Once upon a time not that long ago, in a land not so far away, there was a young girl. That girl was me. Born into a lifestyle that did not suit my young soul, and forced to cooperate and praise the one true God – Jehovah. I was an innocent child, very naive, very trusting. People expected a lot from me, being the first child of the next generation of Jehovah’s Witnesses in my family.
Every day brought got harder over time, slowly degrading my inherent need to loved by everyone. Wake up. Go to school. Get straight A’s. Come home. Tell me about your day. Do your homework. Study for the meeting. Dress appropriately. Make sure to comment at the meeting. Go to bed. Repeat. With slight variations of course.
I did everything they told me to do; hide my emotions, don’t get angry, be a sweet little girl. Never speak too loud, never think bad thoughts – for Jehovah will hear them, and you will never live happily ever after, and your whole family will forget you ever existed.
Jump forward a few years.
I finally left just a few years back, and now I am happily in a healthy relationship. Even though my whole family considered him “bad association,” I thought he was pretty nice. Nicer than they ever were to my needs as a human being anyways (HaHa). Now I didn’t have so much on my plate, I had time to think, time to love, time to grow. It was a golden time, I had escaped, life was simpler now. All I had to do was: Go to school. Do homework. Go on a walk. Do some yoga. Play some video games. Go to sleep with the man I love. Wake up. Repeat. With slight variations of course.
But somehow still, I felt guilty every day.
Guilty that I had betrayed my family. Guilty that I betrayed God. As much as this time was filled with a new kind of light I had never experienced, it was also filled with a pit of darkness I had never felt so strongly. I remember the first time I celebrated my birthday, I was sixteen. I remember my first Christmas, I was seventeen. And as much as I was happy to be able to do the things all the “normal” kids got to do, I still felt a deep pit inside of me. I wasn’t allowed to be doing these things. When the world finally ends, I will not survive, because I celebrated my birthday. My whole family would be happy without me, because I celebrated Christmas.
I found new ways to cope, he helped me a lot. His view on the world was so pure, so free. He helped me live peacefully. Until I was scrolling through my feed one night, and I saw the headline, screaming at me:
The prophecies were all true. The end was just beginning. And I left.
Never before had I seen my world turn to black, so fast. I couldn’t breathe. Every sin I had ever committed, flashing through my mind faster than I could gasp for air. This was it, the end of days, and I was on the wrong side of the final war. I could faintly hear a voice asking me what had happened, but it was drowned out by the screams of my guilt.
I still think about it every day: This virus is definitely a sign of Armageddon, they mentioned there would be lots of “pestilence.” OH! They said that “brother would fight brother,” or something like that, so this war is definitely a sign…
They programmed me.
Every single day, I live with this parasite living inside of me. It demands that I fear the world. It demands that I hate every single thought I have – or else.
But I kill it every single day. It has almost been six years since I killed it for the first time, and it gets easier every day. I do not mourn the relationships I have lost. I celebrate the ones I have gained. I don’t fear speaking my mind. I write it until I have purged all that is left of my fragile psyche. They will not control me anymore. I will continue fighting this infection until it kills me; because truth matters more than anything else in this world.
They may have promised me a “perfect world,” but I am loving everything about the life that I have, and that’s okay.
“If you can convince people that freedom is injustice, they will then believe that slavery is freedom.”Stefan Molyneux