Getting connected

“Stay away from social media!!!!” Last I heard that was the warning given to young people on the hof. “Don’t relate to this person or that person, they are bad!”

You were raised in community and while the hof may not be the place for you, you may still need community to find happiness. Reach out to people around you, join a group of people doing good things. Yes, you can fall into the wrong group and need to be careful of that. Many of you will be easily influenced.

But the truth is that the only people who truly know what you are going through are people who have left the hof for one reason or another. And the easiest way to find them is on Facebook. Search for specific names or just search for the group Afterhof on Facebook. There you will connect with hundreds of people who have been through something similar and are eager to reach out a helping hand for whatever you need to get you through this difficult transition. If nothing else you can message the admin for this site and we will connect with you.

If you are ever in a bad situation, whatever it is, reach out and ask for help.

The hof has a help line and they have helped many people with documents, connections and occasionally money. Some have found them judgmental but I have it on good authority that they do not intend to be so and others have found them very helpful. The contact information for the Resource Office is resourceoffice@ccimail.com, 1-800-325-8849.

Some ex-hof folks have set up a non-profit group to help. You can reach them at http://www.safelandingproject.org or ask the admin here and we will connect you.

You will always have to use good judgement when choosing who to relate to but don’t bring too many hof assumptions to the task. There are good people all over who care about you and will go out of their way to help if you ask.

What to do right after leaving

First things to establish when you leave are:

“Home” address to use for job/school applications.  There are several resources out there that can help families or individuals who are in need of housing. You can search through the internet, reach out to other people you know who are already out (best found on the evil facebook), or advertise on noticeboards, craigslist, or newspapers saying you are looking for temporary housing till you get your feet under you. If the hof has put you somewhere that you are unhappy with, you don’t have to stay there.  Reach out to the admin here for solutions.

New photo ID so you don’t have to carry your passport everywhere because they are a lot more expensive and more trouble to replace if lost or stolen.

If you are a careful person who never loses anything, a passport will serve you well enough. However, passports are extremely difficult to replace, so it is a good idea to invest in acquiring a government photo ID. Visit your local DMV and fill out an application for a driver’s license or a Non-Driver Id, depending on your skill level/ability to take the driving test. Price for these varies by state.

Cheap cell phone. You will need a phone number for prospective employers/colleges to contact you. A cheap temporary flip phone is easy enough to acquire if you don’t have the funds for a long-term phone. A temporary, prepaid flip phone can cost as little as $10 if you can get to Staples. If you have the means, it is easier to just get a more temporary phone from the start instead of buying 2 or 3 temporary phones.

Take time to get used to the enormous difference in the way things are in this world. Try to get in touch with any of us on this site, Facebook, the Facebook Afterhof group or if you know someone, so they can answer questions you might have, and help through the adjustment period. Just remember: you are not, and now never will be, alone. Be gentle with yourself, for as you treat yourself, so you will treat others.  You were raised to need community eve n if the hof is the wrong one for you.

Find work, any work. This buys you time to then stabilize yourself mentally before setting off in whichever direction you want to go. Your work ethic is probably excellent, thanks to your background. This will help you a lot.  Be early to work, clean (shower every day and use deodorant) and always do more and better than expected.

“Since you and I come from a highly judgmental/critical religious background, the danger exists that we will impose critical former, deeply ingrained attitudes on those around us.”  Don’t.

Take the time to find yourself – by that I mean – what will make you happy in life, what do I want to do with my life – jobs, relationships, place to live. At this time don’t think you must have a life plan. Take life day by day and discover what is around you, make new friends but don’t do bad stuff to make people like you. This is a tough time for most leaving a place where you knew everyone and now they are not there for you. Know that you might be very sad, or depressed and that is not unusual at all. Talk to someone, take a walk – know that you are not alone.

Social Etiquette for Men (And Also Women):

Let’s start with a hot topic recently regarding sexual contact: If she or he says no or is not into it or stays completely silent or is incapacitated by drugs or alcohol – don’t do it. Men and women can be guilty of rape or have it committed against them and in order to avoid this it’s important to always communicate with a potential partner and ensure that everyone involved is comfortable. It is also important to know your limits in terms or drug and alcohol use. Many raped and rapists don’t remember because they blacked out, so it’s a good idea to avoid that state of inebriation in general.

Basically, be careful not to do anything that, if it were to happen to someone close to you/ a loved one, you would be furious. Treat others the way you want to be treated kind of deal. Like catcalling, for example, if someone started yelling crude sexual profanities at your sister or your mother how would that make you feel? Not great I’m betting so maybe don’t do it. “Try not to be a misogynistic twatwaffle.” Not all of this is necessarily limited to men, however.

Let’s not get too heavy handed with the gender roles. “Keep your eyes on a woman’s face and pay attention to what she’s saying.” This is not limited to purely male-female interactions, it is in general good to listen to whoever is speaking to you and to be actively engaged. All sexes and sexualities should strive to not view another person as admirable body parts or a “piece of meat.”

“The community does not teach respect for women, and that is something many guys have to *work* to learn after leaving. Inherent in The Life is a disgust for and degradation of all things inherently female (i.e. this is so sacred we can’t talk about it – periods, birth, the hormonal roller coaster that is many women’s lives, etcetera). This culminates in the purity culture and patriarchal power structure with which we are so familiar. Realize that this approach is twisted and certainly counterproductive to any kind of healthy social interaction. Those that fail to learn will probably fail to have meaningful relationships.

Your worldview needs to include women as individuals, with opinions, feelings, needs and desires that you can’t assume you know anything about. The key to successful interactions is respect!”    https://goodmenproject.com/the-good-life/freedom/on-being-a-good-man-2/

Don’t get involved with any criminal activity, minor or major. I know, it sounds stupid, but for some people who just left the Commune with a chip on their shoulder, the temptation to push the limits is there. (It was with me, for sure.) Getting caught for something dumb like shoplifting or using drugs can come back to haunt you in this Internet Age. It could land you in jail and could cost you a good job down the road.

Be patient with yourself, learn to love yourself, and learn to really understand yourself.