Summer of 1992 - All is well, graduated from high school as the salutatorian. One would think I had college dreams, but alas I did not. I was planning to take my Data Information Processing certificate and get a part-time job while I pioneered! Yee-haw!
Fall of 1992 - Regular pioneer application DENIED by my elders. Reason - the pioneer youth in our congo, were the elite. They all had two parents, nice homes in the suburbs, elder daddys, pioneer mamas. Me, I was from the HOOD, schizophrenic welfare mama, missing-in-action daddy. Yeah, I wasn't what they wanted. Actually I was asked to switch congos because I didn't live in their congo's suburban territory! NIIIICE, right?
I did not move, however, because my best friends were there and I was in love with the Bethel bound, Darren.
After being denied the 'privilege' of pioneering, I decided to get a full-time job. This was frowned on by my friends, especially Darren. He told me that I should be pioneering anyway with or without the title. Yeah, his heart was in the right place, I guess...
Spring of 1993 - Met and fell in love with the ridiculously handsome, decidedly untheocratic, Emilio. I was out of the pioneer clique, because, of course there HAD to be some reason why I wasn't allowed to pioneer. Some secret sin, perhaps? But this led me to spend lots and lots of time with Emilio. His mother was a pioneer, but she was a HOOD pioneer, single mama who's four kids weren't thinking about baptism, much less Bethel.
Fall of 1993 - Lost Emilio because I wanted to remain a virgin. Was ridiculously depressed about the loss. No one cared that I'd started missing meetings. Funny, everyone has your number when it's time for the committee meeting, but they don't even remember your name when it comes to "shepherding".
Spring of 1994 - Switched congregations and started to feel my time running out to find a husband. I was 20 years old, but the best guys were going to Bethel or marrying the "cream of the crop". Being a cute girl from the hood with a crazy mama didn't land me there. I dated guys who were supposedly in "my league" as far as JWs went, and this was an exercise in futility. Intelligent conversation - zip, life goals - zip. Frustration ensued.
Summer of 1994 - Started a friendship/romance with an elder's son, Brendan, with whom I had a lot in common. We were both into poetry, rap music and other extra-curricular activities. We didn't consummate the relationship officially, but did every unoffical act in the book. This guy refused to claim me as his girlfriend because his parents wouldn't approve. This began an on-again, off-again ordeal that I hoped would end in marriage.
Spring of 1995 - After no relationship progress with Brendan, I felt doomed to old-maidom. I walked aimlessly around the corridors at the district conventions hoping to be noticed by someone who wasn't too gross. As fate would have it, I rekindled the flame with Emilio, this time determined that he was my soulmate and we were going to be together.
Summer of 1995 - Unceremoniously lost my virginity to Emilio. A week later, found out that two non-JW girls were carrying his children. Continued the relationship, in spite of this, hoping that I would be the girl he married in the end. I know....really STUPID. But I was 21. I was stupid. Finally, Emilio decided to marry the mother of his child (the other girl lost the baby), because he wanted to be a good father. Depression resumed.
Winter of 1995 - Fresh from his own break-up, resumed relationship with Brendan. Because we were both no longer virgins, it was easier to go down that path. But not without the required guilt, shame, etc. Meeting attendance was sporadic at this time, because Emilio and his new wife attended my congregation.
Spring of 1996 - This was the beginning of the end for me. The guilt feelings caught up, and I wanted to do the right thing. Talked to Brendan about going to the elders and confessing. He was against it, because of his father's position and because he thought I had too many things to report. He said that one offense would get me a private reproof, but I had several, so I would definitely be disfellowshipped. I didn't believe that there was a "three strikes" rule, so I convinced Brendan to repent with me. He really had no choice, because I was going and I had to name names.
My series of committee meetings were mental rape. Plain and simple. I had heard rumors about the questions that the elders asked, but I always thought they were rumors. But when I was asked how many times I climaxed, if I'd been abused as a child, if we'd used protection, I was left with a sick feeling. I thought I'd feel free after confessing. I felt tried, convicted, sentenced, abused, afraid and suicidal. Afraid that I would be disfellowshipped and completely alone. I was raised a JW and there was no one in my circle of friends who wasn't a JW.
After being hospitalized for an attempted suicide (took pills at work and was rushed to the hospital), I finally received my sentence - public reproof. While my elder's son boyfriend received private reproof at his congregation...Of course, we had to break up. Marriage was out of the question; I was damaged goods. The elders, though, did inform me of a potential suitor. A guy in our congregation had inquired about me. He was mildly retarded. I wish I was making this up!
Fall of 1996 - Enrolled in a business college. Decided I was too smart to do manual labor for the rest of my life (was a letter carrier for the post office). After a few semesters, met the man I would later marry. Guess what? He was handsome, smart, and heads and shoulders above every JW guy I'd ever dated. Actually, if he had been a JW, he probably wouldn't have looked my way.
Joined my very first church. Was promptly scared to death. Started reading the Bible without the JW "publications", found out that I knew nothing about God. I remember reading the gospels and wondering where all the mercy and grace was with the JWs.
Got baptized again, this time not under duress, but because I really wanted a change in my life.
Spring 2005 -Got my first book deal. Wanted to write about my experiences with the JWs. It was too painful so I wrote something else...
Winter 2008 - Started writing "In the Midst of it All", the story of my slow-fade escape. When I finished it, my editor had three words. "I LOVE IT."
February 2010 - "In the Midst of It All" will be available wherever books are sold. Read an excerpt at www.tiffanylwarren.com/inthemidstofitall.htm
If you read down this far, thank you :) Been meaning to get this off my chest for awhile.