A few years ago I needed to take stock of what I had left behind and what I now had. I was scared to leave the Witnesses but I knew I couldn’t stay. I spent most of my time thinking about dying. I had no education. No job. No money. But living free was more important to me than any of those things. The following is my list of the things I learned about what it meant to be free.
Please feel free to create your own list.
My Declaration of Freedom
- I am free to be more tolerant of the beliefs of others.
- I am free to be more accepting that we aren’t all the same and are not at the same place in our lives. What I needed when I was 20 is very different than what I needed at 30 or 40 or 50 or especially now at 60
- I am free to be more tolerant of others’ lifestyles (because they are none of my business)
- I am free to be able to do things I love (lots more time because I am not out telling other people how to live their lives)
- I am free to show my love and care for others without worrying that it takes time from the Watchtower Society
- I am free to get an education that has improved my self-esteem, my career opportunities and my knowledge of the world around me
- I am free to get the therapy I needed which took away my depression and improved my self-esteem
- I am free to be really happy without guilt
- I am free to live in a way that I feel good about and that enables me to go to sleep at night with a clear conscience
- I am free to watch/read/listen to what I want without fear of being caught reading something I was told was bad or guilty
- I am free to buy what I want without fear (especially at garage sales – no more fear of demons)
- I am free to live without thinking the elders are coming to talk to me about some supposed infraction
- I am free to let my children lead their own lives without preaching to them
- I am free to live my life without preaching to anyone
- I am free to live THIS life without worrying about getting into paradise at some mystical future time
- I am free to publicly speak out against the things I think are harmful like abuse and cults
- I am free to accept myself for who I am today knowing I am a work in progress
- I am free to change what I don’t like about myself
- I am free to not see anyone in my family who tries to make me feel like crap
- I am free to leave an abusive husband, relative, friend. I don’t have to stand there and take it
- I am free to see those members of my family that I care for and treat me with love
- I am free to no longer be a victim (of people or of the Jehovah’s Witnesses)
- I am free to celebrate life and holidays, birthdays and even death
- I am free to love God without being told what to believe and how to believe
- I am free to sleep in on weekends (or any day now that I am retired)
- I am free to spend my holidays on vacation instead of at a convention, assembly or meeting
- I am free to write about what hurts me without fear
- I am free to be honest – really honest – not false honesty
- I am free to be happy – really happy – not fake happiness
- I am free to talk to active Witnesses who come to my door (despite that I was told by the elders not to)
- I am free to sing the anthem, salute the flag and be proud of being a Canadian
- I am free to have pets instead of wondering what to do with them when I went to convention.
Life is what we make it. It isn’t directed by some external controlling business masquerading as a religion. I choose and if my choices aren’t always the best, I have the freedom to change my mind.
Here is picture of me at 8 years of age shortly before my mother left. It has taken me many years, but I am free at 60 years of age to have the life I need instead of a life dictated by others
I am free!