For those of us who are born-in in to the religion or who have spent considerable time in it, there are a very specific set of traits and skills you develop. For some of us, we are no longer afraid of public speaking like the majority of people. We also tend to be able to communicate fairly well with people of different age groups.
But I want to talk about a very specific trait, one that I have been thinking a lot about lately. It has been mentioned by previous commentators on this board that we have an almost superhuman ability to sit through long boring information. We can shut our mind of, recede into a daydream, and live like that for considerable amount of time. I’ve heard that one of the traits you develop in the military is the ability to sleep at any moment, to take advantage of any down time. For witnesses, and former witnesses, we have an amazing ability to retreat into our imaginations and dream up fantastic situations and ideas.
Looking back, it is rather amazing how well I could stare blankly in front of me for hours and snap back to attention anytime a scripture needed to be flipped to. From an outward standpoint, I was paying the utmost attention, while inside I was in some far away place. I was imagining scenarios where an armed intruder would burst into the Kingdom Hall and I would heroically take them down. I would imagine hitting the walk-off home run in game seven of the world series. I would imagine becoming president of the united states, or an astronaut, or a scientist, or a doctor. All things, of course, that I could never be. For the entire witness mindset is about enjoyment delayed. No need to take steps to reach a goal now, when in the future, everything would just be handed to you. Just sit back, comment every meeting, wander around neighborhoods knocking on the occasional door every Saturday morning, and everything you ever could hope for would be given you.
This is something that I still struggle with. I still dream about these fantastic lives for myself, but have a hard time taking steps to achieve them, or making grown-up decisions about what path to take. Part of me, a part I desperatly want to shake, feels that someone is just going to hand it to me, that at some point, because I am a good and decent person, something great is going to just pop into my life. As I slowly extricate myself from the JW mindset, I am forcing myself to reexamine how I approach life and recognize that success is not handed to you, it is clawed and scratched and worked for. You fight like hell to attain your goals.
Of course, all of that is easier said then done. I still find myself driving along in my car, dreaming of a life I will never lead. All of us who have woken up after significant time mentally “in” have all probably had moments where we grieved for the future we lost. A future that was never going to happen, but that we, for most of our lives, completely felt was so near. Sometimes I feel so disengaged with reality. I unplugged, as many of us have, from the only reality I ever knew only to find the “real world” at times confusing and disorienting. And while this can be exciting at times as you discover your true self, as someone who is PIMO, it can also be really lonely. It is like you are in a room full of people who make you feel crazy for believing that 2+2 does not equal five.
Normally, I try to keep my posts a little less personal, but I just felt like I needed to vent a little bit. I’m currently battling a situation where I am trying to jumpstart a career with a resume that is filled with part-time jobs and manual labor that doesn’t translate particularly well to anything in particular. I am sure many of you can relate.
As always, I really appreciate anyone who reads this and I hope we can make it through tough times together.