culture based and
everything and so you get a lot of uh of people

turning away from that and so you get you
get some uh some really intense subculture

here i had no idea but that makes perfect

i wanted to ask a little bit about um about
realizing that you were queer and uh and about

coming out and and what was that like uh with
the the way that you were raised and and kind

of yeah without what that process was yeah
so i think now i see people talk about this

messianic talk and uh and i find it hilarious
because this is exactly how it was for me

was when i started kind of i was very after
i learned that like the lgbt community existed

which i think was thanks to the internet i
was immediately like fascinated and i was

like oh i should learn more about this and
then i was like oh i i support this i'm i'm

an ally you know the way it goes and i'm just
like i'm an ally and i just really wanna learn

all that i can so i'm gonna watch every single
youtube video from every single queer creator

that i can possibly find um uh and it maybe
took a little too long to be like oh i'm so

into this and learning about this because
it's me [Laughter] i just really really support

all of these incredibly sexy people and question
none of that i like that process like yeah

so it was a slow realization because like
i said i i didn't know that women could be

gay for most of my life um one time i asked
my mom what homosexuality was because i think

i'd heard the term in like a sermon or something
and uh she said it was when two men pretend

to be married

so that's and then that was it no more discussion
uh so that's i think she said like that it

was bad but um but that's all i had was like
oh this is the thing that men do [Laughter]

and so i i came out when i was 19 and i'm
trying to just oh so this was after i had

left my mom's house for good yeah so i didn't
come out when i was uh when i was at my mom's

uh and i came out and i posted a a video on
facebook of me literally coming out of the

closet it was very cringe uh now but at the
time i was like i was like this is me and

i was so excited to kind of discover this
about myself and uh and i had already left

my mom's house and had let mentally left my
religion and was basically planning on leaving

behind everyone i had ever known and so i
was like this is a great way to get people

to leave my life cause if they hate queer
people and i like come out they're gonna like

call they're gonna like like i don't know
post something mean and then like block me

and it'll be and it'll be perfect um way for
me to get the trash to take itself out right

and it was it was just it was kind of my way
of just like starting my starting my new life

at the time i was unfortunately when my my
mom did lose custody of my younger siblings

and they moved in with my dad um and i hadn't
talked to my dad since i was 12 and so i was

like maybe i should reconnect with my dad
let's see what that is about and that's around

the same time that i came out and uh it that
didn't go so well yeah so so at this time

my my dad had custody of my siblings and i
was kind of interested to get to know my dad

and i didn't want to like hide anything from
him so i was like well let's just be my very

aggressively baby gay self and and he can
either like be okay with it or not and um

i i guess i didn't know why i expected anything
different uh i guess i was hoping for something

different but uh he never explicitly said
like you're bad or you're going to hell or

or even like you can't come over and see your
siblings he didn't explicitly say that but

uh he did say that i could not be alone with
my siblings and that i could not hug them

or like touch them in any way and then and
then i realized what he was implying that

i was somehow a child molester because i was
queer and then i literally had no desire to

see him ever again

and i haven't yeah and it's been about seven
years since then so and he had any even after

i kind of ghosted him he never texted me or
reached out to me ever again so that relationship

uh i think it's always been non-existent uh
but even even me trying to make it happen

uh did not go well

that that i can laugh about that's one of
the things that i do find kind of amusing

even though it's horrible uh that that i can
find humor in well and it's it's for the best

too like you you are authentically yourself
and you weren't you know like putting on a

mask to like that i think like

i'm like gonna say like some really unsolicited
[ __ ] right now but like i think like i

would figure that at that point in your life
that that was probably the healthiest decision

to be like who you truly were and even if
it didn't if it got like a ridiculous like

prejudice response that you know you you got
the honest answer about who he was and just

yeah like okay we're done here yeah for sure
yeah no i don't i don't regret it like it's

unfortunate that uh that that was the response
um but no i don't i don't regret it and i

don't i don't regret kind of cutting because
i just cut everyone out of my life that i

knew previously um and some of those people
have have now contacted me and we've kind

of reconnected uh especially people who have
just stumbled across my tick tocks and been

like hey i knew that girl oh and a lot of
them are great now and we're even pretty great

at the time and i probably could have trusted
them but um i i didn't know who to trust so

i kind of just just wrote off everybody i
was like i have new friends and a new life


how are how are you deconstructing and processing
all of this like there's so there's so much

how how are you what's what's your process
like like how what are you doing how are you

doing i mean there hasn't been much of a deliberate
process uh thus far the like memories and

stuff have come back very slowly uh probably
you know that that was my brain's way of of

helping me

because like them i was it was a a struggle
to like just live on my own for a while because

uh you know i hardly made any money living
with strangers i didn't have like a car or

health insurance like i i stole a lot of the
food that i ate like it was it was a a kind

of rough way to live and so in my my brain
was very focused on survival i didn't i didn't

have time for any like reminiscing uh but
now i am like comfortably married and like

live in a nice house and have cats and uh
it feels like such a luxury just to own cats

like and so my brain is like you're you're
too comfortable here's some [ __ ] um and

yeah i'll just stuff will just and i'm i've
been in therapy and i'm not in therapy right

now because it's too expensive sadly um man
so i'm not going about things very deliberately

or with professional help unfortunately but
uh i'm trying to take the little the little

bits that i learned when i was in therapy
and kind of take them with me um right now

i just i've really dived

words i have just dove dived i don't know
which one i really uh just plunged into memories

because uh because of tick-tock and i was
inspired by i just saw someone another girl's

video on instagram because i guess she posts
some in both places and she was talking about

growing up in a similar environment and i
was like wait are people because i knew that

there were blogs about it because those were
the ones that i'd read when i was 19. i was

like oh i know there are blogs about this
but now people are making videos and so i

got a tick tock account and uh i just made
i made like three videos and a lot of people

watched them and a lot of people had questions
and so i just kept answering their questions

and it just kind of got bigger and bigger
and bigger and now i don't even know what

to do because there's too many questions oh
it's almost at a stressful level of like people

who are watching but um

but the people who are commenting who have
who grew up similarly it's like so amazing

to find that community because it wasn't just
me and my crazy family like it was it was

awful cult leaders and so there of course
there were other people following the same

beliefs um and we've like now found each other
on tick tock and it's crazy um but even they

like remind me of stuff like oh this happened
to me and then i'll be like wait wait i remember

that it happened to me too like it's j it
feels like one cycle of like reminding each

other of stuff which i again i hope is helpful
um i i i think it's all it has been helpful

for me it's also been like it's been a lot
i'm not gonna lie it's a lot um it's very

overwhelming uh i've been kind of i mean i've
already already tend to be a little bit of

a recluse and now i'm like pandemic has like
forced me to be even more of one and so i've

been uh i've been anxious and i've been just
uh dealing with a lot of stuff mentally but

uh you know been doing the baths and the ice
cream and the weed the self-care things whatever

works i mean yeah yeah so i weirdly enough
just talking about things is helpful because

it almost it almo when you say them out when
you say stories out loud especially when you

repeat the stories out loud um kind of over
and over again as you get like similar questions

or whatever um you know it almost starts to
feel like a story like and feels disconnected

from you yeah and it removes that charge it's
instead of like just remembering something

in my own head and then like having really
strong emotions attached to it and i'm still

trying to figure out how this works i don't
i hope this is a healthy way to do it i don't

know if i'm recommending this to other people
i'm not a not a professional at all whatsoever

uh but it's yeah it it turns into a story
and like you can remember it and you can remember

the facts and you can kind of repeat the facts
but it starts to lose that like intense emotional

connection in in a way at least at least it
seems to have done for me um because yeah

now it it does feel disconnected like i have
like years of distance and that helps so you

can literally feel like it's like you were
another person back then because you kind

of were um so i've i have years of distance
uh but also i i think and hope that i'm building

up some like emotional distance as well um

yeah i don't know if if my focus is is entirely
like healing and moving on or or whatever

uh because at this point i have multiple goals
which are like to to relate to others and

help others and spread awareness and and some
of these goals are in conflict with each other

because i can't put out new memories every
single day on the internet and still stay

sane so uh so i need to you know realize when
i need to take a break um but this journey

of kind of being uh more like very public
with some of the things that have gone on

in my life are is has been has been overwhelmingly
positive even if there are uh you know trolls

[Music] there will always be trolls how do
you deal with them uh i mean recently on one

video that i knew was going to be kind of
contentious i said any unkind comment is getting

deleted and i had just deleted all the unkind
comments which uh that that before and sometimes

i'll i'll you know i i kind of have a method
now for disarming trolls and they're like

sarcasm is a great way to respond uh even
better if you can uh sarcastically quote the

bible if they're like if they're if they're
coming at you for like uh you know attacking

their religion or whatever uh oh and all the
disconnect between like oh man just i i will

always be always be amazed at the like i only
have you know one story i tell it one way

but the way people perceive it is going to
be wildly different depending on who they

are and how they perceive things uh so i get
at the same time a lot of people who are like

wow that's not real christianity your parents
were crazy so sorry or or whatever and then

and then other people were like how dare you
attack christianity and i'm like well i thought

you're your brethren here have claimed it
to not be christianity so either so make up

your mind guys is this or isn't it but i think
that's uh you know that's that's always been

the question of what is christianity that's
why we have all these denominations and sex

and cults going on um

i as as an outsider i just kind of like sit
back like watch it and i'm like i don't know

what's going on but you all are very mad at
each other oh oh no doubt no doubt i actually

actually was not i did not have very strong
feelings about christians one way or the other

uh before all this uh but the people who claim
to be the chris who claim to be christian

are the are the meanest online so potentially
if uh if you want to be a good witness for

your religion and your god uh you should probably
be the kindest person on the internet maybe

strive for that but i suppose if i am a lost
cause in their eyes then there's no point

in being kind to me because i'm going to hell
anyway that would have been my mindset at

least when i was back in in that world

i was in one of your lives and somebody showed
up and and said like some very like preachy

like condemnation things at you and my first
response was like a troll like should i defend

them like like should i like my fingers were
itchy i was like wait wait wait wait just

people handle trolls in their own way like
don't touch it don't touch it and you handled

it like in such an incredible way i was so
blown away because you you were like i actually

can't tell if this is a troll or not you said
like i can't tell if you're saying the things

like that that's how you were raised and you're
like repeating like acknowledging that it

was toxic or or if you're actually saying
those things to me like i don't i don't actually

know yeah which it's like crosstalk it's crossed
the line into like i can't tell if this is

sarcasm or or genuine because it's like repent
for your evil ways the the end is nigh i'm

just like this could be very easy

and i was like and then you were like i don't
even know if you're like i can't tell and

that like that statement right there was so
funny to me and i loved it i loved it i do

it's nice to especially in like a live environment
i know that like most people are there because

they want to to watch me or like support me
so if if a troll pops in by accident making

jokes about them is the best and then you
know if they continue you just block them

easy peasy i think people hop on because they
and tick tock sometimes just feeds you random

lives so i think people just see my face and
they feel the need to tell me about jesus

just because i look queer which is which i
always i was like that's weird that like or

or or be like you [ __ ] liberal or something
and i'm like but you don't follow me or know

me or is it just the haircut it's just the
haircut and ah and then and then it happened

to me in real life oh god ah i this happened
just like last week and i it was so upsetting

to me um like someone just came up to me in
a parking lot like a man came up to me in

a parking lot and i was alone like putting
my groceries in my car and he was like i just

want to tell you that that god loves you and
i could tell that like you've had issues in

the past like with your with your father like
he was he was bullshitting but like i said

yeah well no because i've like i used to like
be with groups of people who would do that

like like go to public places and just pretend
that you know something about somebody and

that that knowledge is coming from god and
it's god that's telling you to like speak

to this person that that's uh that's a a like
evangelizing tactic and i knew that but even

though i knew it and i had literally been
there at one point i didn't know how to respond

and i just got uh really upset and was like
i don't want to be unkind but i am not interested

and i and coming up to strangers like this
isn't very nice and i just like got in my

car and like like shook and had like a a big
ol like panic response um and then i as i

was driving home i was like it was because
of my hair wasn't it like i saw him in the

store like glancing at me and i didn't think
anything of it and then he's like waiting

for me in the parking lot i'm like he picked
me out because i look queer and this isn't

just like random people on the internet it
happens in [ __ ] real life and it just

made me feel very upset

i'm sorry geez like does that happen a lot
in utah no actually well yeah yes mormons

do it but at least the mormons wear like uniforms
so you know who they are and well the mormon

yeah you can see them coming the mormon missionaries
yes will will just randomly stop you and try

to get you into conversations about god that's
that's their whole thing that's their whole

job that's what they're there to do so yes
mormon missionaries will do that and i've

had that that kind of conversation but it's
less triggering for me to talk to a mormon

missionary because uh i didn't come from their
religion i don't have trauma based around

their religion um and they're literally like
kids like they're 19 year olds like and now

i've learned more about mormonism from tick
tock um they have like yeah like their mission

is their whole life for years they even have
like they have limited communication with

their own family like they're it's it's actually
and i don't want to talk a whole lot about

it because i don't want to say anything that's
not true but by accident but uh now that i

kind of understand where they're coming from
more i have a lot of compassion for them actually

because they're brainwashed if i may be so
blunt um yeah but but somebody who who i don't

know at all not identifying themselves as
a missionary just like that kind of just random

and and i've never known mormons to lead with
god loves you and i and god is telling me

something about you and i can tell that you've
had issues that that is an evangelical mindset

that reminds me of how i grew up that um i've
never heard a mormon missionary talk like

that so i i'm gonna go out on a limb and say
that this guy was not mormon um so that that's

not super common in utah because the uh the
mormons are the the dominant religion or the

lds church uh i suppose if i've offended them
by saying mormon too often uh too bad


you can have respect for individual people
but i don't have any respect for the the the

church as a whole the organization uh i think
that's like a good place to land to be honest

because like the the organizations themselves
are doing a lot of harm like and that i fall

the same way with countries like i can criticize
like i will criticize governments uh and uh

and that doesn't mean that everyone who lives
in that country is bad yeah and i think that's

sort of you know like the the organizations
the power structures um making that distinction

and then understanding that the people who
are you know subject to it uh are separate

uh in certain ways and then yeah so yeah or
organized religion and talking about it is

like a whole kettle of fish and i totally
understand it is you're you're gonna piss

somebody off no matter if you're if you're
too nice you might you might piss off a big

old atheist or if you're i mean even though
i technically am one because i don't believe

there's a god but i also don't uh don't feel
the need to uh make other people atheist as

well like i'm not i don't think that there's
one right way to be i think everyone should

you know decide for themselves what is best
for them um but that also that does include

everyone making a choice like as free-thinking
adults uh and that's not how most of us choose

religion most of us grow up in a religion
and we we either leave and maybe become agnostic

or atheist because that religion was toxic
to us or we we stay in that religion like

i it's more uncommon for someone to grow up
one way and then convert to a totally different

religion at least in in my experience um i
think i think if people grew up without religion

and then you know you're like you're 20 pick
a religion i don't think people would pick

religion [Laughter] yeah i come across a lot
of um uh like some of them call themselves

like recovering uh christians or like recovering
catholics in uh witchcraft and paganism so

much of that and and it's uh it's it's a very
different mindset and um and like a whole

different conversation and and people coming
from uh very different places than you know

maybe someone who was either like raised in
a in a pagan tradition or uh or came to it

with like an empty glass and like never having
you know like even really uh interacted with

any of like the the dominant culture stuff
you know besides the the just the fact that

we were all exposed to it to a certain degree
because like christianity is you know like

the the dominant religion in america but um
yeah it's it's it's interesting uh yeah

yeah i just uh have have more and more problems
as as time goes by and i read more sad stories

from people uh uh because something about
sharing your story is that other people share

theirs in response which is wonderful but
then can also be overwhelming uh the more

and more kids that i see who were who were
terrified of like biblical concepts or who

had nightmares who were afraid of you know
just any you pick your bible story and i've

had five comments from someone who is scared
of it um and it doesn't even have to be the

more like violent or like egregious stories
it could be a more more simple story that

they're still afraid of um i'm just like this
none of this is healthy why do we think that

this is good like

uh and i wish i wish we could disconnect like
an idea of like god and love and morals and

like i i think all of that is is great and
can be great um why do we have to connect

it with literally an an ancient collection
of texts full of violent history uh that's

something that like that scholars should should
study uh but not for little kids you know

yeah i love i love that you mentioned um like
morality um because when i we we have um a

family member and and her family who are extremely
catholic like very very catholic uh like my

my partner like grew up like boston irish
like catholic and he went to their house and

he was like oh they're like really catholic
like palm leaves on the you know like on the

then like pictures of the pope and of like
mother teresa and like uh you know and the

mother is like touched mother teresa's robes
and like it's like prayer circles before with

like the priest in the house before before
like christmas eve dinner like very catholic

and it was always uh a very strong culture
shock to me and i i remember like my mother

um saying that like as you know she and and
this family member were like raising their

children we and like our cousins were like
similar ages to us uh they would have like

mother-to-mother conversations and she said
that um that this family member was always

very concerned about the fact that my sister
and i were being raised with no religion because

in her mind it meant that we were that we
had no moral code that she was concerned that

we were being raised without morals or ethics
because in her mind religion was tied to morality

and like it was difficult for her to grasp
like no no i'm like i'm raising my kids with

a lot of morals very heavy on the moral code
lots of ethics lots like that it's possible

to have morality or ethics strong ones too
with no religion that you don't need religion

in order to be a good and moral person and
that was like never really like she never

understood and um at least not completely
uh even though she was reassured like i don't

think she ever fully believed it to the point
that like when i started practicing buddhism

even though it wasn't like christianity that
made her more comfortable because then it

was like maybe possible that like i had at
least i had some some morals like even if

they were strange to her i had some morals
in there and um and that was uh that was always

interesting and uh and it is something that
i come across quite a bit is is the the thought

from a religious people that people who have
no religion must not have any morals and i

have bumped up against this a lot yeah

i i feel like it's common to hear uh people
say like well without the bible we would all

without you know insert religion here without
this religion we would all be murdering each

other and we wouldn't know any better and
i'm like wait is that how you feel without

without you your god would you be murdering
right now because that's saying a lot about

you and that always kind of freaks me out
like if you would feel free to just murder

people uh except that your god said no uh
then [Music]

i know like that that says something about
you and it isn't good um and that's another

thing that kind of led me away from religion
was feeling like i had higher morals than

the god of the bible uh because the the god
of the bible could have explicitly said like

no slavery uh but he didn't he was like here's
how you should treat your slaves like decently

uh but you know it's it's you know positive
i suppose in a way if you're in a culture

where you treat your slaves terribly but maybe
have no slaves maybe that would be better

uh he could have said like uh don't don't
rape women women are great but he didn't in

fact he literally commands a lot of rape uh
and so i was like i i feel morally superior

to this this being that these stories are
about uh and you can't worship something that

you feel uh superior to that's not how it
works yeah no but you need god's god i'm good

i think i got it i got it and i know uh there's
a zillion responses people can have like oh

but that was like it was a different time
and like you forget the context and i'm like

that's that's fine i'm just saying there is
an absence of these very simple commands that

could have made the world a much better place
they're not they're not in there


so much could be said so much could be said
i know we're just trying to we're trying not

to get yelled at i know i know i'm not a bible
bible scholar i can't read in the original

hebrew or greek or all the languages uh i've
just someone who read it over and over and

over and over again

i'm always interested to hear about um like
the translation issues that have happened

uh like along the way of translating it from
not not just from the original hebrew um but

like mistranslations in that process and then
carrying over into um [Music] like every successive

language and and just all the misunderstandings
and then you have groups of people who are

like who want to take it literally who are
really into uh adhering to literally what

the bible says and aren't actually doing that
because of words not meaning what they think

they do and so it's uh it's it's interesting
yeah that's where that's where i was i've

spoken a little bit about how like my mother
interpreted this verse this way like the the

ver now i can't quote it anymore because uh
don't have it memorized like i used to because

i would have to memorize like verses and even
like whole chapters um but uh there's a verse

that says uh teach these things to your children
talk about them when you sit in your house

and when you lie down and when you get up
and when you walk along the way uh and it's

it's and my parents interpreted that as meaning
you every bit of the day must be filled with

religious instruction and you can't go to
school because how could every bit of your

day be filled with religious instruction if
you're at school so that verse was like a

big reason why we were so isolated and so
inundated with religious material and then

i talked about it on online and then a whole
lot of jewish people were in my comments being

like i can't believe that they misinterpreted
that that way that's not what it means at

all that's not what it means to me because
i guess that's a verse that uh the jewish

people are taught from a from a very young
age and it's and it means something totally

different it's just supposed to be like your
own personal like uh sense of like reverence

to god or whatever i may i may be i don't
want to mischaracterize someone else's belief

so my apologies if i've said something wrong
there but it doesn't mean keep your children

captive and feed them religious material 24
7. like that's not what it means to most people

um but when you you know it when you have
such a large book with such a variety of content

you could take any verse and make it say whatever
you want it to say it's not even one book

it's a it's just a collection of ancient history
and poetry and letters that some guy wrote

like well and a lot of a lot of different
guys well yes i was thinking of the apostle

paul he wrote a lot but yeah yes he did um
yeah and um yeah i i think um

yeah i like i i could go into like a whole
thing i'll like i'll i'll backtrack and say

none of what i was about to say and instead
just just say like how exciting it is that

that the internet exists and that we're all
able to connect and learn from each other

and like across across country lines and cultural
lines and religious lines and actually like

share information with each other and um and
just how beautiful that is like i like i'm

i'm 35 i remember a world before the internet
and uh and as as messy as everything is on

the whole i'm continuously excited um by the
connection that it has that it continues to

make possible oh yeah same here i would not
be where i am today with the amount of knowledge

and kind of view of the world that i have
now at all if it wasn't for the internet i

would probably still be in my tiny bubble
i probably had like four kids by now like

with some with some man that i was like halfway
arranged married to like i if if i didn't

have the means to like learn more i yeah i
would be stuck

oh hail the internet thank you great great
bringer of wisdom and misinformation misinformation

oh i say hello you're so snuggly yeah you're
like a tiny black hole and then your little

caramel eyes peer out at me you're so cute

i let my kitty in and he has fallen very very
fast asleep what a good i love to at one point

there was like a very sassy cat tail in the
frame oh really oh i missed it i loved it

i was all about it it was just sort of like
yeah yeah it was awesome i was just he has

a tendency to to cry for attention so i didn't
want that to happen but he's too sleepy i

guess it's a no bones day it's a no bones

they got the memo

awesome if anybody like knows any children
who are uh in cult situations how can people

best support or help them yeah so i again
not an expert but just someone who uh who

experienced stuff uh in in my life the most
helpful people were were the adults who took

notice of what was happening i feel like that's
step one is just be observant um and kind

of know the signs that someone might be in
a really restrictive or or abusive environment

um and if you are a very a different kind
of person and not in that environment that's

already a great sign because that means that
they know somebody outside of their environment

um and they know you uh and a lot of a lot
of these kind of insular cult teachings teach

that people outside the group are are somehow
bad or evil uh and so if you can be the most

like kind person to this to this kid it kind
it does just a little bit of deprogramming

each time is is realizing that like outsiders
are are good and kind because this outsider

is um more practically uh the the people who
helped me the most were people who stayed

friends with my parents even though they didn't
agree with them uh and that can be a really

hard thing and so i that might not be something
that everyone can do i i know i don't want

to go make friends with a funny parent um
but uh the the people who actually like stood

up to my parents and were like i don't know
exactly how the conversation went but i assume

something like you you really shouldn't do
this anymore or like i think this isn't great

we never saw those people again they were
just immediately cut out of our lives and

so they tried to help but they weren't able
to because they were just cut out uh and so

the people who helped more were people who
kind of played nice and pretended that they

were okay while still giving the kids like
attention and maybe a gift every now and then

or just like inviting the kids over to to
someone else's house and like seeing the way

someone else's live and i get it it can be
weird because like if you're an adult and

someone else is a child and like you can't
be like well come to my house child like so

it that can be difficult if my my it's easier
if a person has kids themselves honestly if

you have like little kids you can ask an older
kid to babysit your kids and that's not and

that's not weird and they can be in your house
and get to exist in a different space um then

their really restrictive environment they
can have time away they can earn money which

is a big a big source of freedom um is just
just having little bits of money um and if

you're maybe your kids are the same age like
your families can be friends that's that's

how a lot of people were able to help in little
ways was like our families our buds now and

and my kids are friends with your kids and
how about your kids come over for a sleepover

like uh stuff like that was really helpful
to me and just subtly opening my mind up to

to more and more things um i'm trying to think
of what else i said in the video it can be

really hard to help kids who who aren't 18
yet like that's it's really hard i think it's

important for kids to know that like that
someone is there for them like if like if

you ever need to talk about anything like
i'm here to talk i can you can but of course

you have to walk that line of not making it
creepy like you can't be like you can tell

me anything little girl like it's again yeah
don't don't go there it's it's i'm trying

to give practical advice but all i can think
of is like this is really hard like it can

be a hard thing to do to help someone once
someone turns 18 you have a lot more options

like the family who helped me literally like
be like hey you come live with me would you

like that i have a space for you or people
coming out of really restrictive environments

um might need help getting things like birth
certificates driver's licenses geds like and

all that stuff costs money too and so literally
just giving people money is extremely helpful

and transportation is a thing too like i didn't
have a car for years and it was hard to get

around on public transportation when i got
out um yeah there's there's a plethora of

things but it is i wish i had more suggestions
for for when kids are younger uh i guess my

my main thing is to just just be kind and
do whatever you can without alienating the

the family

thank you so much for talking about that because
it's um like i'm not an expert yet either

but it sounds like extremely good advice to
me and i think um like a a lot of us might

not have ever thought about it and uh and
if you find yourself in that situation i think

a lot of us would gravitate towards saying
something and then as you said now your opportunity

to help those kids has disappeared yeah yeah
and then there's also the kind of the opposite

reaction that we would get even more with
people we went to church with would just be

like oh well those guys are a little weird
but they're fine and kind of ignore us and

that's yeah that's not great either one time
i straight up heard from a youth pastor whose

literal job was to like you know minister
to the youths um well she told me if i i thought

if you guys needed help you would ask me and
i was so curflumixed by that because i was

like you're expecting kids to like have the
guts and the wherewithal to be like i am being

harmed in xyz ways no we don't know like we
don't even know what's happening to us as

it's happening we just know that we're sad
or scared or whatever but especially if we're

we're in a really kind of isolated space we
don't even know that what's going on with

us isn't normal yes yeah so i think that yeah
so i think that's a big thing is just ex letting

letting kids know in whatever fashion just
in in whatever subtle ways letting these kids

know that there are other environments in
other worlds out there um and they they can

have a different life if they if they want
to like in the in the future they don't have

to follow everything that they were brought
up with yeah

and just seeing that other other people who
live in different ways like maybe aren't evil

yes no 1 000 yeah that yeah yeah when you're
taught that like other other people are going

to hell or whatever that was a big thing with
my grandparents that i prayed for every night

because they were going to hell but they were
nothing but lovely to us wow and giving us

presents and money and opportunities while
never alienating my parents because they knew

that they would never see us again so they
they walked that line excellently they of

course they had kind of an in because they
were family and it's not creepy to to you

know hang out with your grandparents with
no other kids around but uh

yeah if you're a family member of someone
you have that extra in um of of not really

having to navigate that like being being a
creepy stranger who's interested in like hanging

out with kids uh because you're family uh
but yeah the best things that they did for

us were give us presents they gave us like
science books uh and money and uh we they

were on good enough terms that we got to visit
them every summer and they would take us to

the zoo and like museums and out to eat and
everything that we didn't get at home we got

to have just with a for for a week or two
with my grandparents and so that was and they

never talked we never talked about religion
never talked about like never asked us questions

about what's going on at home they never said
to my parents like well maybe kids should

be in school or like they never ever did that
at least to my knowledge they were just like

we love you we love you unconditionally we
think you would enjoy this and that and that

was enough to be a to be a big help and do
you have anything that you want to say to

the survivors that are that are listening
i j just knowing that you're not alone is

like is the most amazing thing it's kind of
also heartbreaking because you don't want

anyone else to have gone through similar things
but literally i feel like no one on earth

is unique anymore i mean we're unique but
like our experiences someone else has experienced

the same thing as you uh and

and at some point things start sounding like
tropes you know like you're valid and like

i don't want to say anything that that someone
has already heard repeatedly over and over

again but it i mean it's all it's all true
other other people like you exist other people

have survived and thrived and you can too
and you can also take it at your own pace

like i i don't think i've been extremely successful
in life so far i can't say that like yes i

have a phd now and i am ultra wise like i
struggle to get through every single day um

but that's okay too like a world and success
is yeah like what does that even mean i mean

yeah exactly some very intense conversations
and deconstructing and getting up in the morning

that yeah success is relative my success was
getting stable enough housing that i could

own a cat

is it is it nacho that's with you right now
yes yes it's nacho nacho is success

i guess honestly i i guess the advice that
i want isn't like you're valid you're not

alone the advice i want is kind of like don't
beat yourself up because you're struggling

if you're if you're struggling it's for a
reason it's it's because of trauma and so

it's it's okay to actually have crappy days
and not be able to function um [Music] because


just that it's okay like i always feel the
need to like succeed and achieve and go above

and beyond but that's really not necessary
like just just existing and reaching small

goals is perfectly fine

my goal is to just be happy most of the time
that's that's my only goal and whatever i

need to do to achieve that i just think what
would make me happy right now if i'm feeling

down what would make me happy right now is
it ice cream then i'm gonna go eat ice cream

and not restrict myself from ice cream do
i need to go on a walk like just kind of asking

myself what i need in a moment when i'm feeling
when i'm feeling poorly uh and i feel poorly

quite regularly but and there's no there's
no point at which i mean not that i've experienced

thus far there's no point at which you like
all all of it is behind me now the drama is

done i have checked the boxes and succeeded
it's it's like a big it's like it's like a

backpack full of bricks that you need to learn
to carry around uh and it sucks but there's

like little things you can do to maybe make
it a little lighter or lift weights and get

get stronger so it's easier to carry like
but it's always going to it's always going

to be there but you'll you'll think of it
less and less it'll bother you less and less

as as time goes on i would also recommend
therapy because you know do as i say and not

as i do

thank you that was that like that does need
to be said and thank you for saying it that

felt intense to say because i think i just
realized i'm just giving myself all the advice

that i wish i heard more that's there's a
lot of that going on in this podcast so like

there's a lot of it going on on like on all
sides the first thing i thought of was like

you're valid and you're not alone but i'm
like that's not what like gets to me anymore

or what i need to hear anymore i need to hear
that it's okay if if if every evening you

come home and kind of lay in a puddle and
achieve like one or two things like that's


yeah it's yeah i'm i'm still like trying to
wrap my head around that as well as is like

hey this is an okay amount like you you are
not a failure because you're traumatized like

you're you're healing and you're not worthless
because you can't you know do the things that

maybe other people can do easily like and
there's so much intersection with like being

neurodivergent as well and it's just

so much fun

but the whatever whatever way you can manage
to live and find some joy is okay but yeah

whatever you don't have to live up to anybody's
expectations even even i put on like like

a a good face and like i only make tick tock
videos when i'm feeling my best like most

most of the rest of the time i'm not all like
coherent and thoughtful and like whatever

i app or skilled or whatever i appear to be
is like a small sliver of me a lot of the

time i am like sad and hugging my cat there's
uh i i relate to that especially with the

podcast like the um the next episode that
comes out will probably be the first episode

and i think over a month at this point um
because i just all of a sudden was like oops

can't do the thing i didn't know this was
coming but here we go can't do the thing that's

a huge undertaking and project like i can't
imagine like i people every now and then have

been like you should do youtube you should
have a podcast and i'm like that's i'm not

gonna edit like a half hour long video holy
crap that's so much effort like i can do two

minutes stop it's a lot of work like i spend
hours and hours editing and at one point like

during the pandemic i was doing an episode
a week uh wowzer this is gonna be a nightmare

to edit i'm sorry this well i'm gonna have
to learn to edit video because like i have

video interviews that are like backed up that
i haven't edited so i taught myself audio

editing in order to do that i taught myself
everything to do the podcast like i had no

idea what i was doing and was just like i'm
gonna do this and it was like okay um and

i had never done any audio editing and just
figured it out and now i'm gonna have to just

teach myself video editing um so that'll be
fun but and i so appreciate you um yeah joining

me and uh and sharing so so much of your story
and so much of yourself and it it means a

lot to me like i'm so beyond thrilled i was
so nervous reaching out to you and i'm like

so excited that you were willing to join me
thank you well it's it's really amazing for

me to just feel like people out there care
and i i don't know i this feels very special

for for me too

well i just feel like i just feel like one
one little one little person out here but

if i can if i can talk and and anyone else
out there feels

can relate or feels understood or seen or
or informed or entertained or whatever if

anyone else feels anything then like then
i feel like i've been successful that's exactly

how i feel and and exactly why i started doing
this so thank you thank you for for being

a part of it and joining me and um and i hope
that literally everyone who listens to this

episode goes and visits your tech talk um
because it's incredible so thank you half

of it is just

thank you and also half of it is just silly
memes so don't expect it to all be serious

that's like half of how people communicate
now so i think that's a good thing and also

like laughter is such an important part of
healing trauma and and it's a part of it that

i i feel doesn't get talked about enough so
i'm like i don't i i'm like really down with

silly memes i'm really i i love me some some
joking about trauma like humor is great [Laughter]

i should have mentioned that earlier to uh
to fellow survivors if humor is your thing

make jokes about it i don't know that's my
particular coping mechanism it's mine too

dark humor yay hi ho join me

yeah so this is so this has been wonderful
and thank you so much for joining me thank

you so much for having me i'm so glad you
reached out i'm so happy you answered

thank you your heart is a muscle size of your
fist keep on loving keep on fighting and hold

on and hold on hold on for your life for your


keep on life

and hold on

[Music] [Laughter] i was like fake fake end

all right let me let me hit stop

AnnaProfile Photo


Content Creator

Anna grew up in a fundamentalist Christian family as part of the Quiverfull movement. She and her six siblings were not allowed to attend school and were very isolated from the outside world. Everything about her childhood was strictly controlled, from the clothes she wore to the media she had access to. She was expected to teach herself from primarily religious texts as well as teaching and caring for the younger children. Her future was laid out for her as a submissive wife and mother to many children.
She left at 19 with help from family, starting life in a very unfamiliar world with little education was daunting but also thrilling. Seven years later she's still sifting through memories. She makes videos on TikTok recounting her experiences, and has found that many other folks grew up in similar circumstances. Many kids are undoubtedly still in that situation and Anna hopes she can raise awareness and play a part in helping others.