I don’t know why it was me. To this day, it’s still a point of contemplation. I endured no more or less of the indoctrination every single living relative I have was subjected to. So why is it that I alone woke up? Why me?
I don’t regret it. How could I? Of course, I lost my entire family and everyone who ever mattered to me. That’s the way it goes. It’s kind of like living your entire life in a sewer and then someone shows you that there’s a better way up top. You try telling your family to join you in the sunlight, but they refuse to believe you and keep hiding in the dark. You have no choice but to leave without them. They don’t trust you anymore. They won’t speak to you. They call you a liar and wallow in the perceived safety of their filth. So, you go alone. That’s how shunning works. Still … I regret nothing.
My father may as well have been a born-in, as he was only two years old when his parents became Jehovah’s Witnesses. It’s the only life he’s ever known, so I’m not sure how accountable he should be held for staying stuck. No more or less than of the born-ins. Mind you, I too, was born-in … so.
Father was an authoritative disciplinarian. That’s the only role I remember him playing. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that he was never in good humour. I’m just saying that whenever he was, it was tenaciously balanced.
‘While you live under my roof, you follow my rules,’ was one of his go-to expressions.
I’m not sure what he hoped to accomplish with such rigidity. It doesn’t exactly open up the discourse. He never learned the motivation behind any “misbehaviour” his children had engaged in. The only purpose it served was to encourage me to bite my tongue and bide my time. I would wait. The day would come when I would be able to support myself. Then I wouldn’t be “under his roof”, and I would do as I pleased. That doesn’t seem like a sensible approach to parenting. Surely, you don’t simply wish to postpone undesirable behaviour, but rather, to change it. Of course, my parents never expected me to reach adulthood in this world. By the time I was an adult, we would be living on a paradise Earth.
Unlike Father, my mother was a fountain of warmth and love. I loved her dreadfully. “Loved” … I must apologise to my readers. When you’ve been shunned as long as I have, people who mean the world to you become subjects of past tense. I love my mother, I suppose. It just seems a strange thing to say; foreign. I don’t know her anymore.