Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Exciting Plans

    This post concerns my open marriage. I won't go into the details of how we arrived at this arrangement. That's a whole post in itself. This concerns the exciting news I mentioned in my introduction. In 10 days I will be dropping the kids off at the grandparents and spending 3 days on my own with my good friend and lover! This will actually be our first time spending significant time together without spouses. Needless to say I am very excited. Counting down the days.

    We will be camping in a remote area on private property. We have talked about all kinds of things we want to do to each other. It will be interesting to see what we come up with. Fucking, fire, and rum will no doubt rank among things actually accomplished. I am looking forward to some calm and quiet and someone else cooking. What housewife doesn't need a break from that! Yesterday, when I spoke with him, we discussed being excited to try the more intimate activities we haven't done. Like sleeping (actual sleep) together, cuddling next to the fire and walking through the woods holding hands. We also plan to go out to dinner together. Which again is something we haven't done.

    I was really nervous about discussing the trip with my husband. He thinks it's a great idea though. We both have so much to learn about ourselves. He has been great about it. There have definitely been some bumps in the road. Discussing things openly really helps. I have a hard time sharing my feelings sometimes but I often find that is when I need to share them most. Over the years we have learned how meet each other in the middle as far as communication styles. We communicate very differently and so there was definitely a learning curve.

    There you have it. A peak into my little world. Sometimes it gets a little wild and crazy. I have learned a lot about myself with my  friend/lover. Things that can be hard to learn with your spouse. I might go into that more when I tell you how this all started.


Sunday, April 1, 2012

Introducing Myself

    I just wanted to introduce myself. You can call me Starla. Yes I am an Ex-Jehovah's Witness. In fact this is the 3rd anniversary of declaring our independence from that cult. I am many things. I am a wife, mother, lover, student, teacher, but most of all I am a person. A person trying to learn to be herself after years of repression. I am thrilled to have a new outlet to speak about my life and how it has changed. I have some exciting activities planned for the next couple of weeks. Look for more posts from me soon.


Saturday, March 31, 2012

A New Contributor

I know it's been a while since I posted. I'm sorry! There's been a lot going on. :)

As you can see, the blog has a slightly new look. In addition to the new look, I have a new blog contributor! Please welcome Starla. She & I have been friends for almost a decade!

She'll be posting an introduction when she's able and I hope you all enjoy her posts! :)

~ Ember

Thursday, January 19, 2012

A Nutshell Version of How We Escaped

We moved in with my parents to help them out. We were under the impression that they needed help around the house, but it wasn't quite as much as I'd initially thought. We also figured that living near other family members who are also JW would be beneficial. The scripture at Proverbs 27:17 states: By iron, iron itself is sharpened. So one man sharpens the face of another. (NWT)

I was under a lot of stress trying to maintain my household and my parents, even though they did not ask me to do that. I wanted to please everyone and make everyone happy, and I ended up overwhelmed with it all and I had a mental breakdown. 

Over the next several months, our meeting attendance dropped off dramatically because I was still so very anxious much of the time and our field service was completely gone. We hadn't done that in 2-3 years anyway, because we got sick of being assigned a road to work by ourselves. A family of 5, sent to work a street or 2 alone, with no other adult wanting to work with us, nobody to help with the kids. We got sick of dragging all 3 kids to every door. It's unreasonable. And what person would like to answer their door to 5 people preaching the bible to them?? That's nutty.

We consider the Memorial of 2011 to be our last meeting as a family. I did go one more time when it was announced that my dad was disfellowshipped (no longer considered a JW). We moved out of my parents house in July 2011 and have been to no meetings in our new city.

How we go to this point took a very long time. I'd been questioning since Thing 2 was born (2001) and then in 2005 we'd begun fading, though not consciously. We kept trying to "do better spiritually" over the years, but it was just too much to deal with. Too much guilt! We were constantly told to "do more" for Jehovah and that we had to preach God's word in order to earn Jehovah's mercy and earn salvation through Jesus, despite the fact that it's taught by EVERY Christian religion that Jesus death was a GIFT for ALL mankind. 

Sometime in 2007 or 2008 my brother & his family left and I found out that my aunt & her family left. She didn't say anything for a  long time because she knows what a scene it would have been (from my mother) if she spoke up and came out about it.

Because my family left ahead of me, it was further evidence to me that we would also leave. I've spoken with all of them about things we disliked before any of us left. I feel like they paved the way for me to leave.

Some of the changes that bothered me or made me wonder were:

1) Change in blood doctrine (can not take whole blood but allowed to take fractions, despite long held teaching that we were to ABSTAIN from blood)

2) Study edition of the Watchtower (What are they trying to hide form the public?)

3) Reduced number of Awake magazines (are they failing as a company?)

4) No more bookstudy (taught for years that this would be the only connection we'd have w/ other congregants during Armageddon, only meeting I made some weeks)

5) Institution of Family Worship Night (families encouraged to have a family study night already, so now we have 2?? I seriously doubted most families would even bother with this)

6) New Song Book (not a big deal, you would think, but the songs are monotonous and they drone on. Very  hypnotic melodies now. Not lively.)

The last 5 changes happened within a 2 year period and I was suspicious of so many changes in such quick succession.

Currently, only my mother & my in laws (3 people) are still in. My mother is aware of our change of beliefs, I suspect the in laws are, as well, but it's not spoken of. Occasionally The Husband & his sibling discuss various things on a very superficial level and it appears that his sib might be on a similar path to us.

So we made it out as a family. Others we know have not been so lucky. We celebrated holidays this year even though it was hard on us both. I wanted to do it, though, so we'd rip off the bandaid, so to speak, and be done with it.

February is our first Valentine's Day. I'm going to buy some for Thing 2 to share with her class and I'm looking forward to it. I don't know what The Husband & I will do for the holiday. 

I feel sort of bad for The Roomie.... he has nobody! His first Valentine's Day and he's all aloooone! *sob* :p Anyone out there want to be his girlfriend? He'll probably laugh at me when he reads this. LOL 

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Salt & Vinegar Chips have arrived!!!!

I got my chips! :D They arrived on Tuesday from the lovely Mom-Pinion!! Thank you, mama!!!

I ate a whole bag & a half in one day. I am hanging my head in shame for eating them that quickly. LOL Ok, ok, I SHARED, but still! In one day?! Come on, Ember.... Get it together.

I can't find these in my state so the fact that someone was kind enough to mail me 2 bags from North Carolina is pretty significant. And I ate them so quickly. *sigh*

That said, they were DELICIOUS!!!!!!

See this nice little note she wrote me on the box? Squee!

And the delicious, vinegary GOODNESS!!!!


Before you read my rant below, it would be good if you read up on what it's about, first. Both of those links are well put together and easy to understand.

What Is SOPA?
Why SOPA Is Dangerous

This country was built on freedom and liberty. Freedom is defined as: The power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint. Liberty is defined as: The state of being free within society from oppressive restrictions imposed by authority on one’s way of life.

While this country was built on those things, there are laws in place to protect us, as well. You do not have the freedom to murder someone, for example, or to take something that does not belong to you. There are also laws against things like child pornography. These laws are for our protection. They are good for us.

PIPA & SOPA do not protect the American Public. What they do is stop freedom. They stop access to information. They stop allowing people to think for themselves and make their own decisions on what they should or should not do.

These bills are nothing but censorship, which, if you haven’t got a dictionary available, is the practice of officially examining books, movies, etc., and suppressing unacceptable parts. This treads dangerously close to brainwashing. Brainwashing is defined as making someone adopt radically different beliefs by using systematic and forcible pressure.

By putting these into effect, this government is trying to think FOR me by suppressing what it deems unacceptable and then pushing me to accept their beliefs by forcible pressure. This is brainwashing through censorship.

You do not have the right to put a ‘kill switch’ on my freedom of information, on my right to free speech. YOU DO NOT HAVE THAT RIGHT.

The minute this country begins censorship by using a ‘kill switch’ for the internet is the minute this country turns it’s back on everything it allegedly stands for: Freedom.

The Declaration of Independence states the following:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and The Pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

What is WRONG with the government that they have lost sight of their own Declaration of Independence???

*** UPDATES ***
Obama Kills SOPA
PIPA & SOPA Co-Sponsors Abandon Bills

Monday, January 16, 2012

Domestic Violence

Let's talk violence. Specifically, violence against women and children. I'm just going to jump right in with some detailed stuff, so if you're sensitive to it, if it might trigger you, you're probably better off just skipping this post completely. I apologize in advance for typos - this is a very emotional topic.

When I was 5, I heard my parents fighting. It woke me up. I ran down the hall to figure out what was going on. I walked into my parents bedroom to see my father pinning my mother to the bed by her throat and choking her. She looked at me, terrified. I screamed, my dad yelled at me to get back in bed.

He was angry. His crystal blue eyes full of rage and hate.

** You should know that even writing about this is causing me to stim quite badly. I'm sitting next to The Roomie, wondering if he notices my subtle rocking or if he sees my hand flap and my twitching. I'm also running my hand through my hair and scratching my head. I can't look around me. Netflix is playing one of my favorite shows - Numb3rs. Our AC is out today so the management at the apartment complex gave us fans to use till tomorrow. They're noisy.**

When I was 6, my aunt got married. My grandmother made me a gorgeous pink lacy dress. I loved the dresses she made me, they were just uncomfortable to wear. Dresses always were. Anyway, on the way home from the wedding, my father insisted on stopping at the package store (liquor store in other regions). My mother drove off when he went inside. She drove home with me & my little brothers, while I cried in the backseat for my daddy, scared that he'd never come home, not knowing that he knew the way, not knowing that he could make a phone call.

He made it home and he was there when I got up in the morning. I remember I didn't sleep well that night. I woke up the next day feeling very raw from the events of the night before.

They fought all the time. I would see my dad pin my mom to the wall and choke her all the time. He shoved her constantly, screamed all the time. She'd scream, too. She would rake her fingernails down her face whenever they'd fight, causing deep scratches and bleeding. When their fights would end, I would go into her room and console her. I did this from the time I was in kindergarten, at least, all the way until I married at age 19 and again as an adult when I've been present for their arguments.

Once, I watched as my father scooped my 2 yr old brother up by one arm and spanked him. He was still in diapers. I remember seeing him dangle by one arm. My brother was so tiny and fragile.

He'd spank us all till we were bruised and couldn't sit down from the pain. I remember being 15 year old and having bruises on my thighs, buttocks, and lower back. Again, at age 18, he tried to spank me with a paddle. I went limp and refused to allow myself to be assaulted. My mother came in the room screaming at me that it was my fault, why couldn't I just do what he asked.

Newsflash: He told me to go look for a specific paper. It was not where he INSISTED it was. No, when he came in the room to look himself, it was clear across the room. But he still tried to assault me. And then my mother blamed me for it all. He shoved her that day. That was the first time in years that I'd seen him shove her. He'd stopped drinking when I was 10 and stopped being physically abusive. The emotional & mental abuse & manipulation carries on to this day, however.

My mother was really no better. She took her anger out on me. Over the years, she'd pull my hair and leave giant knots on my head, and once she jabbed me in the back with the handle of an aluminum broom. The cap had come off the end and it was rough. It cut me. Another time she slammed my head into the wall. And she's kicked me and hit me.

She never treated my brothers that way. They got disciplined and beat, but my father was harder on them than he was on me and my mother was harder on me than she was on them.

One brother (the dangling 2 yr old) was always the favorite. He knows this and he hates it.  I speak for all of us when I say we hold no anger or animosity toward The Favorite. He didn't choose that position.

I don't remember all of my abuse. I don't remember my siblings' abuse. I just know it was a lot of anger, a lot of hitting, and a lot of hatred in our household.

Abuse continues throughout your life. Unless those who abused you change their ways, and you get yourself some DAMN good therapy, you will always be left feeling less of a person because of things they say or do.

I'm in my mid 30s and I still feel stupid when I'm around my dad. I still feel like I can never do good enough for my mother.

I'm very, very lucky. I married a man who was not exposed to abuse. Many women grow up and perpetuate the cycle, some not even realizing that they can have better lives.

I have to be honest, though.... Parenting has presented a huge challenge I did not anticipate. When my kids have a bad day, or a meltdown, or a rude remark, my first instinct is to slap the brat right off their faces. Show them who's in charge, who's boss.

That's intense. And it's extremely stressful to struggle with. I don't want to be the mean mom. I don't want my daughter to EVER feel like she can never do good enough for me. I don't want her to EVER think I hate her. Over the years I've struggled with how I deal with her. I never wanted a daughter because I didn't want a relationship w/ her that was anything like the one my mother had with me.

She's10 years old now and it scares me to think that I HAVE had issues parenting her. I HAVE fallen into similar patterns of treatment toward my kids that my mother did with us. I try to be different for her. I try to be different for me. We deserve a good relationship with each other.

I'm just glad The Husband is my balance. And I hope my daughter knows how much I love her and how much I would do for her. I have a lot of trouble showing it to all of my kids. I was not shown affection and love and, as someone on the Autism Spectrum, I have trouble expressing myself and with things like touch. I tell my daughter, "I forget about hugs. Come to me when you want one." And I try to be good to her as often as I can remember.

I don't want my kids dealing with the same issues I did growing up. They deserve so much better.

There is much MUCH more to my story and domestic violence, but it's exhausted me and I can't continue tonight.

Please protect yourselves and your children. Don't go back to your abuser the way so many have done. You do not have the right to put your children in that position. If you go back to the abuser, you are an accomplice in the abuse he inflicts on the children.

If you're in a situation that is abusive, please contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline via their facebook page, their main website, or their phone number: 1-800-799-SAFE (7233).

There will be much more on this topic. There's more to say, more to share, more to dismantle.

**EDIT: The Husband is taking me for a drive. I need to get out of the house after today. The AC being out really messed me up and then I wrote this post, so I'm all kinds of a wreck right now. I'm glad I have him. He's good for me.