Most of you recognize that line from The Godfather III, which wasn't the greatest film in my opinion, but that line was classic. It perfectly depicts my life as it stands now. I'm at a crossroads in life, and my heart is being tugged in different directions. I've been active on this forum for over a year, and I wanted to share a few thoughts. I need to get this off my chest, as doing so is therapeutic. I've never actually posted "my story" per say on here, partially because its a work in progress. Also, because its not anything that most of you haven't already heard before. Plus I don't like talking about myself, which is partially why I ended up on this board in the first place. Anyways, here it is for what its worth.
During my teenage years, and young adult years, I did the "double life" thing. Personally I believe 90% of JW youth have lived double lives at one point or another. Although there's no statistical way to prove it, I believe the ones that really went buckwild behind the scenes, turned out to be the more die hard JWs later on in life as the matured into adults with responsibilities. My own life and others I've known supports this personal theory. I live in what I'd call a semi-major city. Its a city in flux, transitioning from a historically blue collar town, to a white collar metropolis. During my teenage years, gangbangin introduced its ugly head. Neighborhoods that were already at each others throats, became color coded during those years. The dope game as a result became more organized. The neighborhood I lived in took sides with the blue team. I was never initiated, but because I grew up with these guys, it made me affiliated. My entire wardrobe consisted of various shades of blue. Despite 1 Cor 15:33 being permanently stamped in my brain, its much easier said than done selecting who you choose to surround yourself with at a young age.
Its funny looking back, because I was on one hand attending meetings, going out in field service, running mics, doing the stage, getting praised for how I handled #4 talks, helping out with literature, etc.. I was an exemplary JW when I needed to be. At school, and in the streets, I was somebody else. Some of the witnesses I grew up with in the congregation were involved with similar activities. The JW background served as a barrier preventing any of us from dabbling too much into street life which is a good thing in hindsight. I'm not in touch with any of those other born-ins, so I can't speak on behalf of them all. They'd probably agree with me that its hell on a person's conscience when living a double life of that degree. Not to mention the paranoia of getting caught and having to face a judicial committee and bringing shame on your family's name.
One instance, for example, on a Monday in the middle of the summer, I'm sitting on the curb outside of a neighborhood baseball field. There's three other dudes with me. I'm dressed in baggy and slightly sagging khaki shorts, matching Timberland boots only partially laced, an oversized white tee shirt, and an LA Dodger fitted hat tilted to the side. The other three with me are dressed similar. That day we were chillin, nothing really going on. Anyways this minivan is coming down the street in our direction. We're paying attention to this van, but we're not being too obvious about it. For one thing, it could be Task Force, which I wasn't all that paranoid about because I never sold dope anyway. The others with me did, so they were a little more paranoid. Or it could be rivals, but thats unlikely because a minivan isn't exactly the best vehicle to shoot out of. Plus the vehicle was too clean. The last possibility was, it could be a customer looking to satisfy their fix. Or it could just be some random family. Like I said in the past on other threads, this neighborhood wasn't exactly South Central LA, but definately not Beverly Hills. When the van got close enough, it was actually something worse than all of the previously mentioned. It was the Service Overseer, with another elder in the passenger seat doing RVs, or sherperding calls!!!! Imagine that, the guys I'm with are paranoid over Task Force catching them with little white rocks in their pockets, and I'm paranoid that these two elders will recognize me and, #1 embarrass me in front of my friends, or #2 tell my parents about the type of people I'm hanging out with. Not a good feeling. After a while, situations such as this add up, and it gets tiresome trying to balance both worlds. Eventually I had to give one up. The only problem with that is, I traded in one double life for another.
The other double life that I got involved with and later stopped because it was too difficult to manage, was my dealings with the opposite sex. Every guy goes through a period where he thinks he's the player of all players. I thought I was God's gift to women back then. Its funny how as a teenager you start off getting a girl's phone number, and your ego goes through the roof. Telling your boys, "I got the digits bruh! I knew I would anyway. I'm a mack." The reality is you're an immature kid and scared you'll be labeled a lame for not talking to girls. Not to mention I was scared even when with a girl. Can't tell you how many times a girl said to me, "just relax." I wanted to tell them, "how can I relax when Jehvoah is watching us!!" Eventually something has to give and when you're young and immature, urges win out over conscience. Thinking back, my first kiss was in my dad's minivan. I had just got my license, and he let me borrow the van. She worked at McDonalds, and when she got off, I picked her up after work. Before I picked her up, I hid all the random Awake and Watchtower magazines under the seats. Yep, she was worldly, as were the majority of the hook-ups I had back then. I took her home, and I'll never forget her grabbing my head and sticking her tongue down my throat. Greatest feeling in the world. It was a strange experience when it happened, but oh so wonderful. When she got out and closed the door, I noticed her McDonalds visor. I honked the horn, and motioned her over to get it. Close call, too close. I don't know how I would have explained to my parents why a McDonalds Visor was on the floor in front of the passenger seat.
Needless to say, her and I didn't work out too well. Thats the case with any double life dating. At the same time, its frustrating as a young man, because your sex drive is insane. I used to pray out of anger to God like, "why is my sex drive so strong? You don't want me to get married too early because I'm immature, but you curse me with a sex drive? Why? Why are you doing this to me?" Certain times I just couldn't hack it, and gave into my desires. During the act, its thrilling, ya know? When I got my first car, I was really out of line. I'm 19 and doing 60 on the blvd with a girl's head in my lap, and she wasn't napping. You know what that does to a guy's ego? After that incident and others, I'd go home and pray for hours with real tears begging for forgiveness, and promising each time I'd never do it again. Just like I explained about hanging with the wrong crowd, hooking up with women and trying to hide it just becomes tiresome. My conscience was killing me, and I was tired of being so paranoid. So I gave it all up. Everything.
I was still an exemplary brother in the congregation despite all of my hidden activities. So when I straightened up, and took the JW lifestyle seriously, I excelled. My field service time was always above the national average. As a Ministerial Servant, I was giving talks away at other congregations. My parents are happy, the congregation adores me. My name is surfacing in other neighboring congregations. The other Ministerial Servants were wondering how long it would take for me to get appointed as they acknowledged that I passed them up as a teacher, and a speaker. The night the brothers pulled me to the side and asked whether or not I'd accept the appointment of being an elder, I was incapable of saying no. My whole life I had been saying yes, to any assignment given to me. I was trained like a dog to perform. Sit Ubu sit, good dog. That was me. When I was still under my folks roof, my dad caught wind of me turning down a part on the Circuit Assembly. He ripped into me. Let me have it. Pounding his fist on the glass table for emphasis. That's the kind of pressure put on JW youth. Many of us never reached out genuinely, but rather we did it because we were trained to. I was no exception, so I naturally said yes to my appointment. Second worst mistake of my life, with the first being getting baptized into this religion in the first place.
There's more I want to share, but I'm going to the submit tab now because I don't know if it will all fit in one post.