My Shocking Past
Today I thought Id’ share with you another personal post. I recently opened up and shared with you about how I was adopted.
There’s so much in my life that I’m sure no one would ever guess, not even some of my friends.
Which may sound odd but my past is my past and I don’t usually bring it up with anyone.
So what is so shocking?
Well, where do I begin.
And I have to say, this is a huge thing for me to open up about. Like I said, a lot of friends of mine don’t even know about this but I feel like if I have this crazy past life, then maybe someone else does too. Maybe I can help or relate to someone else out there.
So here goes nothing…..
Throughout all my years of school, I had an easy time making friends and loved school. I loved everything about it!
My sister was opposite and didn’t make friends as easily and my mom felt bad about this. They were also quite shy.
As soon as high school came around, I knew it was going to be difficult. I was invited to go out a lot but the answer was always no. I had to beg to go out. Most times it didn’t work. I remember friends coming up the long driveway to my farm and ringing the doorbell. I was always embarrassed. I wanted to go out so badly but couldn’t but I also didn’t want to invite them in.
So I would stay home with a family that rarely talked or socialized and my dad was hardly around.
Problems at home became very hard for me to handle. My family had many problems. I took care of them at times: making dinner, feeding our animals, cleaning, doing laundry and at times mowing the lawn. Not all the time but more than I wanted to. I just felt like I needed to.
At times I felt like Cinderella. I felt like the parent. I also felt like I had no direction. No one asked what I wanted to be when I grow up. I had dreams but felt like they couldn’t be achieved. I felt all alone.
So what was I to do? I think most kids in this same situation would most likely rebel and act out. But I never did. I was always too worried about upsetting my mom and making her problems worse.
But I needed to do something to have a life. I felt completely stifled.
Okay, I’m getting to the shocking part…
One day my mom told me more about how her mother used to take her to church and also to a yearly special event at her church. She asked me to go with her and there I noticed kids from school. At school they would invite me to hang out with them and my mom was more than happy to let me go with them. She felt comfortable letting me hang out with these kids. I couldn’t believe it. I decided to look more into it.
What was this church she took me to? Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses!
(you’re honoured to be witnessing this photo of me in my grunge stage complete with army boots)
I started to read their literature and go to their meetings and see these new friends more. My mother used to go with me in the beginning and then after awhile she didn’t go. It was hard for her to get out. I was allowed to go out and do stuff where I otherwise would not be allowed to leave my home.
Actually, I really liked it at first. Their lives seemed so perfect! Whole families were going to these meetings all together. The dads were supportive and talked to their kids, moms did mom things like entertain and have people over. It was like Pleasantville. At the same time, my dad did NOT like me going. He didn’t like anything about that religion (and now I can see why) but at the time I was very angry with my dad and I think that played into it.
I talked before about battling perfectionism which is hard for anyone to go through but this religion just puts you under a microscope. The standards of perfection are just too high to attain.
Also, some of the first information they give you comes with a lot of pressure and guilt. They tell you that now that you know this information, if you don’t conform to their ways you will die. You will not be saved. And you have to tell others about it or they won’t be saved either.
That is a LOT of pressure to put on a teenager who is battling perfectionism, dealing with family problems and is a people pleaser.
What an awful, fear based way of teaching! So many innocent, naive people out there are being swayed into something that they don’t need to be.
I struggled in this religion for the remainder of my high school years into my 20s. I stayed because I was drawn in to the ‘perfect’ families and the ‘good’ friends.
I met my future husband in this religion. JWs don’t believe in sex before marriage so we got married young like everyone else did. I had all the skills of being an awesome wife since I was doing a lot of the cooking, cleaning, and laundry at home so I thought I might as well start my own life and escape my family.
So when my boyfriend proposed to me, I was still in high school (grade 11). I remember the day we had to tell my dad like it was yesterday. My father was watching sports on TV and when I went in the room with my mom and fiance all I did was show him my ring. He never said a word and went back watching TV.
I don’t remember my mother saying anything either. No one talked me out of it. No one ever said, ‘hey, maybe you should do something different with your life, let’s sit down and figure this out!’ But all I kept thinking was this was my way out. I couldn’t see any other way.
So if you can believe this, I got married when I was 18 while my friends were having fun in their senior year going to their prom.
That September when I should have been starting my grade 12 year of high school, I was planning my upcoming nuptials for the following year. I decided to not go to high school my grade 12 year and do my last year through correspondence. I took the required classes and finished grade 12 in four months. The rest of the time I was planning my wedding and planning out my life and of course attending all the meetings.
Technically, I didn’t have to leave high school but I think I was too embarrassed to be engaged in my senior year and not be able to join in in all the fun. That right there should have been a red flag to me.
I remember my mom calling one day saying that a boy from school called asking me to go to prom with him. Oh my god! I forgot I promised someone I’d go to prom! I just figured that since I wasn’t in school that he’d forget.
(Carter, if you ever read this, I’m extremely sorry. I SO wish I had gone to prom with you!!!)
I think back and just shake my head. This was a pretty typical life for a Jehovah’s Witness so it just seemed like the norm at the time. But I don’t blame anyone, really. It was my decision.
But I know all things happen for a reason. All the paths you take in life get you to where you are today. At least I can say that I spent my time reading the Bible cover to cover instead of getting into drugs although I know I would never have done that anyway.
I wouldn’t change any piece of my life now. My puzzle feels complete.
Because of my family problems, I didn’t talk to my family for years. But you can click the image below to find out how I reconnected with them again.