Growing up a Jehovah's Witness was very obviously different to how the rest of the world was going about their lives.
As a kid I wasn't allowed to hang out with my school friends out of school hours. So that meant that I couldn't go to birthday parties (or parties period), have a boyfriend (and definitely not a girlfriend), attend blue light discos...you get the idea.
I didn't just stand out in that respect but also in the fact that as a JW, I didn't celebrate birthday's, Christmas, Easter, mother's day, father's day or any other pagan originated celebrations. I wasn't even allowed to sing the national anthem at school.
The teachings were on cult like levels too.
Me in our backyard in Sydney at four years old
Anyone who wasn't a JW was considered "worldly" and even though that sounds great to the rest of us, to JW's that's a bad thing. It meant that they have no idea about what the "truth" is and were living an ungodly life.
JW's believe that armageddon is coming soon. This is where fireballs are shot down from the sky by God himself to kill off all the "worldly" people that have been ignoring him and living in sin and in turn, leaving behind all God fearing people (JW's) behind to start the new Earth.
They believe there is a chosen 144 000 people that will join God in heaven to help him rule and the rest of the God fearing souls that survived the fire and brimstone episode of the bible get to reestablish the new Earth to its paradise origins.
All quite fantastic really.
Sex was only allowed if you were married to a person of the opposite gender. Anything else was against God's laws and you were punished for it.
I was kicked out of the church at the age of 16 for sleeping with my best friend. I can tell you that we weren't married and she happened to be female.
Might as well have been the devils spawn herself.
Getting excommunicated from the church means that anyone that is a JW is not allowed to communicate with you in any way, ever again. Unless you've demonstrated your repentedness after a while of attending church meetings where you sit at the back of the church as soon as it starts and leave as soon as it ends so as not to accidentally communicate with one of the attendees.
If you're seen to be truly repentant for your sins and have attended a decent amount of church meetings and want to come back, the elders of the church can decide, in their infinite wisdom, to reinstate you once more.
I was born into the JW religion so these were the only people I knew. They were my community, my family and then they weren't anymore.
As you can probably imagine, this made quite an impact on me on many different levels and it is still impacting me now as a 43 year old.
0 out of 5 stars. Do not recommend. (In saying that, everything that has happened for me in the past has made me the person I am today and I LOVE the person I am today so it's not all bad.)
My point - all this culty brainwashing as a child into my teenage years meant that I developed issues around many things but especially around sex, sexuality and the freedom and openness one needs to have a joyful, non guilt and shame invasive time when having sex.
The patriarchal society on its own has a lot to answer for when it comes to how people view sex and especially how women are viewed as lesser, sexual objects for men's pleasures. Add restrictive and unnatural church views on top of that and you have a recipe for trauma, oppression, anxiety, depression and the list goes on.
One thing that I have learnt as an ex JW living a somewhat "normal" life out of the church is that nothing is written in stone.
Despite all the trauma, conditioning and brainwashing, I have managed to work my way through many of the issues that have come up for me as a sexually active adult. Leaving behind much of the dogma that was instilled in me from birth.
I'm here to tell you - that thing that looms over you on the daily you feel is going to be there forever and taint any semblance of normality you so crave....it's not yours and you can absolutely work on getting rid of it or at the very least, learn the tools needed to deal with it in a healthy and constructive way so that it doesn't completely take over your life.
It's not for everyone but I have been using psychoactives to create new neural pathways to better responses and less triggers, a lighter, more buoyant feel to my days and much less depressive and anxious thoughts and feelings.
The research that has been done on the use of psychoactives to treat depression, anxiety and addiction has been extensive with results that leave many modern medicinal (pharmaceutical) treatments in its dust.
Unfortunately, due to the "war on drugs" that started in the sixty's, psychoactives which include LSD and Psilocybin or "magic" mushrooms, have been classed under the same banner as methamphetamine and heroin but it is easy to see that it's not the same at all.
It is illegal in Australia to use psychoactives but amendments are slowly being made for use of these in psychotherapeutic treatment.
Otherwise, they have been driven underground. People using them for recreational use but gaining popularity fast ceremonially to help those that are looking outside of modern medicine for answers to their mental, spiritual and even physical issues.
The movement is gaining momentum and I for one can't wait for the rest of society to catch up.
Got questions? Hit me up. I'm always here.