"laestadian, apostolic, gay, lgbtq, ex-oalc, ex-llc, llc, oalc, bunner" LEARNING TO LIVE FREE: Poem: En Pointe by Karen Tolkkinen

Thursday, January 14, 2021

Poem: En Pointe by Karen Tolkkinen

Published by permission from the poet, Karen Tolkkinen, a former member of the Laestadian Lutheran Church, who lives and writes in Minnesota. 


Photo: Grace in Winter 2, by Jeff, Creative Commons 2.0

En Pointe

Karen Tolkkinen

Who am I?

Who am I?

Who am I?

What do I want?

What do I want?

What do I want?

Once upon a time, I wanted to dance

en pointe, en chaine, entendu.

But they said dancing was sin.

And I hated myself for wanting it.

Once upon a time, I wanted to act in

plays and movies.

But they said no, acting is sin.

Plays are sin. Movies are sin.

And I found myself most wretched for wanting it.

I might have enjoyed watching a Twins game

But that was sin.

I might have enjoyed your company

But I wasn't allowed friends outside church.

I might have enjoyed debate, or speech, or National Honor Society

But they would draw me away from church friends.

So when I moped around the house


My mom would grow impatient.

Read a book, she'd say.

So I would.

Books about ballet. 

And actors.

And normal kids befriending other normal kids.

And no-one to tell them they were wrong.


  1. I love this poem! Thanks for sharing, Karen!

  2. It is emotionally tough to have your dreams crushed by religious dogmatics. Old AP

  3. The Spiritual Abuse Forum for Education is a regular meetup in Portland, Oregon for those who have left or are considering leaving high-demand religious groups, and for those with friends and loved ones who are members of such groups.

    In 2019, SAFE partnered with ICSA for its first regional conference in Portland, Oregon. Over 70 people attended from the local area and surrounding states. SAFE is also listed as an ICSA Local Meetup.

    SAFE offers Education, Support, and Community.

    There is no cost, no demands, no expectation that attendees will speak of their abuse, and no commitment or signing up.

    This group is led by survivors and educators experienced with spiritual abuse.

    If you are interested in learning more about SAFE you can visit https://www.safeportland.org/

  4. The power and relatability I have to this is so true to my heart. I was born into OALC with tons of family still within. Life has been a massive load of lies and stories.

  5. A very relatable poem. I'm a former OALC member and sadly I missed out on so many opportunities in my youth because so many things were considered to be a sin by the church and my parents.

  6. Oh, this hits my heart so deeply. I often think on where my life could be if we would have been afforded the opportunity to fully explore our gifts and talents.