September is a big month and this is a big week. I turn fifty-seven on Wednesday (these numbers are getting crazy weird!) and to the moon and back turns two on Friday. Wild.

If you asked my young Moonie self what I’d be like and what I’d be doing at the age of fifty-seven – if I could have even imagined the age of fifty-seven – it wouldn’t be this. I would have been married in a huge mass wedding, like my mom, to a spouse chosen for me by the Messiah. At this point I probably would have arranged my children’s marriages and pushed them deeper and deeper into Church beliefs and practices. I would be dedicating my life to bringing people into the Church, not helping people leave – and heal from leaving – the Church. I would be praying more, apologizing to God for all my sins and failings more, and living in shame and knowing I was never enough more.

In other words, it wouldn’t be good.

I’m much happier with the life I have, the family I love, the work I do, the healing I’ve worked at, the joy and beauty and love-goddex, with a small “g” and they/them pronouns, that I feel in my heart and soul. And that I work to share with others.

Speaking of working to share, if you’d asked me four years ago if to the moon and back would be “available wherever books are sold” (and while it is only 99¢ this week on Amazon, please consider buying it from an indie bookstore, and a black-owned indie bookstore at that), I would have hoped you were right but believed you were making things up to make me feel better. And maybe thanked you for that.

But this Friday marks two years since to the moon and back was published. What a journey it’s been.

I’ve reconnected with friends I never thought I’d speak to or see again. I’ve had conversations I never thought I’d have. (Including acknowledgment from my childhood Church friends that I was banished by the Messiah when I was a teenager.) I’ve realized that I somehow still thought I was damaged beyond repair, and I’m not. I have damage maybe. I have scars. I have demons that can still try to overtake me. But I’m whole. Wholer than I ever thought I’d be.

I get messages from strangers thanking me for telling my story. I get to connect with others born and/or raised in my cult – or in other cults. I get to offer a message of hope and love and self-compassion and self-adoration.

I am blessed beyond belief. And not in the way I thought I would be when I was a Moonie kid. Then I thought that Rev. Moon – my Messiah – would bless me and offer me salvation. Now I know that I make choices that bring blessings and joy into my life and that I am actually in charge of my own salvation.

It’s a week and month to celebrate.

Happy Birthday to to the moon and back and Happy Birthday to me!

I’d love to hear your thoughts, and please share this post with others if it resonates with you!

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