All posts by Lisa Kohn

Does the fear ever go away?

That’s the question I was asked. “Does the fear ever go away?”

It was an inquiry on my website from an ex-Moonie. I get them periodically. I love getting them. I devour them as soon as I notice they’re there, and then I reread them a few more times. My next step is to, usually, forward the emails to my older brother, and to then sit for quite some time with the fact that someone reached out to me again.

Finally, I’m at my computer to a) thank them for connecting with me and b) answer their questions as well as I can.

Over the years, I’ve had numerous requests for information – any information – about Jacob House and what it was like to be a kid there. Those requests are usually from kids whose parents left them at Jacob House. I invariably also get them in touch with my mother. She often remarks to my older brother and me about the pain those kids are in because their parents left them.

I get “hello’s” from members who remember my brother and me and also from some who don’t. I’ve heard stories of painful times in the Church and traumatic paths out of the Church. I’ve had a few people share with me their good memories as well.

This former member who found me – thanks to the blog post on How Well Do You Know Your Moon – told me her story of pain. Pain in the Church. Pain on leaving the Church. Pain since leaving the Church. Unfortunately, I think that’s the common journey.

And then she asked me, “Does the fear ever go away?”

Does the fear ever go away?

In my experience, it doesn’t go away. At least not fully. At least not yet. But in my experience, it lessens.

It lessens in how often it overtakes me and how badly it overtakes me. I am wracked with terror or waves of shame much less often, and when they wash over or through me, I’m more quickly able to recognize what they are and call them out for being false. It’s like I can stand outside of myself while also being with myself, and remind myself that it will pass, even as much of me is caught up in the turmoil and fear that it will never pass.

Does the fear ever go away?

When it comes over me so strongly that I can’t see – or know – anything else, I know to get help. I know to reach for the phone. To call someone who loves me. Someone who will stay by my side and talk me through the fear.

And then it passes. Sometimes quickly. Sometimes much too slowly. But it passes. While I used to live my life in near-to-constant low-grade fear, more of my days are now spent in love and joy. In peace and ease. I have the wherewithal to realize that many of my fears are irrational, and I have the tools to take care of myself when the fear feels so real again.

“Does the fear ever go away?” she asked. “Not yet,” I answered. “Not all the way away. Not yet. But it’s so, so, so much better.”

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

Photo by Daryn Stumbaugh on Unsplash

Categories: Recovery, , , Tags:

I just told Danny about my book

I knew I was heading to BookCon. (And by the way, BookCon – meeting, and signing my book for, 100 strangers in less than 30 minutes – was so, so cool!) I knew I needed to remind Danny (my dad) that I’d written a memoir and to tell him that it was being published. I knew I was hoping to tell him in person, but – partially because of the book pub date and how busy that’s been keeping me – I haven’t been able to make it to see him.

So I decided I would have to tell him on the phone.

To say that I was nervous doesn’t begin to capture what I was feeling. A bit nauseated. Anxious. Edgy.

What if he gets mad at me? What if he asks me about it? What if he wants to read it? What if he doesn’t react at all?

The possibilities were many, and few of them seemed positive. I expected to get off the phone with him shaking. Or maybe crying. Or just feeling even more sick to my stomach. I thought of getting back-up – someone I could check in with before and after the call, in case I needed support.

Then Danny called me. The bad and sad news is that he has been getting physical therapy again, so he has been able to walk a little bit again…but he’s on Medicaid and Medicaid only pays for physical therapy while you’re improving. As soon as you plateau, they stop the therapy. And Danny had once again plateaued at about 100 feet.

He was, understandably, upset, and he called me to see if I could arrange for him to get physical therapy in some other way. Any other way. I told him I doubted we could. I told him I’d look into it. Then I told him about the book.

“Dan,” I started, “you may remember – I told you a while back – that I’ve written a memoir.”

“Yeah.”

“Well, I’ve got a publisher, and it will be out in September.”

“Congratulations.”

“Thank you. I wanted you to know.”

That was it. That was enough. As my husband said, that was probably the best I could have hoped for. Danny’s not ever effusive. He didn’t explode. He didn’t say he wanted to read it. He doesn’t read anymore – since the stroke – and I guess he must have pretty much known he wouldn’t want to read it.

I don’t try to slam either of my parents in to the moon and back. I just wrote what I remember, what happened from my point of view. My brother says I haven’t been critical enough of everyone and everything – but, again, it’s what I remember and how I saw it…and see it now. That being said, my parents don’t look so good in the book. They may have done the best they could at the time, but that best is generally seen as lacking.

I’m pretty certain Danny would be hurt if he read it, and so I’m glad that he can’t and won’t. I don’t need him to understand my perspective. I no longer need him to grasp how I was hurt, or to apologize. Somewhere in my healing, I guess, that need has dissipated. Somehow I’ve been able to fill a few of the holes inside me and therefore need him to fill them less.

I just needed him to know that it was going to be out there. In public. A real book. Soon.

I just told Danny about my book.

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

Categories: My Story, , , Tags:

Joyful in my now

I’ve decided to be joyful in my now.

I know – I decide this often. Over and over again I decide I’ll do it. Over and over again I recommit myself to it.

There is so much to be joyful about. There are so many reasons to smile. Even as I write this, I can feel the corners of my mouth turn up – and I haven’t even begun to list the many reasons yet.

There are the Ping-Pong games I played with my child. Yeah, he beat me. He beat me badly a number of times, but boy did we laugh. There are the peonies from my friend’s garden. There are the figs that my husband just dropped into the salad he’s making for dinner. Anticipatory joy.

There’s every time I pick up the Advanced Reader Copy of to the moon and back, and I see that it’s a book. A real book. My brother is here for the holiday weekend. I got a text from my childhood Church friends. Sitting in the passenger seat of the car as my youngest practices his driving. And on and on.

I’ve decided to be joyful even when it’s tough. Lean into the suck. Embrace the s—t. And look for joy. The sunshine, flowers, music, hugs. And on and on. By grace I am almost always able to pull myself out a bit and find a way to release. And find a way to joy.

That’s pretty much all I have to say about this for now, as I sit here in my now.

I’ve decided to be joyful in my now.

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

Categories: Passion, Tags: