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Author Topic: How Does One Live With Two Hearts?  (Read 1184 times)

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Offline LadySkyTopic starter

How Does One Live With Two Hearts?
« on: July 09, 2009, 08:43:17 PM »
Deciding to write this particular blog has taken me several weeks. I am naturally one that likes to keep all my online goings on light and upbeat. Discussing politics or religion is not something I find myself interested in, the fact is I shy away from these discussions, perhaps even run screaming.

There is a very good reason this has been my choice, my life has been steeped in religious controversy, it has been my every waking moment from the day I entered this world. Recently however, I have made several big decisions concerning my life path, my future, and my beliefs. Unable to share this with anyone other than two close family members I find I need an outlit, a release. That brings me to this blog.....

I should first explain that I am one of Jehovah's Witnesses, or rather, I was one. A bit of history will help to explain why I am in this particular place in my life. Neither of my parents were raised as Jehovah's Witnesses. My father was raised Pentecostal and my mother Southern Baptist. However by the time I was born they were both devout Jehovah's Witnesses. My mother had one sibling who also was a JW and my father had two brothers who joined as well. I have a great number of family that are not and my father moved us to Texas in order to stay away from them, I was never allowed to really get to know any of them. From the moment I was born my entire life was being a JW. It is all I have ever known, the only people I have ever known have been JW's since JW's do not associate with people outside of their religion. This has NEVER sat well with me.

I have been a rebel from the moment I was born. My childhood was a good one, my parents doted on me, I played and was spoiled rotten. It was when I started school that my problems began. Unable to fit in with people I played with everyday was pure hell for me. I spent years trying to sneak around and join in with all the fun and happiness of holidays without getting caught by my family. Then again, I truly believed what my parents had taught me and felt ripped down the middle at the age of 5! A prime example came in kindergarten, my teacher did not like me and when it came time to color a Santa Claus picture I refused, having been taught that he was evil. My teacher spanked me and I colored it afterwards. I went home fearing the wrath I was sure my father would release upon me for having done something so horrible. He did not punish me but the war that ensued with him and my teacher was disastrous. The rest of my kindergarten year was pure hell.

This set the tone for the years to come. Never allowed to see any of my fellow students outside of school I was often totally alone. In my church there were several other children my age but to say I did not fit in with them is a drastic understatement. I was wild, loud, full of energy, and always boy crazy. My life was lonely and sad until we moved to a new town and I found myself in a church full of teens that were exactly like myself! For the next two years I explored every sexual desire, curiosity, and question I had developed. Being a sexual being, I had many many of them! To say I was torn does not begin to describe what I felt. Eventually my guilty conscious made me so sick I lost 25 pounds, could not eat, and suffered severe nightmares. My parents knew I was living a double life and tried to get me to admit it to them. Eventually I did, I told on myself, my friends, everyone. This was when I chose to leave behind all the world had to offer and become exactly what my family wanted me to be.

I fully admit that pleasing those who I love is a huge factor in my life. When does that become dangerous I ask? When you live your life totally against everything you truly are. I was baptised at 15 years old. I became a full-time minister at 15 as well. My parents had taken me out of school after 7th grade and placed me in home school due to my boyfriend issues. I lived the next few years of my life making everyone happy, everyone except myself. In order to get away from my parents I married the first man that came along, I was 17 years old and he turned out to be a very big mistake. For 10 years I stayed in a bad marriage, continuing to live my life as others told me I was expected to. Enough was enough and I finally left getting my divorce. Was that the beginning of my freedom? NO.

I find myself now living back with my mother, trapped in a life I do not want to live. I am not one to stay that way for long though and I will be damned if I look back in ten years and realized I wasted my 30s just as I wasted my 20s. My two cousins have lived much the same life I have and now we are together making plans to leave all this and start our lives anew. My question is now, is it wrong that I am planning to simply leave my mother behind and turn my back on her? Is it wrong that I am unwilling to stay and live how she wants me to? Am I a coward for running to a new life far away from those that I have know my entire life? Most importantly, how does one leave something that they actually have great belief in? I believe what my parents have taught me, I believe that my study of the Bible has been accurate. I also believe that I am open minded and cannot accept a life where any kind of life and idea is acceptable.

How does one not allow themselves to be torn into by their own guilty conscious?

Offline ShrowdedPoet

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Re: How Does One Live With Two Hearts?
« Reply #1 on: July 09, 2009, 08:53:51 PM »
There is never anything wrong with trying to find yourself.  I suggest you read the play "A Doll House".

Offline Oniya

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Re: How Does One Live With Two Hearts?
« Reply #2 on: July 09, 2009, 11:03:14 PM »
I have also chosen a different religious path from my parents, as has my husband.  Leaving that 'nest', as it were, is not wrong - it's more wrong, in my opinion, to pretend you are following a path when you really aren't in your heart.  That was why I couldn't remain Roman Catholic. 

You don't have to 'turn your back' on your mother by moving out - although if she is as devout as you say, she may choose to cut the ties.  My mother and I cannot see eye to eye, but my husband and his mother have a mutual respect that has kept that tie very strong.

This is not your 'fault'.  It's not something that carries blame for anyone.

Offline LadySkyTopic starter

Re: How Does One Live With Two Hearts?
« Reply #3 on: July 10, 2009, 11:44:45 AM »
Is it a cult or is it simply restrictive?

Many people find themselves at odds with the beliefs they were raised with. Many find that their families cannot or will not accept the life they choose to live. I find myself making this difficult decision. Jehovah's Witnesses have a very strict set of life rules. Laws that everyone must live by. What happens when a member chooses to no longer obey?

Dis-fellowshipping is what happens. I can simply never return and no longer engage in the public preaching activities of Jehovah's Witnesses. If fact this is exactly what I am doing currently, I no longer attend or engage in the activities of the church. The members of my congregation call, visit, and make efforts to bring me back into the fold but I simply ignore this. This I can live with, this I can handle. What happens though when I meet someone and engage in fornication? What if I decide to celebrate my birthday or get a tattoo? What happens if church elders discover that I read erotica and masterbate or that I watch rated R movies?

Dis-fellowshipped is what I will be. Once my transgressions are discovered if I am unwilling to repent and stop all such activity I will be dis-fellowshipped. What does this mean? It means my friends, my family, everyone I have ever known in my lifetime will no longer be allowed to speak to me. My mother will no longer be allowed to live with me, my friends and family will not even wave to me from across a parking lot. I will no longer exist to them. As you can imagine, this is a decision one cannot take lightly. My entire life has been lived in fear of this punishment, this abandonment. My two cousins and I have made the choice that we are going to accept this punishment, our happiness is more important to us, we can no longer live under the rules of Jehovah's Witnesses.

Moving away will enable us to start anew, will prevent me from having to live near my own mother yet be unable to speak to her. My mother will be heartbroken when this finally occurs. I find however, that I cannot live my life in a prison. How does the heart accept this knowledge that my brain so readily embraces?

Offline Oniya

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Re: How Does One Live With Two Hearts?
« Reply #4 on: July 10, 2009, 12:42:01 PM »
I know it's not much consolation, but you do have your cousins, so you won't be completely adrift.  Also, I have a friend who has been 'shunned' by the Mennonites (although he didn't bother to show up for his 'shunning') which is a very similar type of break, so I have at least a second-hand idea about that.  (Roman Catholics have 'excommunication', but it's not nearly as severe - I think my brother got excommunicated when he married a Baptist, and I might have been by the time my parents sat through my very non-traditional wedding.)

Crazy question, but - what happens if you move away before an actual dis-fellowshipping?  You'd be out of the view-space of the church elders, so your activities might not even be discovered.  Admittedly, you'd still be living away from your mother, but it would be 'leaving' instead of being 'exiled'.  (Not sure how far you were planning on moving to begin with, so forgive me if I've underestimated anything or anybody.)

Offline LadySkyTopic starter

Re: How Does One Live With Two Hearts?
« Reply #5 on: July 10, 2009, 12:50:46 PM »
Actually that is the plan. If I simply move away and they cannot contact me I will never be dis-fellowshipped officially. My mother will be able to at least speak to me that way, however I doubt she will. Her anger will be of a great magnitude I am sure. I am planning to move to Montana next summer so the distance will be great and my sincere hope is that my cousins and I will begin anew with a fresh slate and a new future. Having them with me and doing this together is proving to be the strength and support I need to see this through.

Leaving everyone and everything behind is not easy but it is something I feel I must do in order to find personal fulfillment.

Offline Mnemaxa

Re: How Does One Live With Two Hearts?
« Reply #6 on: July 11, 2009, 01:42:39 AM »
I've been known to give minor advice and suggestions to those with trouble, basing some of it on my philosophy/religion.  I do not ordinarily do this for people who have problems with their own faith, unless given specific permission, as I have asked for from Lady Sky.

Growing up in a religious environment is not a bad thing in and of itself.  The problems stem from the growth of heart and mind beyond what you are taught to expect as a member of the religious belief structure.  Most religions are directed at mature minds and spirits, which is not what a child is.  You can indoctrinate a child into a belief structure, but that only accounts for mental training.  It does not take into account the spirit or heart of a child that will  - must - change and grow beyond childhood.  No one can predict what the spirit and mind of a child will grow into.  Rebellion is instinctive and natural in such cases, and escape from what is perceived as a trap is almost inevitable. 

Eventually rebellion subsides, and a measure of maturity grows.  This is usually at the cost of parts of oneself that one particularly enjoys or believes are good or bad.  Sacrifices are inevitable when making the switch from child to adult, and often we find ourselves at odds with what we were taught and what we find to be true in our hearts.  Often we force ourselves to reconcile one with the other, usually at the cost of one's own beliefs, rather than sacrificing those beliefs we are being taught or encouraged to follow. 

As time goes on, however, if the spirit and heart are exceptionally different or stronger than the belief structure we are following, it initiates a crisis of faith.  Most religious groups deal with these crises in various manners, and to be honest, not many actually solve the underlying problem; instead they encourage one to discard the feelings and beliefs that stem from oneself in favor of the beliefs and teachings that are being put before one.  This is not always bad either, but it rarely ends in happiness, unfortunately. 

The situation LadySky finds herself in is not merely a crisis of faith though.  She's made peace with her faith, in her heart; the problem stems from the fact that what she feels to be truth in her faith does not conform to the practices of her faith.  Also, the things she desires simply because she is who she is are at odds with her belief structure.  This is not uncommon, at all.  It happens to almsot everyone raised in a strict belief structure, because, well, that belief structure is strict.  The main punishment for breaking with the faith one is taught is rarely an actual punishment - being dis-fellowshipped is an exception to the rule.  The real punishment is the guilt and indoctrinated belief that you are breaking with your deity and your taught-faith, a punishment that consumes and burns you simply because you feel it is proper to feel that way. 

Faith is a strange thing.  You can be taught to believe something, and to have a measure of faith, but eventually you are forced to learn - one way or another - that true faith, REAL faith, stems from yourself.  You can't really be taught faith.  Nor can you be taught to be who and what you are.  Those things are designed into you, not just from your environment and how you grow, but from the forces that shape your very existence - your deity or god or the scientific realities of your nature.  There is only so much that you can do to change that.  Reconciling your faith, the truths your mind and heart hold true beyond what you believe, and the belief structure you are taught is the hardest thing to do in a life.  The only way to do it is accept that you can never finish reconciling them, only live with both as best you can.

You can no more make someone see 'this is the way things are for me' than you can show them that 'this is what your beliefs are wrong about'. The important thing is that in your own heart, you have not broken faith with your God.  You will never convince anyone that this is true.  You can't even explain how you feel it is true.  But you know it to be true. 

In the end, you are in an environment that does not allow for any 'reconciliation' of your faith and the structures of the religion.  It is an all or nothing situation.  The fault is not truly that of those who taught you, or in yourself.  The fault lies with the way the teachings and rules of the religion are understood.  If there can be no reconciliation, then you will have to accept that your problem is no longer between you and the religion you believe in.  It is now a matter between you and your God.  If you are true to your God and to the teachings you believe in within your heart, if your faith is strong enough that you honestly believe that you are not breaking your Gods laws and rules by doing this, then it does not matter what the Elders say. 

You are a child of your God, and you can no more be stripped of that than you can have your faith taken away.  Dis-fellowship means that men and women have turned their backs upon you.  They cannot take from you the teachings you have learned, the faith you have grown into, or the self that is you.  Only your God can do that. 

And last I heard, your God does not do that.

Offline LadySkyTopic starter

Re: How Does One Live With Two Hearts?
« Reply #7 on: July 12, 2009, 10:04:45 AM »
I must say thank you for the words of wisdom. I find myself smiling as I read and feeling lighter than I have before. I do not fool myself that my choices will be easy or that I will not feel torn but I do see a light at the end of my tunnel and I have hope, hope I have never had before. These are good things, good signs, I feel alive.

I want to thank everyone who has read this and commented, I was frightened to admit my religious affiliation, it has gained me much hatred from others my entire life. I feared greatly the reaction of all who knew because my previous experiences have always been so negative. I am so glad that I am discussing this openly though! I have an outlit and it is really helping.

Online Captain Maltese

Re: How Does One Live With Two Hearts?
« Reply #8 on: July 18, 2009, 01:55:13 PM »
"everyone I have ever known in my lifetime will no longer be allowed to speak to me. My mother will no longer be allowed to live with me"

And here I thought Hell was best described with fire and brimstone and gall pits... but the world you are imprisoned in is much worse. I can't imagine allowing anyone that much power over my life, and would do terrible things to those who treated me that way if I found it necessary in order to be able to escape. An extermination camp is still an extermination camp if the guards smile and wear nice suits.

If your mother entered that world of her own will and is staying there of her own will, leave her to it. It seems you never was given that choice. Now use your ability to choose, and choose a better life.


*groans* I don't think I have read anything that have made me more angry than this the whole week!

Offline LadySkyTopic starter

Re: How Does One Live With Two Hearts?
« Reply #9 on: July 18, 2009, 06:34:14 PM »
-Smiles-  Thanks for those words...it means alot to me to be able to express myself throught his medium.

Today I dropped off more stuff at my secret storage shed! Our move is scheduled for August 2010!

I start college in October and will be finished by May....making plans and following through, preparing everyday, it really has renewed my soul and finally for the first time in my life I really and truly and becomming the me I have always wanted to be!

Online Captain Maltese

Re: How Does One Live With Two Hearts?
« Reply #10 on: July 18, 2009, 06:47:41 PM »
If I or others here can help you in any practical way... let us know.


Offline LadySkyTopic starter

Re: How Does One Live With Two Hearts?
« Reply #11 on: July 18, 2009, 07:08:02 PM »
Thanks from the bottom of my very happy heart!  ;D

Offline Mnemaxa

Re: How Does One Live With Two Hearts?
« Reply #12 on: July 19, 2009, 02:55:29 AM »
You're very welcome.

Offline LadySkyTopic starter

Re: How Does One Live With Two Hearts?
« Reply #13 on: July 27, 2009, 06:24:15 PM »
One does not have to live with two hearts!

I am out in the open everyone. Soon to be living with my two cousins here in town while we save money for our big move to Montana next summer. No more hiding, no more feeling ashamed! We are living just how we want to and I am so excited! Nothing is standing in my way now & though life is never perfect, I feel liberated and energized for the first time in many many years.

Online Captain Maltese

Re: How Does One Live With Two Hearts?
« Reply #14 on: July 27, 2009, 06:26:22 PM »
Hurray! Congratulations! *opens the bubbly stuff, shakes it and sprays it around, then takes ladySky by the hands and twirls her around several times before hugging her tight* I am so happy for you! Best thing I've heard for days!

Offline LadySkyTopic starter

Re: How Does One Live With Two Hearts?
« Reply #15 on: July 27, 2009, 06:33:21 PM »
*giggles happily and dances in the spray*

Thank you!

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Re: How Does One Live With Two Hearts?
« Reply #16 on: August 04, 2009, 10:16:35 PM »
We don't 'know' each other.  I haven't been here long enough to 'know' anyone yet.  I happy for you, though, that you have found your peace.  I learned not too long ago that my God goes where I go because I carry him in my heart, my mind and soul.  My faith isn't a church but my belief in my God and my God's love for me.  You're a happy person and a happy person is a miracle waiting to happen to the rest of us.  -----{--@

Offline LadySkyTopic starter

Re: How Does One Live With Two Hearts?
« Reply #17 on: August 06, 2009, 06:25:40 PM »
I got my first tattoo last week everyone! I have wanted to get it since I was 18 years old and now finally have done it! It is so beautiful and perfect I will cherish it forever. Not only is it pretty and meaningful to me but it is a statement to the world that I no longer am allowing others to dictate my life. For so long I allowed my desires to be stifled and that is no longer the case! Thanks for everyones support!

Once my tattoo heals I am going to take pics and post them!

Online Captain Maltese

Re: How Does One Live With Two Hearts?
« Reply #18 on: August 07, 2009, 08:32:22 AM »
*looks forward to it, and hopes it is an affront to religious fundamentalists*