It's a Sunday, and I am at home. Not at a meeting, not studying the WatchTower. I have been out of "The Truth" for a very long time (almost 20 years) and I still find it hard to tell people that I ever belonged to 'that group'. I find I am ashamed of that past, even though I was born into and had no choice in how I was raised. It's my dirty little secret.
I was a late bloomer, didn't get baptized until I was 17 (almost 18) and I did it because, well... wasn't it long overdue? The looks and whispers were strong in the force. Because it was all I had known, and because I was so isolated and suppressed as to be socially awkward, I clung to the religion as my only source of family and I died inside when I was disfellowshipped. For years I had nightmares whenever any thunderstorm or tumultuous weather passed through. There was a lot of that weather where I was from. I defended the witnesses stance on everything to people who would mock them. I missed my conditional family terribly. I cried because I could not pray anymore, because my need for the ever present Big guy in my life was constant after my lifelong indoctrination, but knowing he disowned me made it impossible to call out to him. And I had a difficult time making bonds and trusting anyone in my life.
Now, years later, I am college educated, fairly happy, no longer spooked by all things End of Days, and I love myself as a person. I do still have trouble understanding that others really do like and care about me, and it is still hard for me to form lasting bonds with another person. I never truly believe that someone can love me unconditionally and that I can ever have a real family of my own.
So I am joining this group in hopes of meeting others who truly understand what it is to come out of that organization, and how it's effects are residual in ways we often don't even realize.