As the new year opens, I have been thinking back on my life for the past few years. Before we get started, I want to tell you a little about myself. I was born on August 5, 1989. I was born a 4th generation Jehovah’s Witness. My parents split up when I was 8yeard old. As a kid, I didn’t really fit in with a lot of other kids. Mainly because I was one of Jehovah’s Witnesses and I wasn’t allowed to have friends that weren’t. With Jehovah’s Witnesses that was considered “bad association.” When I was 21, I came out. I had a boyfriend that I was madly in love with and I wanted to be with him. I was subsequently disfellowshipped. For those of you that don’t know what that is, it means I was excommunicated. December marked four years since I was disfellowshipped from the Jehovah’s Witnesses. I had decided that I really didn’t want to be one anymore, but before I had the chance to leave on my own, they found out that I had a boyfriend. Since I didn’t break up with him, they kicked me out. I was pretty upset, even though I didn’t want to be one anymore. When you are disfellowshipped, you are no longer permitted any interaction with anyone that is still one of Jehovah’s Witnesses. That includes family. December 5, 2016, makes 4 years that I have not spoken to my grandparents, aunts, and mother. It sucks, especially since my mother lives about 3 minutes from my husband and me.
About 2 years after being disfellowshipped, I met the man I would eventually marry. We dated and were engaged quickly to some, but in my ex-JW mind, it was normal. See, Jehovah’s Witnesses don’t date for very long before getting married. They aren’t casual daters. My husband and I were engaged in 6 months and married 9 months later. It wasn’t a big wedding, but there were some really important people missing. Out of my entire family, only one aunt and two cousins and my sister came. No parents or step parents, no grandparents. It didn’t matter to me, though. I had the people that were in my life there.
Flash forward to almost two years after the wedding. My husband and I are still happily married and looking to the future with some optimism. Sometimes, it still feels weird when I think about it. If I were still one of Jehovah’s Witnesses, I would not be married to the man that I love, but I would still have my family. As hard as it may be, I don’t regret anything.