An angry essay from an anonymous Assembly kid, first posted on a blog on November 23, 2004. "Let me open it up and listen in and scoop out the dark." --Anne Sexton
I have this dream where I kill George.
But only after I've taken over his mind and made him do and feel all the things he made us do and feel. I steal his stolen money, of course, and send people to college, since as soon as people like my brother realize that it is okay to think, they will probably do it.
But he will live in poverty.
Also, I make him believe that his skin color and genitalia and sexuality mean that he has to do everything that everyone else says, and anything that happens is his fault and that if it's not, he should take blame for it anyway. That way, maybe God will forgive him for being what God made him.
There would be a running, public commentary about his body, since it doesn't belong to him. Rather, it belongs to God, and since he is more sinful that the rest of the community (by virtue of his skin, penis, and sexuality) it is up to the community to make sure he is not sinning. He has to cover himself up so that people will forget he is there; wear shorts and a t-shirt while swimming and refrain from carrying bags across his chest, as these things can stumble those who have more of a right to live than he.
If someone says things to him that make him feel dirty and worthless, he should demur politely, because he brought those things on himself. If that makes him unable to cope in junior high or in the workplace, he isn't praying hard enough.
If he lets a smelly white boy press his penis against his back and touch his hips because he doesn't know what to do; if he lets men whistle at him on the street and ignores requests for a phone number with nothing but a frightened giggle; if he wears too tight clothes and too much make-up, invoking the wrath of the community, because he thinks the attention it earns makes him worthy of living; if he spends three hours in the bathroom every morning before school picking at his face to make it perfect.
If he gets bloody noses because people don't like him; if he lets his middle-aged manager pull him onto his lap while inquiring whether or not he has a boyfriend yet; if he lies; if he lets that other white boy into his house where this boy spends the whole night trying to convince him to sit next to him on the couch and trying to think of an excuse to touch him; if that same white boy four years before had commented on his opinion of him in a bathing suit--it is all his fault.
If he spends his entire life forgetting, it is his fault. If he never learns how to think, if he throws up after every meal, if he hangs himself on the tree behind his house, if he disowns or is disowned by his family, if he lets his spouse hit him and control him and if he has seven children and no friends, if he judges and spurns or is spurned by his peers, if he makes up sins just so that he can confess them and feel like the time spent talking about himself validates his existence, if he wears a doily on his head and sits for hours in lecture halls, moldy storefronts and hotel meeting rooms, it is his fault.
That girl whose dad walks into her room while she's changing, those girls who weigh 93 pounds, those boys who take, those girls who attack, those women who hate, those men who watch the door, he will be them and live them--all of them, consecutively, but only the bad parts.
And then, after a billion years, I will kill him in a hotel room and dump the body in a swamp.
Comments from readers....
February 20, 2007, Mark Campbell: I don't know if I my comments to this anonymous AK will make any sense. Also I'm not sure that I understand all of what she has said, but the great pain she feels comes across. I'd love to be able to bring her some consolation, some comfort, or some ray of hope, but I don't know where to begin. Everything I will say (if it includes a Christian idea) will only remind her of the place where she was abused!
Someone, no doubt, would try to tell her not to be so angry, so vengeful, so cynical, nor try to make all Christians like GG and company. Good luck! How does one rid oneself of this kind of painful memories? How does one escape this kind of anger?
This story of her's is proof of the damage inflicted by the evil GG created in the Assembly. It would have been better that this child grew up in a non-religious environment instead of the terribly false "holy" climate of the GG group!
I pray with all my heart that this dear former AK would find healing in the knowledge of Him who is nothing like GG, his leading bros., watching door brothers, or other male types seeking to take advantage of a young girl's innocence!
Author's response to Mark: Thanks so much for your concern. I just wanted to write to let you know that I am feeling much healthier these days than when I wrote that piece. It was very cathartic at the time that I wrote it, and the violence of my anger was very real. It's for that reason that I think it's important to include on the Assembly website - I haven't really encountered any expressions of anger this intense, and I know others have felt this strongly. I hope that by seeing my response, it will make it okay for them to acknowledge or embrace their own feelings as legitimate if they haven't been able to.
I also think it's important for the people who think that the Assembly was sort of a minor problem to understand how much pain it has caused.
Anyway, again, I mostly wanted to assure you that I am doing very well these days. I've put a lot of work into reconstructing a life for myself, and I think I've been successful. I'm looking forward to graduating from a prestigious college with more than a respectable GPA. I plan to take a year off and travel a little. I'm happier and stronger than I've ever been, and that's saying something.
Author's further comments: I don't want my piece to be a horrible trigger for anyone. I just think it's important that people see how angry and hurt some of us were and maybe still are.
The piece was originally a blog entry, so I have a couple of other mediating comments that someone might be interested in. I have enclosed them below. The bracketed words replace information that would identify individuals or locations.
Posted by another anonymous AK on November 23, 2004: He bought me a book, John Adams, because it 'articulated vision', after we had [breakfast] together one rainy morning. I missed school that morning, because of being indoctrinated by a man who would later report to my dad that I needed to be watched carefully because I 'thought too much' and if my parents weren't careful they would 'lose me.' He probably bought that book with money he indirectly stole from my family. Apparently mornings such as this were more important than getting an education. Rightfully so, I would end up a house-wife anyway, right?
When I think about George and the cult, [the boy who died] and [the girl whose parents wouldn't talk to her] and [the girl] with her eating disorder and [her brother] who knew and didn't care, it all makes me sick to my stomach. I can feel myself filling with hate and its a terrible sensation.
I'm sorry you suffered so much.
Author: No more than you. Thank you.
I think it has condensed to anger now. He doesn't have an identifiable person-ness to me, since he was in essence a manipulator and a con man and an empty, nothing man. He is everyone else, and the things he has caused, and this sort of collective pain. So I don't hate him, because I can't find 'him.' But I am very angry, and I want it named and known.