A brief precursor about myself. I've been lurking around for almost 2 years. I'm 31 and was a born-in, but unbaptized member. My parents were fairly gung-ho about anything Watchtower related and of my three older siblings, I have one sister that is still in and was, at one point, a baptized publisher and special pioneer. When faced with baptism after studying the "Knowledge" book, I realized that there was no backing out after I took the plunge, so... I simply elected to not do it. I went to college, partied and experienced quite a bit of freedom... that I was ultimately unprepared to deal with. Now I'm married and have a small child. We don't have anything to do with the Witnesses but I'm realizing there are quite a few residual problems starting to pop up that come along with growing up Dub...
The Thief of Always
When I was in 7th grade our English/Grammar teacher assigned the book "The Thief of Always" by Clive Barker (check out the Wiki article) to us for a reading assignment. The gist of the story is that a young man by the name of Harvey Swick realizes how unhappy he is in the world. Then, one day, a man named Rictus flies up to Harvey's bedroom window and introduces him to this wonderful place called the Holiday House. The Holiday House is a place of perpetual fun, a place with Christmas and Halloween every day... essentially a place where every childlike desire can be fulfilled. So, Harvey, being as gullible as a child can be, decides to follow Rictus to the Holiday House. Harvey steps through a mist like fog and, lo and behold, there it is. Everything Rictus promised. At the outset, Harvey had quite a bit of fun and even made some new friends. He ended up staying for about a month, really a blink of the eye in the big scheme of things. But after a while, the reality of the situation started to shine through to Harvey and he realized that Holiday House wasn't everything it was cracked up to be. Harvey realized that the House's creator, Mr. Hood, was actually imprisoning the children and sucking their souls away. So, Harvey decides (and actually manages) to escape. But once he gets back to the old world he realizes that his parents have aged drastically and he's basically missed out on his entire life...
I won't spoil the ending, but... sound familiar?
I'm Approaching 32 and in Group Therapy
Well, there it is. I've been attending a group therapy session for the past 2 months because I have anxiety and depression I just can't shake. So, it's helpful for me to talk to others about it. In speaking with the therapist, I realized the crux of most of my issues stem from... you guessed it, being raised in a high-control religious setting. But, until last night, it didn't really hit home. Our therapy sessions usually have a theme. Last week, we took turns role-playing the therapist. This week, we were put on the spot and asked to sing a song (kind of like karaoke). The purpose is to make us uncomfortable as a means to get us to honestly assess our current situation. After one group member got up and sang, the discussion started. 'Why aren't you getting up and singing? When has this happened at other times in your life? When have you been too afraid to make a choice and missed out on an opportunity?' For many in the room, it wasn't an issue of missing out on an opportunity, but rather making decisions that didn't work out for the best. One person in particular made a series of poor decisions and is having a difficult time mentally recovering from the consequences. But he then offered to us a certain hobby that he does that gives him a great sense of passion. Something that, when he does it, he does well and he's in the zone. He has the proverbial fire in his belly.
The therapist turned to me and asked "YinzerDad, what gives you this fire in your belly?" I broke down. 31 years old and I burst into tears in front of complete strangers. Because I've never been confronted with the reality into which my upbringing placed me. "I don't know. I don't have anything I'm passionate about... because growing up I was never afforded the opportunity to plan for this point in my life. I ride to work every day to cash a check. I'm not passionate about my job. I have no plans for my future."
Because I was taught, from an early age that I wouldn't live in this world this long. I was promised a Holiday House (sans those pesky pagan holidays!) where everything is perfect. And it was great. Until I realized that not everything was as it seems. I found Mr. Hood and I didn't like how he treated people. So I left. But once I finally managed to break through the mist surrounding my own personal Holiday House, I realized that life was passing me by. And I didn't know how to cope with it. And I still don't know how, but I'm trying...
The Thieves of Always?
We talk a lot on this forum about how the WTBS mentally enslaves people by hijacking family relationships and hiding pedophile abuse. Which is all true and all very serious. But it also robs us of things we can't get back: time and imagination. I can reinvent my career right now if I choose. Gods willing I have 50 or 60 more years on this earth. But some people can't. Like those in their 70s or 80s that have seen the "generation" teaching get so freaking bright they just can't see anymore. Or don't care to. What I can't get back is my childlike ability to imagine what I want to be when I grow up. Because that's what kids do. And it is a fundamental point in childhood development because that's when you develop a passion for something. It could be a passion for leadership, for sports... something. I was never afforded the opportunity to do that. Because the end was nigh. When studying the "Knowledge" book, I asked the Elder "When is the end going to happen."
His response, "We don't know when, but soon."
"Will I graduate high school?", I asked.
Well, I did graduate college. And graduate school. And now, I'm 31, at a perfunctory job, attending group therapy and honestly cannot answer the question "What are you passionate about?" Because I was robbed of something I can never get back.
Thanks for reading.