A year in between posts is always a good sign, right?
The Jehovah’s Witnesses
Do you remember the kid from grade school that wasn’t allowed to say the Pledge of Allegiance? Or the kid who wasn’t at school for any of the holiday parties? The kid you weren’t allowed to sing happy birthday to because it was against their religion?
That kid was me.
This organization is hard to understand unless you were a part of it. It’s really not so different than other Christian faiths. You, of course, have the same patriarchal leadership and predisposed guilt. However, there is no trilogy. There are no holidays, only a memorial that takes place in May. There is no wine. Blood transfusions will make you impure. Your birthday is not important so much as your death, because what have you ever done with your life?
There’s also no special subsidiary for children. Everyone sits together in what any child could perceive as the most boring book club ever.
The Elders were men who gave all the talks. Women were NOT allowed at the podium.
There may be a correlation there of why I enjoy speaking my mind on microphones from time to time, or why I have this need to feel seen.
You know damn well I got on that stage when services were over.
The men with dramatic voices were sometimes the only source of entertainment.
I distinctively remember a man shouting “DIAMONDS” multiple times at one of the large conventions and my brother was hushed for mocking him and making us all laugh.
“Brother So-and-So whistles when he talks!” That’s what you called them, it wasn’t Mr. So-and-So, it was always brother or sister, because we’re all just children of whatever the hell this is.
I later found out false teeth can make you whistle when you speak, so I definitely wanted some of those.
“Did you have to go door to door?” Oh, indeed. I still kind of have this irrational fear of knocking on doors. What an awkward introduction to rejection.
“Studying” was a term used when another member would come to your home to catch you up to speed.
I was forced into studying when I was thirteen after I started asking questions my mother could no longer answer. I managed to get the woman who didn’t believe in dinosaurs. That’s not a Jehovah’s Witness teaching, it was more of a personal preference. It was also recommended to me that I remove my picture of the Suicidal Tendencies from my wall because “that’s not the kind of talk you want to surround yourself with.”
My walls were covered with pictures tattooed musicians with strange haircuts. I’m sure that’s not surprising at all, but it was then. I was genuinely asked why I would want to look the way I did if I wasn’t actually a Satan worshipper. I spouted back with “even the devil can wear a tuxedo.”
I had no interest in Satan, I just really loved punk rock and learning how to express myself.
It’s got to be a real pain in the ass to have a kid who excels in science while you try to force Christianity down their throat.
“But Micaela, don’t you own tarot cards?”
“Occult sciences aren’t real science.”
It’s all psychology, probabilities, and semiotics, baby. I do what I want.
There’s always an alternative.
The last convention I ever attended was not by choice, so I wore all black complete with a fishnet shirt and paratrooper boots. I believe at this time I had the haircut that was often referred to as the “dyke spike.” I had no interest in fitting in with people who’s core values were so far from my own. I was not stoked to be there and I didn't care who knew.
My mom’s close friend tried to ease the tension by telling her to just think of it as if I were in mourning.
“It’s just a phase, she’ll grow out of it.”
Luckily no one was holding their breath.
It wasn’t so much as a choice to no longer attend it was more of a refusal. I wanted to know what was going on with the world nowadays and what was going to be done to make it better.
The Jehovah’s Witnesses stay away from learning “mans law.” They don’t vote or participate in politics. I passed government class in high school with a D, because I had no idea what the fuck was going on or, again, why we were still listening to old white men who only care about power.
Christianity turned me into a feminist while government class turned me into a liberal anarchist of sorts. I was well on my way.
I sit here at 30 years old with a haircut that I’ve been known to describe as a pompadour/mohawk/mullet. I still listen to angry girl music just about everyday and I refuse to accept bullshit as an answer.
Sylvia Plath got it wrong with “..don’t ask me who I am.”
Oh no, sugar dumpling.. don’t you dare tell me who I am.