I've been out for a few years now, officially ousted and shunned for probably a year and a half, maybe even closing in on two years, the exact date eludes me. For a good while, I had no idea what I wanted, or expected from a life that was entirely my own. And given that I was still married to a witness, and one that I cared deeply about, I wasn't overly concerned with what I wanted, so much as how to make things better for her. In the intervening time I think I have done that, and quite well. My wife and I have since bought a nice house (3 bedroom, 2 bath, nice big backyard, hardwood floors, in a nice neighborhood where children feel safe playing in the streets, great home), we have a french bulldog named Niko (she always wanted a dog, but we couldn't have one in our apartment), she has a nice job that she enjoys with worldly friends that she seems to like way more than her witness ones (but that's a different topic for a different time). I've worked hard trying to provide her with a life that is ideal outside of me being a wicked atheist. And she knows it and appreciates it, and doesn't resent me in the least anymore.
After we bought the house, I thought "good, now I can focus a little bit on me". But I had no idea what that meant or what I wanted. Having been in slavery my whole life I didn't really know what I wanted, or what I could expect to even get. Really I had largely been happy just to not have to go to spend hours listening to lies, and guilt, or go to people's doors and annoy people that don't want me there. Even though I left "the truth", I've still been working for the same witness family that owns a large cleaning company (they are elders and ex-missionaries and greedy and corrupt as any oil tycoon) simply because that's all I knew how to do, and even though it was miserable and frequently infuriating, it was a comfortable sort of misery. One where I knew what to expect. One where I was not in the least bit surprised every time my Elder boss would demand that I go to his house (a grandiloquent three story log cabin), to do his landscaping, or do construction work on the new apartment he is building for his 14 and 16 year old daughters so they don't have to ever move away or work for a living. I was completely used to being the man servant of a family that got rich taking advantage of and abusing their authority in the congregation, and the endless supply of janitors at their disposal. It was miserable, but comfortable.
I love science and math and knowledge and envied those academics, scientists and engineers whose exploits I read about online, and in books thinking that as great as those were, it was the kind of life that I would never live. I was a window washer with a fifth grade education. But I'm changing that now. Small steps, but I know where I want to go and I think I can get there if I work hard for it.
I just got a job for worldly people (which I haven't had in probably more than eight years), I'll be doing asset protection for an electonics store. Not glamorous work, but the managers said that hard workers get to move to the departments that they want to work in, and I plan into getting an entry level job in their IT department working on computer repair, set up, and troubleshooting. It's a ladder to climb, something I never had working for witnesses. But even better, they offer tuition assistance, which leads to the main part of my plan. I'm going to be enrolling in a state community college for mechanical engineering, and I'll work on getting my associates of science degree while I hold down a job. After that I'll work on getting my bachelors, and then to grad school for a masters, but one step at a time.
I've been isolated so long, I'm honestly looking forward to just interacting with normal people. I've worked for witnesses ever since I left, I have no friends or family outside of my wife and dog. Now the place I will be working at is filled with men and women that are around my age and demographic that all seem so friendly and nice. The atmosphere there is friendly and laid back, but still professional. I really hope I do well there. And then I'll get to go to school with students, other people that are trying to educate themselves, people that understand at least some kind of math and science. Another thing I never had working with witnesses. Things are looking up, I'm getting my life in order. I'm not just going to mope around and be a victim of a cult my whole life. I'm going to take my life back, and make my own future. Wish me luck.