I had this already typed up so I figured I'd post it up instead of torturing myself with re-writing it. Sorry that it's so long and ty for reading it.
I was born in 1986 to a Jehova’s Witness mother. From what I remember early on, she was very loving and caring. My father, who was also a JW, got another woman pregnant when my mom was about 3 months pregnant, and he ran off with her from Puerto Rico (Where we lived) to the US. My mother and I lived with my grandparents, her parents. We shared a room and had nice times, I was a child so I was content. As I grew older, more was expected of me in the religion while at the same time, I was going through bullying at school (it was my 2nd school, a private school thought to be more safe all though my mother worked at my 1st school.) I have no actual reason as to why the bullying took place other than I was fat, nerdy and had buck teeth.
At the KH, I was expected to be this great elder. My grandfather was the head honcho at our KH, so everyone seemed to treat me like I was destined for it. In my tween years I was praised for giving beautiful speeches (Credit goes to my aunt from FL who got the same speeches a few days before we gave them, so I never really made a speech.) All though everyone said I always did great and was so inspiring, it was nerve wrecking for me. The last time I did a speech I was somewhere in my tweens (Bad memory when it comes to ages) and I remember shacking horribly, breaking out in cold sweat, and my eyes tearing up so much I could barely read. I had to hold onto the podium to not fall over. Once it was done with I wanted to go home, but of course we couldn’t because the meeting wasn’t over.
Somewhere along these lines my mother met my stepfather. He wasn’t a JW, and was only a few years younger than my grandfather (Creepy, I know.) I was given the choice to live with my grandparents or move in with them (Next door) And of course I stayed with my grandparents. I was allowed by my grandmother to skip meetings, she would skip and stay with me. I suffered through horrible depression starting at about age 13. I was constantly “faking” illnesses that to me felt real in order to skip school. I was changed schools for a 2nd time in 6th grade to a public middle school, then after that into a public high school.
At the public high school I rebelled ( I believe quite mildly). I was part of the rocker crew (not many kids into rock in Puerto Rico) and was hanging out with “bad influences” according to my family, but they never actually influenced me to do anything other than skip classes (I had social and school phobia, so I was all up for that).
I was moved to another school on 12th grade because of all my absences (HORRIBLE anxiety whenever I actually stepped into a classroom) and was moved to a school for kids with issues, which allowed me to finish my schooling at home. The 1st time I went to a class I ran into a JW kid that I disliked (first person to try to introduce me to pot, and I freaked out cause it was “evil”) and I just had a panick attack pretty much. I didn’t go again and finish from home.
After that was done, I was introduced to the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale by my best friend (Not a JW) and I fell in love with the idea of Game Art & Design. I fought with my mom for it, had to go to college in PR to prove to her that I would do it in FL. I didn’t last long in that college, as I had horrible anxiety just thinking about going there. I remember once in Spanish class sitting in there for the first 5-15 mins of class having a panick attack and taking all my effort to just grab my bag and leave.
Throughout all this I was chronically depressed. By now I’d been through many anti-depressants and what not and weighted a total of 300 lbs. I was allowed by my mom to move to FL (finally) and my shrink at the moment said I was cured of my depression. I lived in the dorms for a while, drank a few times but it wasn’t my thing. By now I had been smoking cigarettes/cigars as a way to cope with my anxieties and stress. After some time 3 friends and I moved into an apt, and 1 of those friends introduced me (and my best friend) to pot. I decided I would try it after a night of laying in bed trying to go to sleep and doing nothing but bawling my eyes out due to depression. I remember doing research for school and reading it could help with that so I gave it a shot. I’ve ended up becoming dependent on it, as it helped dramatically with my depression, anxiety and stress.
Shortly after I started smoking daily, met my girlfriend, and moved to Orlando with her. My family knows all this (All though they think I’m quitting smoking) and are actually supporting me (Surprising, I know!). I was given a house as a gift (huge gift, I’m used to these) and here we live, my GF and I. I would love to say it all ended with a “Happily ever after” but it didn’t. She has issues with her family (None JWs) and I have issues mine. I think my mother is delusional, because I can’t understand why she doesn’t shun me, but maybe it has to do with the fact that I moved to the states and wouldn’t be surprised if she only tells people good stuff, if anything.
I believe my uncle here in Orlando has decided to stop talking to me, as we were supposed to go into business and what not. The last time I went to a KH meeting was as a favor to my aunt. My uncle had a meeting there where he was a new elder at the time so it was a big deal. He had never had the opportunity of family being there at one of his speeches, so I was like “Sure, why not?” My GF and I were ok with it, as at this point we didn’t know it was a cult or how it had affected me. After the meeting we were surrounded by JWs, my aunt even introduced my GF as my fiancée (we’re not engaged yet). They wanted my phone number and I declined, so instead they gave me theirs (I threw it out). I told him the religion was not for me at the moment, maybe in the future and he respected that…of course, I haven’t heard from him ONCE except for when I needed help finding a mechanic.
I’ve been going to therapy for a while and have gone through a few changes. I had a beard that I’d only shaved once since I was 19 (I’m 25 this nov) which I shaved as I did not want to hide behind it anymore. I was in the process of letting my hair turn into dreadlocks (1 year without brushing it, I still washed it though don’t worry) but after a breakdown at my last appointment I’ve decided to shave my head, as I don’t want to use my hair as a “Look! I’m not a JW! Look at my long hair/dreads!” and want to just be me. It’s a bit nerve wrecking since I haven’t cut my hair in YEARS, and the last time I did I HATED it.
My grandmother has been my rock, as she also sees the same things I see in the religion (She’s at the moment a non-practicing JW, wants nothing to do with most people cause of the hypocrisy. ) I can’t really talk about anything with my mother; for example, I told her how I believe my social phobia and fears with getting a job might stem from JW teachings of everything outside the religion being evil, and she went onto say how those aren’t her beliefs. When I mentioned that I’ve been reading some stuff she went on about apostates. I interrupted her several times and drilled it into her head that what I’m reading comes straight from the Watchtowers and the bible, along with my own personal experiences. She of course, changed the subjected immediately.
Now I am quite happy with my decisions, all though I have all these fears and crap. I have been vegan for 2+ years, since a bit after I met my girlfriend, and have gone down in weight to around 175, stopped smoking tobacco products for about as long also. Hopefully after some thorough therapy and a better effort in keeping myself healthy I will feel much happier about myself in general.