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Tuesday, August 14, 2018

There Really Is Life After Hate Part IV

Earlier today I received a link to an article published in the "National Post." It is a piece written by Brag Galloway, the former head of the Canadian chapter of Volksfront which provides some thoughts on getting out of the movement:

If you haven't done so yet, I encourage you to read it.

In addition, our friend who managed to get out of the movement has kindly provided another article in her ongoing series:
Extremism: Individuals, Community and Families: An Open Letter to Those Who Are Still Entangled  
It's been close to 6 years since leaving and I haven't forgotten all the false information I was taught and then later dished out. All the claims about how the white power movement was in defence of families, community and the individuals has been proven wrong with my own experience during active involvement. The reality is that it's not in defence of these things; it actually destroys them. 
I live with some life long repercussions because of my poor choices when I was younger. 
Tattoos can be covered and lasered off, amends to the community can be made and real friendships/connection can be made as well. Traumatic brain injuries never fully heal though. I was jumped and had my head slammed full force against a brick wall at the hands of the group whom I thought were my friends. It happened because of inner drama and a vandalism act which they thought I ratted them out to the police for. 
I was helped and had to go through physio therapy to try to function reasonably well again; it's a very slow process. At first I couldn't even hold a simple conversation without becoming disoriented and confused. I was the laughing stock of everyone around me who didn't know what happened that night, while I struggled to walk in a straight line. I certainly didn't feel like myself either; I subconsciously hated myself before that, so I wasn't even sure that I missed the old me. 
Today I can hold down a job and meaningful volunteer work, which I'm eternally grateful for. I currently experience issues with short term memory and on some occasions, speech. 10 years after the incident, I continually remind myself that quality of life still exists even with this demon hanging over my head. I will not allow myself to play the victim in this one either; it was my choice to engage in toxicity. 
I know that my family was hurt by my involvement. I ended up homeless and my mom wouldn't welcome me back home while I was actively involved in hate groups. I got emails from her and other relatives, however most of the time I didn't respond or I responded with anger and resentment. During my time on the streets, I know they worried about what might happen; waiting for the phone call that no parent deserves but hoping they'll never receive it. The only occasions they heard anything about what was going on with me were when police became involved. 
People who didn't know the full degree of what I was into would ask about me. My family didn't know how to answer; humiliation took a huge toll on them. We were by no means a perfect family to begin with, however my endless search for another "family" through the movement only escalated our problems. 
I have a good relationship with my mom and brother now, however I had to leave extremism and shed my ego for that to happen. 
Being on the other side of the fence now a days, I've watched the toxic subculture become worse on the news. My Facebook news feed was flooded with posts about the events that took place in Charlottesville last year. There was this immediate retreat into myself; the guilt of standing for the far-right once upon a time, yet extremely grateful for the second chances I've been given since I walked away. Seeing the victim's family, as well as the community who was in support of her become torn apart was awful. Those around me expressed how thankful they were that I got out when I'd talk about my thoughts on the matter. People in our society are very forgiving for the most part, as long as we aren't out to make the same mistakes we once did. 
I'd encourage anyone who's on the fringe of the movement or trying to leave to ask yourself this: what good has hatred ever done for you or those who truly love you? 
I know that we have all been through hell of some kind even before involvement in the hate club, but those voids can be filled with better and more constructive things; things where you aren't self destructing or hurting those around you.
Other articles in this series include:

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