I have lurked around the site for about 3 months and finally decided to join. This will be my first time creating a topic here. A little backstory for me. I am a second generation JW. Currently in my early 30's. Both parents were raised as JWs, so I was thrown into the fun by way of birth. So from birth until about 13 years old, I was regularly attending meetings and book studies. Hated every second of it. Elementary school was exceptionally hard during the holidays. I was always singled out and bullied by the other kids for not participating in the holiday festivities or birthday celebrations for fellow students. Always grilled with questions as to why I didn't salute the flag or celebrate holidays. I grew to resent being a JW during those times. When I was 13, my older brother was arrested for attempted murder because of a drive by shooting he was involved in that left 2 people paralyzed (it's a really long story that I will share in greater detail another time). After that went down, my family was treated like pariahs. It really did a number on my family. They ended up going inactive for about 2 years. Once they started becoming active again, I was 15 going on 16, and by that time, I had firmly made it clear that I was not going back. They made some attempts to guilt me into going by using the whole "Look at how much you are hurting your Grandmother by not going to the meetings! All we want is for you to have a good relationship with Jehovah!" nonsense, but kinda gave up on it when they realized I wasn't susceptible to their brand of manipulation.
Although I was POMO since my early teens, I found that some of the indoctrination I endured as a child really reared it's ugly head and caused me to feel this lingering sense of guilt about celebrating holidays and birthdays. Even up until last year, I was still feeling guilty about celebrating Christmas. This year, I just let all that guilt go and fully enjoyed myself for the first time. Words cannot explain how liberating it is to finally free myself of the mental and emotional chains that were instilled in me as a child. Just wanted to share this with everyone. Thanks for listening!