I'm now 53, and a born in with 4 generations past. My Great Grandfather started a congregation in Stanley, County Durham. His daughter was a witness as was my Dad,who fell away not long after marrying mum. Then came us, Myself, my Brother and my Sister.
I bimbled along, giving talks, out on FS, but my heart was never in it. Without blowing my own trumpet.....OK, I might, just a bit.....I became good at impromptu talks because I couldn't be bothered to do too much research. I have a quick mind and love to play with words, so if I could make a talk interesting with props and funny stories then people may remember the theme. The amount of times the school overseer said 'it's obvious you spent a lot of time preparing this talk'....and I'd smirk inside.
I did find though that if you weren't popular or part of the in crowd, despite my wife pioneering and myself doing the duties of an elder...was. never appointed...skin of the teeth job....that you weren't included. After moving back to a cong we were in when we got married our son was D/F'd and our daughter decided to stop going as well, we found we were treated as if we'd been D/F'd, which was a bit disconcerting. Depression set in, found couldn't cope with even the simplest of tasks, out of work, debts building and hardly any social life. So I moved to Guernsey to get work on the buses, 25k a year, I'd send money home to pay off the debts and work all the hours I could. The district convention there in 2006.....or could have been 5...was the last time I went to a meeting. I wasn't D/F'd or D/A'd I just drifted. Mind you we had started to drift before I moved, neither of us could be bothered, we were starting to make friends outside the org and enjoyed their company and have a better time going to gigs and such..I've always gone to gigs mind and music is a passion of mine which is another story.....but I digress. Soon after going to guernsey which was only supposed to be for 6 months...turned into 3 years...after which my wife and I separated. We were leading different lives...one day we'll get divorced.
I am now with a wonderful lady I met in Guernsey, we've been together 6 years now and she just lets me be me. We have a passion in the same tastes in music....Classic rock....we go on holidays we enjoy which includes going on naturist beaches...again another story to be told....She encouraged me to pick up the guitar again, I've written songs, had a CD out and now play in a band. Depression??? Near enough none existent, although I do have the occasional bad day.
Now, don't get me wrong. I don't hate the witnesses, I've seen some of the controlling things they do, read about them on here and other sites, but still don't hold any malice towards them. Mum is still a witness, we have a great relationship with her, she's accepted my situation, accepted my lady, in fact told me she prefers this one to my ex......I still get the mags of her, if it helps towards her ministry then I'm glad to help as she can't get out due to ill health. Dad is studying again after nearly 50 years out. My sister is out, my son is out and we have a superb relationship with them all. But I have no intention of going back full time...too much of a hippy to do that now...I may go to an assembly to be with Mum one day and freak them all out with my long hair and hippy coat...I'm not a beige person anymore thank goodness.
So there we are, in a nutshell. Happy to be free to be me.