I consider myself lucky.
In 1985, I was born in Saint George, Utah. My Parents, Dale and Jeanne, were parents to 9 children. We lived on the southern outskirts of town and had acres and acres of land. We were homeschooled and played often with our extended family who lived close by in our isolated community. At a young age, I thought it was normal to live next store to your mom’s sister wives and 22 of your half-siblings.
If you haven’t put the pieces together, let me elaborate. I was born into a Polygamous Clan. My father Dale, was married to 3 different women, and had children with all of them. As I was born into this family, I was never given a choice whether I wanted to live this kind of lifestyle. Of course growing up, I didn’t know any better. However, when I was 16 years old, I started to question the teachings of the family I was raised in. I felt that I had been nearly brainwashed with ideas of religion, and how the practices of polygamy would someday help us return to our creator again in the next life.
On one occasion, I vividly remember myself, one of my mom’s sister wives and a few of my half-siblings, traveling to a nearby store to fill large gas cans up for the community. We did this about once or twice a month. Every time we did, I felt like I was traveling to another country, because I had no idea what the real world was that surrounded me. I didn’t know much, or enough about it, but I knew something just wasn’t right. And from that point on, I wanted to escape it all. That day, I bought a tiny, colorful, glass keychain horse.
I held on to this tiny horse, for many years. This horse gave me hope at times where I thought I wasn’t going to make it to the next day. I wasn’t in any physical harm, but I found myself daily in emotional despair questioning the foundations I was raised on, and not knowing what my future would hold. I hoped that someday, I could be as free as a wild horse running through a field. It was not easy escaping Polygamy. I had known nothing more than life in our community. I packed a small bag, with hardly any clothes. Just a hairbrush, a toothbrush, and some food for the trip to my new home.
Fast forwarding to the following year, I was lost and lonely. I lacked self-love, and self-acceptance. At times of hardship, and struggle, I was always reminded by the little glass horse, that the greater the struggle the more glorious the triumph. I knew someday I would find myself, and be free. For a lot of people, the past makes us who we are today. Years after cutting ties with the clan, and escaping the life I was once given, I am finally choosing to not look back. This is the last piece of my past that I own. I hope this horse can set someone else free, as it did for me. I believe I’m not the only one who deserves to feel lucky.