Sunday, May 22, 2016

The Do-Rag Blues

 I got up this morning and went to church. Jim is out of town taking an international teaching certification towards being able to teach English anywhere in the world, so it was on me to go in and make sure the offering counter team was there and doing their job smoothly.

Didn't really want to do this considering the fact I'm still dealing with sorrow and grief. But it has to happen. I know this is a small town and there's already been some gossip about our situation, but I held my head high and just dared anyone to ask me what was going on. Mega resting bitch face.

Shortly after arriving I found out that not all of the counters were there, the ones that were there didn't have the combination to the safe, couldn't get the check reader to work and assorted other problems. After helping out I sat back and observed how they were doing it and had to point out there was a reason it was taking this group five hours instead of the ninety minutes. I can see I'm going to have to update the rules and put out a best practices manual for the team. No one is following any of the outlined procedures.

But it turned out it was a good thing I had to spend the entire service in the office overseeing the offering counting from all three services. Why? Because one of the nastier people from my old church was there at the service I usually attend and help out with the service and worship. Ironically this is someone that aligned herself with Cathy, the lady that is dying of cancer who was a former close friend of mine.

Let me back up. At my old church once many of us started fooling with the Toronto Revival it caused a nasty split in the church that wasn't fully done till two years after I left, seven years ago. The lady that spearheaded the beginnings of the split was named Annie. Annie was a home-birthing, home-schooling, home-business, quiverfull mama, who took an extreme dislike to Toronto and all of us that were involved. She pushed our pastor to make all women in the church stop cutting their hair, wear headcoverings all the time and her biggest demand was that everyone in the church who had been divorced be ordered to leave. That's after the church cut off all contact with the Toronto teachings and discipline those of us going back and forth to Toronto.

Annie was on a tear, slinging mud at everyone not supporting her demands while she stormed around with her butt-length braids covered by a scarf folded and tied in a style I've seen many African-Americans wear and call a do-rag. From that moment on I dubbed her 'Do-Rag Head' in my mind I was so irked with her. One of her and her buddies habits was to leave notes tucked up under the windshield wipers of those members who'd been previously married and divorced. What did the notes say? Demands for us to stay the heck away from that church.

Eventually the pastor ran Annie and pals off from the church and the last I heard she had attempted to join the local Mennonite church. They rejected her. Like I said, this is a small community and people talk. Her reputation preceded her as a church hopping trouble maker.

Annie, Cathy and Janice were the three ganged up against everyone else in the old church. The thing that all three had in common besides head coverings is that all three were very unhappy in their marriages. Annie was married to a guy who was a hard core alcoholic. The first time I met him he was mooning the lot of us at a church picnic.

So this morning Annie shows up at the mainstream church I'm a member of now, a church she, Cathy and Janice said was filled with homo-loving abortionists going to hell. I'm not sure why.

These more hateful folks from the past just keep popping up like weeds in a garden after a rain. I'm working on trying to forgive them and the ability to treat them with something like politeness. But it's not going to be today. Today I shrank back and faded into the crowd rather than have any interactions with Annie. I hope she's either greatly changed or moves on. She's still wearing her do-rag headcovering.

Shell Shocked

It's been a crazy week here. I've wept copious amounts of tears. I'd wake up crying, cry myself to sleep. I'd even cry while I was eating, shoving in the food while the tears flow.

Why? It's a long story that I am going to condense down to saying that Jim did something stupid/quasi illegal at one of his part time jobs and was fired. There was an investigation. It was something I never would have considered so I've been struggling with it hard.

He's broken. I'm broken and we're struggling. Since this happened on Tuesday it's been like someone socked me hard in the gut, an actual physical pain in my body. For the first few days I didn't get dressed, didn't shower and didn't comb my hair. I only remembered to eat when I'd get very sick to my stomach and think 'oh yeah, perhaps I should eat something'

I've taken action and we've come up with a list of things he must change. He's agreed, and yes, there will be marriage counseling galore starting this week. He knows it is over if change does not take place.

But one of the worst parts of this entire ordeal is several local old friends that I confided in while I was still in shock made my life a living hell by the constant phone calls, text messaging and private messages on Facebook. I was shaking and in shock and being constantly yammered at. Hearing them putting down my husband of 30 years was counter-productive. I can be angry and call him names, but having others around me doing the same just added to the hurt of what was going on.

Plus I could not think, I was trying to sort my thoughts and process what happened while others were constantly talking at me. One of them, someone still involved in the kind of religion I left, insisted we go for 'deliverance ministry', insisting that Jim had demons.

Demons? I wanted to laugh and cry. Such complete and utter bullshit! Very very unhelpful to hear when you're going through a crisis! I've always said that Satan didn't need to do a damn thing to make us stumble because we humans are perfectly capable of screwing up mightily on our own.

It is what it is. I've pulled up my big girls panties and am dealing with this as best I can. No 'demons' and I have turned off the phone and Facebook to silence the voices making this time harder.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Pissed Off...

... here we are again, listening to True Christians bloviate and be distracted by issues that do not really matter.

Last night I had to sit through a committee meeting at church and towards the end one of the more fundy-like participants went into a positive meltdown demanding that the pastor preach from the pulpit against the transgender restroom policy that Obama has spoken of. Allowing students to use the restroom of the gender they identify as.

The scary thing to me is that she was completely over-the-top unhinged about the possibility of this happening in our local schools and wants it stopped immediately. She doesn't give a rats ass about things that we should be outraged over, like the large homeless population here near DC, the hunger in the working poor that's so insane right now that the local food pantry routinely has to close because they run out of supplies. She's not concerned with the falling educational levels among our young people, the crippling student loan debt, the shrinking middle class or those that exploit anyone without a safety net of money. Or those poor folks leaving the bombed out pile of nothing that is Syria. She chooses to be outraged over this instead!

It's a prime example of Christian head in the sand thinking in the face of real problems. Find something petty to verklempt over so you don't have to face the real serious issues going on around you. Never mind that cops are killing anyone that gets in their way. Never mind the children being abused. Never mind the fact that this election is going to boil down to holding your nose and voting for the lesser weevel, err... evil.

But see.. here's the thing about this whole transgender restroom issue in several salient points..

1. Transgendered people aren't a new trendy thing that just popped up, like idiots that decide suddenly to go on gluten free diets without having a reason to, or those obnoxious kids creating hazards for anyone that walks with their silly Wheelie shoes. Transgendered people have always existed and no, usually it's not some sort of 'choice' blithely made like trying to pick out a flavor of gum, or an outfit for a date.

I know not everyone grows up around people who are transgendered. I grew up in South Louisiana and had seen my share of both transgendered people and cross-dressers before I was legally old enough to drink from Louisiana's ubiquitous drive thru daiquiri stands. They were just part of the landscape of Louisiana and I never gave it much thought, at least not until I got to know very well two different transgendered people. One I went to high school with, one I encountered later.

Oddly enough both had the first name of Blaine and were raised male before undergoing gender reassignment surgery. Actually, I don't think of it as a 'gender reassignment' so much as a correction of something that should have been handled at birth. Both were born with parts of both sexes and both sets of parents were told that they had to decide what gender they wanted their newborn to be and that appropriate medical steps needed to be taken, surgeries and hormone therapy. Both sets of parents decided to raise their children as male, yet do none of the recommended medical procedures or hormone therapy.

Both Blaines grew up feeling that they were the wrong sex, that they should have been female. After a long journey filled with struggles and self doubt both Blaines started living as women and ended up getting the corrective surgery and hormones they should have received as newborns.

Neither of them 'chose' this, it chose them. Plus even before the surgeries I seriously doubt anyone could have told the difference between either of them and a natural born women in a public restroom.

It has nothing to do with perversion or picking a sexuality. It was who they are. Which leads to my next point.

2. Likely you've been sharing public restrooms with transgendered folks for years and not known it at all. Where do you think they've been peeing for years now? In the bushes by the side of the interstate? Nope, the same places you go when the need strikes.

3. Statistics prove that you are much more likely to be assaulted or molested by a straight white Christian male than by either a cross-dresser or a transgendered person in a public restroom. Going to the bathroom to relieve yourself has nothing to do with sex or any sort of hookup! Unlike what fundamentalists think not everything in this world is related to sex. Non-fundamentalists don't obsess about sex all day long, unless they are an adolescent dealing with raging hormones. Mature people don't.

But the big thing for me is that it does not matter a hill of beans in the long run. One of the symptoms of my completely wacked out immune system besides my asthma is that I also have ulcerative colitis, UC/IBS. Remember all those commercials for drugs for UC where some fretful worried looking person is twisting around in their airplane seat or walking around the mall scared and worried over how far they are from the restroom? That's a reality for UC sufferers. When you're having a flare you may have only a very short period of time to get to the restroom or crap your pants.

Through the years dealing with flares I can tell you I've crashed the men's room when needs be, once recently when I was at the Fredericksburg Mall the same day that Ben Carson was appearing. Something happened and they had to close the ladies room, funneling all the women into using a single family restroom that had an elderly lady in there for twenty five minutes. Eventually myself and a handful of other ladies crashed the mens room because our needs were urgent. Yes, there were startled looks from the guys pissing at the urinals as about five of us entered and walked past them to the 10 unoccupied stalls just beyond them. But, hey, when you gotta go, you gotta go, no matter who is there.

I've had to resort to the men's room a number of times now, and if I'm lucky it's not only unoccupied, but Jim will hold the door and shoo off any men trying to enter.

Will my pastor speak about transgender bathroom issues from the pulpit after this lady's nonsense? I doubt it. One thing I like about my friendly Methodist minister is that he stays out of political and cultural nonsense, allowing everyone to have whatever personal stance they like.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

What's With the Attitude?

Originally I sat down this morning to talk about the absolutely awesome open house I attended yesterday at the local exotic bird sanctuary run by my son's girlfriend's brother. You know me and parrots. I satisfied my urge to play with big birds, saw some odd things on the drive like a run over vulture, a tiny home made from a train caboose and some rather odd looking rural churches.

But just like Suri routing me through a million backroads on the drive to the bird rescue organization so I got sidetracked this very the wife of hate-spewing pastor Steven Anderson of known hate group Faithful Word Baptist Church.

Think I'm joking about the hate group? The Southern Poverty Law Center lists Faithful Word as a hate group on their site. Hate is preached from the pulpit and Anderson tries to incite his folks to violence.

His wife Zsuzsanna is someone I've always felt sorry for. I started reading her blog because of my involvement with No Longer Quivering. She always struck me as someone almost tricked into the Quiverfull life style by her husband, the missionary that wooed her in Germany before marrying her and bringing her to the states. I often wonder how much she knew or understood about QF before hooking up with Steven. I have a hard time believing she was even remotely that hateful before becoming trapped in the life style after marriage. Germany, well really a lot of Europe, is considerably more enlightened and liberal than anything or anyone involved with either QF, IFB or the Men's Rights movement.

She went from a liberal, tolerant, educated society to isolation in a hate group. That's enough to warp anyone. We all know that women in that type of cult situation have no means of escape, life choices, or personal autonomy.

Which is unfortunate because with some of the mad skills that Zsuzsanna has she could have been just about anything she envisioned being. I mean, all you have to do is look at her organizational skills and making something from almost nothing and see this isn't a stupid woman that could not cope with the real world. She's resourceful, I'll give her that. I'm frequently impressed by how she manages to raise her family in that very tiny house without much of an income. She's unstoppable and there are some admirable things about the way she runs the household.

But one thing her years with uber fundy husband Steven has robbed her of one thing, any empathy, mercy or understanding of those not in their little hate circle-jerk of a church. This morning I ran across this - Zsuzsanna's rant about a catalog store that sells things to making parenting just a little bit easier. 

Granted, I agree with her assessment of how silly a baby-crying electronic translator is, for Zsu and for me.... but not for some folks. I am sure there are nervous first time parents out there that would find using the translator very comforting. It's obviously not for everyone.

I went onto the company's website and started poking around looking at the products after reading all of what Zsu said about how she thinks baby-proofing a home and all of their products are ridiculous, that you can train a child not to do things that will harm them. The site and product line isn't wholly absurdist - many of the things they sell are very helpful things, from chore charts to furniture with compartments to help a younger child to be more organized. I would have thought she would have loved the organizing items. I know I did. In fact, after looking at the allergy and asthma section I'm going to order one of their humidifier since mine kicked the bucket recently.

Which led me to start thinking. What is it about the useful things sold by the One Step Ahead company that Zsu is developing this hateful mocking attitude of superiority about? What's driving that crazy bus with four flat tires and no horn?

At first I thought that it might be that the company was some sort of threat to her modest swimsuit cottage industry, but no, while they sell a full line of rash guards and swimwear there's nothing that would be even close to what Zsu is selling.

But the more I consider it I think it's mostly because it doesn't line up with her personal parenting thoughts. No matter how wrong or right they may be Zsu does what so many fundamentalists do, insist it's their way only. Everything must be in lockstep conformity or else.

You know what? That 'or else' isn't the end of the world, hell, it might even be the beginning of freedom, freedom to have an adventure, to plot a course that veers from the norm and takes you somewhere better than you ever could imagine.

They fear the 'or else' because it's unknown and involves giving up a big measure of control. Not me, I'm learning to embrace it even if there were a few hairy moment yesterday when I was on backroads that looked like they might lead to nowhere.

Fear drives some very nasty negative attitudes and really, what is there to be truly afraid of? No much. If I wave a magic wand and could miraculously do one thing for the Zsuzsannas of this world it would be to remove all that fear.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

If the Grass Grows, You Gotta Mows

Earlier today I received my copy of Vaughn Ohlman's book 'What Are You Doing?' in the mail and started reading it with a mind towards doing a review for NLQ. There's just one problem, I cannot stop LAUGHING at the sheer awfulness of it all.

And for me to say it's awful it's beyond bad considering in the recent past I read a book written about the time of King Henry's court in Valley Girl speak, a book about banging astronauts on Cape Canaveral that seemed to be written by a 12 year old and a Southern memoir penned by someone who was obviously filled with liquor, regrets and a third grade reading/writing ability. Me, the queen of rambling run on sentences recognizing the awful is pretty low, I admit it. 

Yes, I have picked up some bad writing habits at various newspapers and organizations. But not like this.

The entire book is laid out almost in television or movie script form, with a paragraph setting the scene and then characters speaking out. Too bad this is supposed to be serious because most of the dialogue is stilted, forced, unnatural and not very interesting. It reads like a rejected 'Saturday Night Live' or 'Key and Peel' script on the horrors of why you must stay celibate.

It's going to be so hard to write a legitimate review that doesn't chortle and poke fun at the material every few minutes.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Crasters Creep

Since last week's kerfluffle over Vaughn Ohlman's marriage retreat I've started looking at some of the fiction written by him. He's written several books on betrothal with the fathers doing all the chosing of course, but the surprising ones are the fictional books.

According to several sites he's written 'Christian romance'. Here's a breakdown on the storyline of one of his novels 'Come The Day':

Hadassah was worried about this new husband her father had betrothed her to, the Prince Royal. What would he be like? She had heard all sorts of strange things about him, his father, his friends, and his plans.
Ishvi, on the other hand, was angry. His foolish uncle had gone and joined in the rebellion and now he, Ishvi, was paying the cost: having to marry some girl that Se Hadassah was worried about this new husband her father had betrothed her to, the Prince Royal. What would he be like? She had heard all sorts of strange things about him, his father, his friends, and his plans.
Ishvi, on the other hand, was angry. His foolish uncle had gone and joined in the rebellion and now he, Ishvi, was paying the cost: having to marry some girl that Seth, the prince, would pick for him, and then having to participate in some crazy plan that he had dreamed up.
But both of them were seriously upset that they weren’t going to be able to be human!
Enthralling I'm sure. The first one in this series 'Island Peoples' is out of print:

 They say that coming of age is a difficult time--even for princes. Perhaps especially for princes. Sixteen year old Seth was already worried about suddenly becoming the heir apparent in a country torn by war, learning the language of every race on the planet, getting betrothed to some girl he didn't even know, the daughter of his father's greatest enemy. But to be kidnapped too? And why was he so dizzy all the time?
It seems to me that at one time there was some science fiction self published books available online also written by Von but I cannot find where I saw that at or the titles. I would imagine it would be something like 'The Triple-Breasted Daughter-Whores of Planet Impreganoria' Was he attempting to be Isaac Assholoff or George R.R. Martini like?

Von also has a book site, the domain name set to expire in the next few months. The site is completely vacant. But you know what's not vacant? Some of Von's old blogs under other names that have such creepy and wrong theology they almost read like something out of  George R. R. Martin's 'Game of Thrones' series involving Craster and his harem of daughters he impregnated regularly.

Erase, Von, erase... there's so much out there that it is going to take you a good month or more to bury it all.

Church Folks Shenanigans

So yesterday I took a deep breath and went back to the Mennonite store that had music which triggered me so badly I ended up dry heaving in the bushes. I needed Daisy wheel cheddar cheese and I need to peel another onion layer and stop dry heaving whenever I heard that old charismatic style folk worship music.

This time I merely got annoyed and nauseous  while fetching my cheese. Yes, there was that style of worship music playing again, but I realized something to explain perhaps why after years of shopping there I suddenly started reacting like this to the music. They've turned the volume way up so instead of it being softly underpinning the busy and noise of the flow of customers it is drilling its way straight into your cerebral cortex.

While standing in line to buy my cheese I had a lady I know from the community, know her as a hard core fundamentalist homeschooler whose sons I used to teach in my art classes for homeschoolers. She was buying a pile of jigsaw puzzles and started talking to me like we were long lost friends, even if it's been years since I've seen her. I guess the word that I'm now a homosexual abortionist apostate didn't reach her. It was a pretty surreal experience of me trying to get away from her while she told me about how horrible it is that it's raining so much because it's preventing her sons from helping out with the family farm so she's having to come up with activities beyond her hour a day of schooling them. I started having horrible flashbacks of a series we ran recently on NLQ where Michael Pearl claims that a hour a day of schooling and the rest spent helping papa was the only way to turn out educated well rounded adults. 

Whatever. I think I'll drive further to the next Mennonite store and buy my cheese there. I used to go to the next county over to this other store and they have never had background music playing.Too bad there are customers there also that I knew from my old life. Not that the encounter yesterday was bad, it was just a reminder of all the things I once firmly believed in that now seem ridiculous.

Got home just in time to see a brief message from someone Jim has had significant troubles with. She was quitting the counting team for the church offering. Good, because in the six months or so that Jim has been in charge of the counting he's had nothing but trouble from this woman. She's called him up to shout at him and complain, she's blamed him for her failure to read emails and sent him reams of very nasty emails over her issues with the way the rules for counting run.

This all sort of blows my mind because it's a volunteer position, both Jim and this lady and she's done nothing but bitterly complain and take offense over everything Jim says and does. I get all the same emails and meetings she does and I'm still not sure why she's taken offense at all. But the only thing I can figure out is that she seems like someone determined to take offense no matter what.

After a day of this nonsense I sat down and watched the perfect film to wash away church member shenanigans and gagging over worship music. The name of the film is 'Paul' and it's silly as hell, but it also pokes some fun at fundamentalism. Here's a clip of a fundy gal being confronted with the reality of alien life:

...and the alien Paul scaring off some local yokels

Sunday, May 08, 2016

Happy Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day y'all!

I'm doing the usual thing I do on Mother's Day. Playing church hooky because the way Mother's Day is handled in church is pretty stomach-churningly awful for anyone that grew up with anything less than June Cleaver and has failed to be that perfect mother themselves. I'd rather sleep in and cruise the websites than deal with that sappy syrupy sermon and whatever else they have planned. And I know they has something lumpy or mushy planned because I saw their prep yesterday when we went to the church yard sale.

Andy stopped by yesterday with a beautiful hanging flower basket for the garden and dropped off a present of many wonderful things from his stressed out sister who is a full time university employee in the HR dept. and full time Masters program student. I'll see her next weekend as this weekend she's pushing through with the end of the semester things. I think Tuesday is the end of her program till fall. It's all good.

Yesterday Jim and I went out for Chinese and he gave me another orchid to celebrate the day. He knows I love love love orchids and have been growing them for years now. I plan on spending the day in front of my easel with a paint brush in my hand.

Well, after I call my mother, which could go either way. We've had some good Mother's Days and we've had some that ended in tears. I don't know which one it will be but I am prepared for either. I hope it's good as we've both been making real effort to get along in the past few years.

While I was perusing the various bookmarked sites on my computer and drinking coffee this morning I ran across this. It makes a perfect capper for a crazy week where I discovered that Vaughn Ohlman was not such a nice guy after all practicing his IFB brand of religion. The story of his Get Them Married retreat that Vyckie Garrison wrote about has landed in the national tabloid press now.

I wonder if Andrew Camp's fucking head is exploding right now because Fish Wrapper and TMZ have jacked his daughter Laura Camp's personal photos to promote this awful story? He sure went after me just for sharing a faux wedding photo of the not-really-married duo, saying I was taking advantage of a minor child.

Friday, May 06, 2016

Vaughn Ohlman's Fuzzy Betrothal Math

As I was going about my normal end of day household duties tonight something dawned on me I never considered before. Vaughn Ohlman has stated that he has nearly all of his children married off now by using his betrothal methods of the fathers picking the spouses, paying the bride price and signing the betrothal contracts. This has happened over the last three years.

The first to marry of his six children was his eldest Joshua Ohlman when he married Laura Camp. He was perhaps 22 or 23 years old at the time. That means that he's around 25 years of age right now.

All of his siblings are younger than him. So if we extrapolate the likelihood of 18 months average between births it would make his siblings roughly 20, 18, 16, 14 and 12 when Joshua married, or if you go with one birth per year the ages would shake out as 21, 20, 19, 18 and 17. I think it's likely to be more accurate that there would be at least an 18 month span between siblings. Which would mean at least one of them was handed over in common law marriage before the age of consent. 

Remember, Vaughn thinks anyone over 20 is an old maid/old man and wasting their God-given fertility.

Navigating Risks and Bounded Choice

During my last trip to Costa Rica we stopped for lunch that first day at a Frutas by the side of the road. These little open air fruit stands are everywhere in Central America when you venture beyond the larger cities.

Neither Jim nor I knew what to expect. We were lured into stopping by the gorgeous display of tropical fruits. We hadn't eaten a thing since the airport in Fort Lauderdale, Florida very early that morning and were pretty hungry. Tropical fruits suddenly sounded like a splendid idea in that moment.

Turns out that the Frutas had more than just fruit. They had all sorts of foods and snacks including a small grill. I tried to use my bastard pigeon Spanish to ask the man behind the grill what type of meat was in the hamburgers, but he failed to understand my question, answering back in English that yes, yes, this was a hamburger sandwich.

I decided ultimately to take a chance on the unknown. Sitting at a table outside in the bright sunshine with a gentle breeze ruffling the napkins and oilcloth tablecloth I had one of the best meals I'd have in ages. A mystery burger, fruit and a coconut tart. I was happy with my decision to try this, a burger that was beef after all, dressed with local cheese, lettuce, tomato and a slice or two of cucumbers dressed in a yogurt like sauce.

It could have ended badly. But I knew I had backup. I had in my possession medicines from my doctor to treat travelers stomach problems.

I cannot help but think of that story, of trying new things and foods on my trips when I'm thinking about all those one hour courtships ending in quick marriage in the Reformed version of extreme Christianity that people like those trying to attend Vaughn Ohlman's Get Them Married retreat practice.

It worries me. It's not deciding something so simple as if you should eat some burger possibly made of mystery meat, it's determinate for the rest of these poor kids lives.

And make no mistake, even the ones that are of legal age are still kids. Most are completely sheltered by their parents and have no life experiences beyond mom and dad's mini-cult existence. Those same mothers and fathers love to claim that their children are ready for marriage, but if you question those choices at all they cry out to stop picking on their children - calling them 'children'

This is what happened when I published the photos of Joshua Ohlman and his new bride Laura Camp. I got a number of nasty threatening messages from her father Andrew Camp claiming she was a child and I'd violated a child's right to privacy. He seemed not to understand that Laura herself is the one that plastered those images across the internet, making his claims of violating her privacy seem moot.

This is someone that was supposed to be of legal age, yet her father claimed she was a child. There's something very hinky going on with that. I doubt now that she was 18 or older at the time of the marriage.

Back to my point and away from the Andrew Camp rabbit hole. Let's use Laura Camp as an example. She claims she was given a choice on accepting Joshua as a husband or not in the few hours they were allowed to spend together before signing the betrothal documents to commit to their civil union unofficial version of marriage.

Laura Camp's betrothal and subsequent common law marriage is the perfect example of what bounded choice looks like in the Christian Patriarch Movement. When your only option is to face the profound disappointment and disapproval of your parents and likely constant reminders that you failed to do that one thing they think is your destiny or to marry a stranger there's not much of a choice. You do what you've been brainwashed to do since infancy, what your parents have continually said is your sole purpose on earth. You do it because there are no other options, particularly if you want to keep enjoying the approbation of those you love. You marry the stranger. You pretend to like it.

Now take that particular one bounded choice, Laura's choice, and multiply it by the hundreds, or perhaps the thousands of possible quicky common law marriages this retreat had the potential to produce. See where the problem comes in beyond the fact that the children involved have no actual choice in any of this? Even the odds are that many of these bounded choices are going to happen with people not ready for serious relationships, much less marital ones and you're looking at a sea of misery, of people that will piously blog about how 'WON-DER-FULLLL' their marriages are with a desperation that many readers will see right through.

Sheer misery combined with feelings of guilt for not being insanely happy and satisfied, like they were promised they would be by obeying their parents. I pity anyone that feels they must put on a facade to convince others how great their broken toxic theology is. It's no way to live.

When you don't know what, or who, you're getting all sorts of disastrous things can happen. Most lasting marriages are built on more than satisfied sexual desires. You better be married to your best friend to at least have something to talk about when you're not in the bed or it's going to be uncomfortable at best.

If that burger I ate had turned out to be no good I would have had the option of spitting it out and eating something else. At worse I would have had to take the antibiotic for travelers tummy.

Marrying a stranger your family picked out for you? You could lose your life at their hands, both literally and figuratively. Women in that world have no options, only bounded choice. That's no choice.