Broken Daughters

Picking up the shattered glass of fundamentalism

Spring and regret


The flu is going around right now and of course it feels like I caught it. I’m coughing, shivering and my ears feel somewhat infected. Oh well, I suppose it could be much worse, because I feel surprisingly fit. But because today is a “sick day”, I will try to catch up on some writing – something I really neglected lately.

Yesterday was somewhat of a down-day for me. I had talked to my mother and felt somehow weird after that. Not because she’d said anything mean really, we were chit-chatting for the most part. In fundamentalist circles, most news revolve around who’s courting, getting married, having a baby or opening a home business.

There are plenty of news really, the biggest being that my brother and his wife are expecting. This was only a mild surprise by now really, because they had gotten married last summer and that’s really a long time to wait for the good news in fundie-circles. His wife is only three months along, so there are no details as to gender etc! I’m excited for them – I know this was something specifically his wife had wished for and I think he’s very proud too (I didn’t talk to him personally yet).

There’s also a bunch of other news – You know the Wilfried’s oldest? He’s courting that Singer’s girl now. No, not the blonde, the red one. Anna, I think – and Max and Mary, old Smith’s daughter and the Brough’s boy, they’re having their second –  and so on.

I guess spring isn’t just a season of love in the normal world.

I don’t think Mom told me all these things to hurt me – to be honest, there really isn’t much else to talk about. She didn’t think any of it. She didn’t mean to rub anything in my face. She also asked a lot of questions about my studies – how it’s going, how I’m doing (grades not sent out yet! No idea!) and all that. She remarked that it would be good to have a lawyer in the family, in case they ever ran into problems. I smiled at that and remarked that the laws I study aren’t American laws, and while many are similar, I wouldn’t dare to help out in such a case because there are still very many laws that differ from our laws here. Just think of public nudity!

Afterwards I started thinking. You know. I’m sitting here, sipping my coffee, staring out the window. We had new snow just yesterday. My birthday’s coming up soon.

I don’t feel like I achieved much. To be honest, sometimes I doubt I’m in the right place. Sometimes I regret leaving. I think of the life ahead of me and wonder if that’s really what I wanted all along.

If you’re raised to believe that responsibility is not for women, it’s hard to imagine a life in which you’re fully responsible for everything you do. Every bad choice and decision can’t be blamed on your Dad, your husband or even God.

I keep wondering if it wouldn’t have been better to have married back then. Where would I be now? Would I sit with Anna and Mary, gossiping about diapers and housekeeping? Would I read recipes on the internet and pin crafty stuff on pintrest? Would I hug the little blonde girl who cries for me when she scraped her knee? Would I spend the evenings quiet and cosy, knitting stuff while my husband reads the bible to me? Wouldn’t I be happy to be cared for and live my life quietly until the day I die?

I think I would. Sometimes I feel that parallel universes really exist. It feels like there is only a thin veil through which I can sometimes get glimpses of the other side. But here’s the thing: You can’t change sides. Decisions made, your call. There’s no turning back now, only the responsibility you have to carry all by yourself.

Well. But then again – behind my occasional yearning for the known, the safe, that which I have been taught to believe in and considering good and honest – I remember TS Eliot:

This is the way the world ends

Not with a bang but a whimper.

Wouldn’t I be whimpering all the time? I think I would. Nope, I think I’m going to prove Eliot wrong. The world doesn’t have to end with a whimper – but you yourself have to make it bang.

Back to my coffee. Even if this doesn’t work out the way I wished, even if everything ends up completely different from I could expect, there’s still the certainty that people rarely regret the things they do, most often, they regret those which they didn’t do (that’s a quote too, but I don’t know by whom).

7 thoughts on “Spring and regret

  1. I guess my experience with the fundamentalist lifestyle was so bad that I never get those pulls to have lived it. In fact, I get pulls that maybe I settled for the ordinary too much in my life and maybe I should have shook it up more, gone a little more extreme, not settled down for “normal” as much. People have all these stories of single life hijinks and I don’t know what that’s about. When people ask me when I want kids I have a weird feeling about it. The truth is I never want to be one of those ladies discussing diapers and other people’s relationships. I swore to myself at a young age that I never would be. I think it’s hard to find balance after being raised this way. Your baseline settings get skewed and it impacts so many things.

    • I feel very similar about kids and being “one of those ladies”. Once I told my boyfriend in a VERY harsh voice that he should prepare to take care of the kids and stay at home, cause I sure as hell wouldn’t waste my life doing it. A very unfair statement but there are moments where you just blurt out feelings of being forced into a role you don’t want to be in, and in such a way that you reject it completely.

  2. I know exactly what you mean. I have definitely done that too and he has just looked confused. I have such mixed feelings about the whole concept of motherhood I think. For most of my childhood I thought I didn’t even want kids but now I know I like kids but pregnancy and the idea of actually being a mother freaks me out. I know I am not ready yet, that is for sure. Then again I’ll be 30 in a few months and there is also the concept of a biological timeline to work with. It is all rather difficult stuff to consider. After all, I swore I’d rather die than live like my mother and so I think I rejected a number of good things about being a Mom in all that mess. I just saw the whole thing as bad. I sometimes wonder how I’d feel about it all if motherhood and gender roles had not been used in my childhood as some tool to supposedly conquer women and beat me over the head with and if I could possibly get to such a place.

    • I know how you feel even though I’m 5 years younger. I remember my parents and family friends going on and on and on about how important it is for women to have children very early because it will keep you healthy – not having kids until your thirties was supposed to be the most important reason for breast cancer, depression and the like. So right now, I’m extremely mixed between fearing sickness and knowing that I’m not anywhere near ready to have kids. I’m not even sure if what they told me is medically correct and to be honest, I’m too afraid to look into it because I fear they might have been right.
      I have that with a lot of things, it’s a very black and white way of thinking – on one hand, I fall back into extreme christian patterns, and then again I reject them completely, no matter if it’s actually good things.

      • My relatives tried to scare me into dating and marriage for health reasons. According to them, I should have reproduced by age 25 for the health benefits. I guess I’ll have to chance it.

        • Oh yes. You’ll get breast cancer. You’ll be depressive. You will have all sorts of illnesses. And then you will die alone (and probably go to hell). Been there, done that, bought the t-shirt.

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