KOOL-AID: a cult’s guide to cleaning


Didn’t even think about it. Windows were dirty. Normally would not care about this. Am not saying am a dirty person. No. I do like things clean. Is easy in the gatehouse. Not much stuff. Floors are wooden so a sweep and going-over with a damp cloth is enough.

Have not normally been concerned with windows. Not like Mum. She was nuts over them. Our flat was on the first floor and she damn near killed herself trying to clean the outside of those bloody windows. Yes, she could have paid someone. Think it was an Italian thing. Martyrdom. Wondered why she bothered. After all, we were living in London. It rains a lot. There’s a lot of cars. Windows would be washed (mum hanging out the window with me holding onto her legs) and an hour later it’d rain. By the end o the afternoon exhaust dust had stuck to the watermarks. Would drive mum (and me) insane.

So when she died, I didn’t clean the windows. And it never bothered me.

Yet have lovely outlook here at the gatehouse. Lovely cottage box windows looking out to green fields and oak trees out the front; lovely fenced paddocks out the back. Spend a lot of time looking out of windows. And windows; dirty.

Also — don’t have much else to do. Do not have a job, and Landlord not needing my help today. Time enough to clean windows.

And yes, I know what you’re thinking — is her life so boring she’s taken to writing blog posts about cleaning windows?

Well. Yes. But there is a purpose to this, I promise.

So am cleaning windows, actually enjoying self. That’s what my life has come to. Enjoying tasks like cleaning windows.

But then — disaster! Ran out of newspaper.

Which is understandable, because I only had a small stack of newspaper left by Landlord. Am supposed to be starting fires with them. Which I have been. Because do not get papers delivered, though, have now run out.

Thought to self — how the fuck am I going to clean windows now? Because cannot clean windows any other way. Window cleaning is done with newspaper. Is the only way. Well. According to church.

Then that weird mind-click thing happened. Like a clog in my brain jammed. Ex-cult members would know it well. The moment there is a system override when it all clicks and you realise you have been doing something cultish.

Like cleaning windows with fucking newspaper because creator of church was so egotistical he believed was best way to clean windows and wrote it down, thus becoming policy.

There are weird moments like that when you leave a cult. You spend your days questioning every single thing you think. Is this what I think, or is this what the church wants me to think? Do I like what am eating or is it only because have been conditioned to like it?

My mind is a weird jumble of lies and truth and for the most part cannot make head nor tail of it.

Was listening to a podcast the other day when presenter made reference to a friend who grew up in a strict religion. Apparently she has the same issues with her own thoughts — trying to weed out what are hers and what are those of the religion. Is worse for those who grew up in cults, I imagine. Only have ten years of pollution I need to clear out. Not a lifetime.

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