When I left the cult, I had no personality of my own. Well, of course, it existed. Buried deep under the definition of what I was taught to be. As a kid, we don’t question the roles that are ascribed to us in life. I was t
o be a good, Christian woman; humble, acquiescent, and nurturing. After all, these are the qualities of good wife. My personality naturally derailed from what I was trained to be. I mean, I truly tried to make everyone and god happy, by stuffing myself into this box that they created for me. They said I was haughty and stubborn. I was too far up on my high horse for any good man to reach me.
First of all, I secretly hated the thought of getting married. Like every girl growing up, I dreamt about a wedding. Who wouldn’t want to host a day celebrating love, and be the centre of attention for a day? I wanted everything that came along with a wedding, except the husband. I was already turned off when I learned that I would have to change my last name to his last name. As much as I asked why, none of the answers satisfied me. It all boiled down to tradition. There was absolutely no reason why a man couldn’t just as easily change his name. Or, my idea, we both just keep our original names if we choose. Furthermore, why must my name include Ms., Miss, or Mrs… but the man always stays MR?? The world must know that I am claimed by someone else…while his status remains a mystery? When I explained to my mother my point of view, she freaked out. I felt bad for not agreeing to supposedly the right thing. But these teachings, as well as many others, lead me to exiting the church.
I wanted an entirely new identity. I didn’t know who I was suppose to be. The layers of false definitions casted upon me, was weighing me down. My inner core was bruised from being stuffed and conformed into these oddly shaped boxes. Something had to change, and I knew exactly where to start.
I was born Karmen D´Lorah Whitsett. Because my last name was so popular among the cult, I had to get rid of it. When we would go to the yearly conventions for the cult, none of the members knew me by name. It was mostly “Oh, you’re one of the Whitsett girls.” Had no identity of my own. My middle name was also need
ing to be deleted out of my life.
My father wanted to name me after him. His name is Harold. So he spelled his name backwards, and discovered my middle name
(D´Lorah). My first name means song (Karmen) so I didn’t want to change it at all. Anyway, I didn’t plan on getting married….EVER. So I had to change my last name through the courts. Besides, I would not be changing my name if I got married anyway, FOH. So, the journey began to find my new, middle and last name. Two years had past, and I still hadn’t decided on a name. But I wasn’t stressed. I wanted my name to fit me perfectly, so I was in no rush. I was waiting for a sign, if you will. I wanted my name to come to me thru some sort of inspiration. And one day, it did…
I have been a huge Disney fan since I was a kid. Disney was the only consistent happiness in my life. It was one of the very few resources of reliability. I had a free weekend, and was catching up on my Disney movies. I popped in Mulan. Not even half way thru the movie, I knew my middle name was going to be Mulan. The movie is an outline of my life. Black sheep of the family, who disgraced them all, was a warrior deep down inside. When she chose the path less traveled to be her authentic self..her greatness couldn’t be bridled any longer. Though she was not the quiet, wifely lady that her family wanted, they could no longer ignore the greatness she unveiled. Karmen Mulan… I was hooked. A few months later, I discovered Moxie.
A friend of mine was very passionate about expanding my view of the world, once I left the cult. She was constantly taking me to museums, exhibitions, and exotic restaurants to try new things. Once she gave me a Vocabulary Calendar. Each day, the calendar revealed a new word. On August 15th, the word Moxie was staring at me.
Moxie- The ability to endure trials and tribulations. To be brave, determined. A force of character.
Despite everything and everyone I loved being stacked against me (including my own flesh and blood) I was a survivor. It took guts to walk away from any and everything I knew in my life. And despite not having a support group like the LGBTQ, (I use that group as an example because they are the closest idea to what I’ve been thru. Many are disowned by their tribe, when they reveal their sexuality. And fortunately for them, there is an official group to turn to, for support. I had nothing, but my Music to save me).
I began to take the necessary steps to destroy my imposter- name, and claim my real name. By the end of three months, I was mailed a new passport, social security card, drivers licence, and bank cards….all with my Real name on them. And I never looked back.
My name is Karmen Mulan Moxie. Nice to meet you.