I had an interesting conversation with Bobby (*some names have been changed) last weekend. He's also a successful fader going back several years before me. But I found we had something in common that I hadn't realized.
Bobby had never been particularly happy growing up. He admitted that when a high school teacher asked him what he wanted to be when he grew up, he replied, "Happy." He hated giving talks, preaching, and all the other stuff required of the young brothers who were "reaching out." He didn't want to do any of it, but because he was in a JW family, he had to play along. During the time after I moved away to slave in bethel, he began his fade. During the brief era when WT lightened up on "higher education," he left his crappy, going-nowhere job and went to university to get a degree. During this time he became inactive and got on with his life. And he became happy. It was enough of a transformation that when his mother would try to "encourage" him to attend, he could truthfully say, "but I'm happy now." And since they weren't a particularly die-hard JW family and had already lost some of their members to disfellowshipping, they're glad to take him as he is.
My story is different because I did all the stuff that young brothers were supposed to do. I did it well. I was accepted to bethel. I "slaved my way up" to what would have been considered a very prestigious position with lots of "privileges" (which is just another word for more unpaid work). But I was so terribly depressed that I let it all unravel. Perhaps I'll tell more details another time. But I had gotten to be so messed up that my parents were really, really worried about me. After I got out of bethel, I was somewhat "better." At least I got back to having some humor, but I was still really dark. And I made a lot of "Debbie Downer" remarks:
- What's the use of ___________, it's all going to get destroyed soon.
- To think that I could have had a career, married, and had kids by now. Instead I'm broke and alone.
- The news of _________ disaster is so sad, but I suppose we'd better get used to the idea of billions of little children getting slaughtered.
I wasn't a downer all of the time, but enough that the point was understood. I'd done everything a JW kid was supposed to do, but I'd been betrayed. If I would have done less "spiritually", I could have had a life. And my comments also shed light on the notion that long bothered me, that in order for me to enjoy a panda-petting paradise, billions of people would have to be slaughtered.
Bobby and I have the same next step... we faded and became happy. As I mentioned in my other thread, I still have a good relationship with my parents. Actually, I think I have a better relationship with them now because I'm much happier now.
So in comparing notes with Bobby, we found that we both had played the depression card, and done it very honestly. We made it very clear that we were depressed BEFORE we faded. However, the antidote was discovered... we both faded from the miserable world of WT slavery and enjoyed a miraculous cure. The brothers can't get away with the line, "you'd have a much happier and more successful life if you came back." Like I want to go back to listen how billions of innocent people will die very soon because I couldn't convince them to worship the BG by reading some colorful little magazines? That is NOT happifying.
And frankly, I think my parents find the JW treadmill increasingly depressing, but they can't give up the carrot of everlasting life with the pandas and the resurrection. The meetings have become beatings to do more and to give more. The COs are burdensome. The assemblies are reminders that another year has passed without the promised big A and they can visit to find out who's died since the last time, or whose kids have also "left da troof." At least the way it's been recently, they seem to be happy not to talk about "spiritual stuff" and talk about "normal stuff" instead.
Let's hear your comments...