Leaving a cult: lost friendships and cherished memories…like the ghosts of girlfriends past.

They say friends are the family that you get to choose. But being in a cult doesn’t allow you to choose. This is now your family. You have to just make do and hope for the best. But I was lucky, I think I was surrounded by a group of extraordinary women. And I will forever be grateful for my (girl)friends.

This one is for you, my friends, sisters in arms. Some of you I have known almost my whole life. Some of you have been there when I needed you most. I have cried, prayed and laughed with you. I have had babies and spun out of control. You have listened to my stories and told me yours. We have shared fears and secrets. We have swopped recipes and parenting advice. We have paged through magazines and sipped endless cups of tea.

Maybe it is true, that under different circumstances our paths would never have crossed, our social circles never connected. But that is the beauty of it, I suppose.

I see you in my dreams. You are always there in my thoughts. I imagine your children growing up. I hope and pray you are happy and fulfilled. That you are safe and loved. And I wish I could be there for you. I wish I could share my life with you. I wish you could walk through my door and just look at me because when you do, I know that you really see me. And then again, maybe you don’t.

I am only starting to discover who I am. But I guess, wherever you are, you just still are who you are deep down.

I see you, only just ten, in your pink snowman shorts and your spindly legs. Caramelised peanuts and Uno games that you would always win. Waiting in the school car park, forgotten again, but together at least. Acing every test, so smart, amazing. We are on stage now, swaying side by side. I am sorry I always looked at you from the corner of my eye, but I trusted your more than I trusted myself. And then there you are with him, bright eyes and curls and matching polo shirts, his and hers.  Your off-white dress shimmering in the sunset water, those endless hills behind you.

I am sorry I wasn’t there for you, the way I should have been. Deep down I felt like I was meant to be your protector. I am sorry for turning a blind eye. I am sorry because I know you hate when I am sappy.

I hope your girls are being celebrated and not berated. I hope you don’t ever let go of that wonderful chord deep inside of you that is totally sincere. I hope he treats you well. I hope you treat yourself well. You are so incredibly loved by me, always.


I see you, young, not even 20. All messy energy, laughter, dreams. Pow-wows and makeovers. Bathing suit blues and endless uncontrollable laughter. And then you are worried about how you look tonight, and I am thinking, “Oh boy, this is it.” And it was. There you are, standing next to this man and already drifting away from me. It was like I saw a shadow and then it disappeared as I blinked. Your dress draping off young shoulders, simple, and yet how complicated life would get, in the spotlight, always.

I am sorry that I didn’t always say what I thought and mean what I say. I am sorry that I betrayed you. I am sorry that I cared too much about your opinion instead of about you.

I hope you can slowly understand what I mean and have meant. I hope that you find yourself again. I hope you realise the impact, both positive and negative you have on people. I hope your children are crying less for a farm in Africa. I hope your little boy with a soft heart isn’t being pitted against his friend(s).


I see you, beautiful and glowing like a princess from a foreign land. We are snacking on your baby’s gummy-vites, he is so cute and you are only just eighteen and I think you are so brave. And then there you are, with me, dancing with these men (or boys?) on a basketball court in the dark. But we are just so happy. Your skin is so gorgeous like coffee caramel, Hiawatha in an ice-white dress.

I am sorry that I let other people’s opinions affect my opinion of you. I am sorry that I didn’t take the time to get to know you the way I should have.

I hope above all else, that you can hold your baby again. I hope every scar is healing. I hope that you are able to do the things you love.


I see you, with your crazy hair – was it green? It was short. Your voice is gravelly, I love it. And then you are telling me how he called you a monkey, and I just think that is super cute…and so do you. It was so thundery and spectacular when you walked down that grassy isle, your hair blowing in the wind.

I am sorry I didn’t have more time with you. I am sorry that I didn’t celebrate your qualities enough.

I hope that you are finding success in all your endeavors. I hope that you are proud of yourself and that you sometimes put yourself first. I hope your children will always know what an awesome mama they have.


I see you, you have it all together. And then again you are vulnerable. Mostly you are just so… real? Powdering yourself before you go to bed and powdering my nose. And I realise I had you all wrong, you taught me so much about how I judge people, a true and trusted friend so many will find in you. And then you are standing there in a lace white dress, lovely beneath the canopy of the tree.

I am just so sorry that I ever thought you were not as nice as what you actually are. I am sorry I ever tried to change your perspective, you have a good perspective.

I hope that you are getting all you deserve. I hope you have many years to enjoy your beautiful children. I hope the sun always shines on you (wink wink).


I see you, all hidden beneath the covers, crawling away from life and then re-emerging, it almost seemed like a subtle pattern. So effortlessly graceful like an African queen. Bursting with life like a special star and then just fading away like a quiet shadow. You are standing there absolutely breathtaking, alluring, incredible in that golden autumn dress glowing like a fire, but you were quenched, I hope your embers are still alight.

I am sorry if you ever felt like I wasn’t there for you. I am sorry for ever making you feel you needed to be different to who you are. I am sorry I didn’t make more effort.

I hope you are somewhere where people can just see how awesome you are and stoke your fires. I hope that your babies are safe and happy and that they have a strong and healthy mum. I hope you find your destiny.


I see you, breaking down in the middle of Africa, showering beneath the stars. I always felt your calm…before the storm. The storm that I think is raging in your heart. I think of him often, and you, and yours. The scripture on a rock that is hidden away beneath the leaves. And there you are, standing in a satin dress on the edge of a future that you were bold to take hold of.

I am sorry I didn’t stand up and scream when I knew you wanted to scream but couldn’t. I am sorry for your loss. I am sorry that you don’t know how much I care.

I hope you can forgive me. I hope you are okay. I hope your babes are okay. I hope your whole family is okay. I hope you will understand one day.


And I see you, blond and blue eyed. Vivacious. Tenacious. All those buttons on the back of a fairy tale dress. You looked like summer walking down the garden path that day.

I am sorry that you had to fight so much. I am sorry that you had to put on a good face. I am sorry it took me so long to get to know you.

I hope you achieve your goals. I hope your children grow up strong and true and in love with you, who fought so hard for them. I hope peace is lapping on your shores.


And now, here I am, on my own. Starting over, like all of you.

The thing that really bites is that we have to just move on. After being tied to each other for so long like a rickety life raft just barely able to stay afloat. We have withstood trials and tests. Witnessed triumphs and life-changing events. Together.

And yet, we may never see one another again. Most of all we will probably never share time together because it is part of the healing.

I have had worse partings, but none that so
Gnaws at my mind still. Perhaps it is roughly
Saying what God alone could perfectly show –
How selfhood begins with a walking away,
And love is proved in the letting go.

Cecil Day Lewis

Sometimes I feel so alone in this journey, but I know you are out there, finding your way too. Making new friends and deciding that even though they may not get it, how we lived, they can still get you… because you are you and not your past. At least that is what I hope I can achieve… and a little kindness.

All my love


  1. the quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate.
    “he thanked them for their kindness and support”


4 thoughts on “Leaving a cult: lost friendships and cherished memories…like the ghosts of girlfriends past.

  1. Such honesty, how could you not be loved and cherished in return. We understand so much without needing words, your friends are still there for you, just as you are for them. And your paths will cross again, as this world shrinks daily. Look at your mom and me! XX

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: How do you escape a cult? – Alon Farm, the Story Unfolds

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s